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04.15.11

Links 15/4/2011: Mageia Screenshots, GIMP Progress, OpenOffice.org Independence

Posted in News Roundup at 7:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • YouView mandates Linux, HD content encryption

    YouView has posted the technical specifications set-top box and TV makers will need to follow in order to support the would-be standard IPTV platform.

    The specs will please punters who favour the Linux operating system – it’s the mandated OS for YouView-compatible devices – but will annoy anyone who hopes to shift recorded HD content onto their computers or Nas boxes.

    For hardware companies, the key product ‘must haves’ include 10/100Mb/s Ethernet – 802.11n Wi-Fi is optional; WPA and/or WPA 2 must be used – at least 320GB of hard drive capacity, 30GB of which will be reseved for material pushed to the device by content providers; 512MB of memory; two USB 2.0 ports; DVB-T and DVB-T2 tuners; HDMI 1.3 output; and an RGB Scart connector.

  • Desktop

    • The inevitable…My return to Windows

      Last time I tried to use Windows, there was a blackout, so I, logically, got a black screen asking me if I wanted to boot Windows normally, or with the last configuration that had worked, etc. I selected “normal” and saw with hope the XP logo…but the computer rebooted unexpectedly and threw me again to the same black screen. “OK, let’s go ‘last good config’ this time,” I mumbled and chose. And XP, for its part, chose to do something wonderful: it got me into a cute loop and refused to start. Isn’t that wonderful? I have been using my PC all this time without even knowing that Windows XP had fried! Thus, my return to Windows was colored by the inevitable reminder of its many weaknesses.

    • Mageia Beta1 in pictures

      I would venture to say that not only is Mageia promising as a distro, but that it will also fulfill the dream of keeping the Mandrake/Mandriva legacy alive. I, for one, will save a partition for Mageia.

    • System76 Serval Professional Sandy Bridge

      The past few months on Phoronix and OpenBenchmarking.org you may have noticed several Intel Core i7 “Sandy Bridge” mobile benchmarks. This Linux mobile SNB testing was being done from a System76 Serval Professional notebook. Here is a look at this Linux-friendly notebook that ships with Ubuntu 10.10.

    • Joli OS 1.2 review – the best gets even better…

      Jolicloud, the leading cloud-based netbook and ‘recycling’ OS, has undergone another point release to address problems and add features. Russell Barnes reveals all…

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 3 Episode 7

      In this episode: Gnome 3.0 has been released while Nokia takes back its Symbian operating system. Red Hat is approaching $1b in revenue and Groklaw is calling it a day. Share in our discoveries, hear our responses to your emails and letters and join us in welcoming a new member to the team.

    • # The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 398
  • Kernel Space

    • Linux – Is It Still Standing Strong?

      Windows has been predominantly the OS of choice for most of us. Linux too has been around and it has struggled on the desktop space. Things haven’t turned out as well as Linux hoped. I have been on both sides for long periods of time. There is no denying Linux’s success on the server side of things. Many expected Linux to be an easy replacement for Windows, but for a number of reasons, it hasn’t been so.

      [...]

      If all of the popular mobile and tablet OS’ are offshoots of the Linux framework, and if we go by figures, Linux could very well be much bigger than Windows.

    • Torvalds Honored by Gaggle of Lawyers

      Linus Torvalds, the father of Linux and hero to many Open Source users, might not be the first person one might think would be honored by an organization of lawyers, but that’s exactly what’s happening. The International Technology Law Association will award Torvalds its ITechLaw Achievement Award at their upcoming 40th anniversary celebration.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Plasma Active: Operating Systems

        This is the fourth in a series of five daily blog entries covering the various tracks in the Plasma Active initiative. Today we’ll be looking at how we plan to distribute the fruits of our labor for use on devices. As we will discover, this is rather new ground for a KDE initiative. It will bring many challenges, but also open new opportunities.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • V. 3 – You Can’t Go GNOME Again

        Now that Canonical has adopted Unity for its next Ubuntu release, it seems likely that no desktop environment in history has ever launched to as much scrutiny as the new GNOME 3.

        Indeed, the GNOME project’s latest contender made its long-awaited debut last week, and the reviews have been coming fast and furious ever since.

      • Unity environment in good shape, on track for Ubuntu 11.04

        In an ongoing mailing list thread, the Ubuntu Technical Board is discussing whether the new Unity environment is a suitable default for the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04 release, codenamed Natty Narwhal. The prevailing view seems to be that Unity is still on track, but there are a number of technical issues that are still being addressed.

        Unity is a new user interface shell and window management system that is designed to improve Ubuntu’s ease of use and visual sophistication. A previous version of Unity served as the netbook user experience in Ubuntu 10.10. The plan for 11.04, codenamed Natty Narwhal, is to ship the much-improved new version of Unity as the standard user experience across desktop and netbook form factors.

      • GNOME 3 Double Fail

        So GNOME 3 was released. I don’t know why, but my excitement levels were quite low, until today when I pushed myself into trying it out. Rather than installing the new version on top of some other distro running GNOME 2, I decided to get the intended experience by downloading one of the “official” systems on the GNOME 3 webpage. There were two options: openSUSE and Fedora. As I haven’t checked on openSUSE for quite a while now, I chose it.

      • My First Impression of Gnome 3 and Unity for Linux

        There’s been a lot of hype and angst and discussion in the world of Linux lately. Actually, for several months; since Mark Shuttleworth announced that when Ubuntu 11.04 is released at the end of April it would use Unity as the default desktop manager, instead of Gnome 3. And we’ve also been gearing up for the release this week of Gnome 3, and Gnome Shell, which is the new GUI for Gnome.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Cache Move Sparks Standards Spat

        By introducing a Java specification for its own Infinispan data grid technology, open-source software provider Red Hat has generated a lively debate within the ranks of the JCP (Java Community Process) over the best way to add distributed caching to enterprise Java.

      • CentOS 5.6 Finally Arrives: Is It Suitable for Business Use?

        CentOS has been a valuable part of the Linux ecosystem for some time. It’s even been beneficial to Red Hat by helping it maintain its status as the de facto enterprise Linux, without competing too fiercely for support dollars. But the extreme delays in the release of updates for 5.x and the total absence of 6.0 after almost six months gives me little confidence in the CentOS project as it’s run today. It’s neither a community project in any real sense, nor suitable for enterprise or even small business use. It doesn’t have to remain that way, but as it stands now it’s not good business sense to rely on the project even if it costs nothing in support fees.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 15: Back in the game!

          Gnome 3 feels very sleek, unobtrusive, extremely solid, and intuitive. There may be (deliberate) functional omisions through its design mandate, but give it time – a few things feel more natural after a few hours of using the environment. Such as the lack of a maximize button… For a start, I’ve been a KDE user for the last 3 years, and I’ve always used the ‘drag-to-edge’ function for doing this. And this behavior just feels `right’.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’ Beta 2 Released

          Ubuntu 11.04 Beta 2 has been released today that brings many new updates and fixes. This is the last beta before the final Ubuntu11.04 release on April 28. There will be no release candidate.

        • 5 Out Of 11 Participants Crashed Unity In Canonical’s Study

          Today the results of the Default Desktop User Testing for Ubuntu 11.04 was published by Canonical’s Rick Spencer. The test was done using 11 participants from different backgrounds to test the new Unity interface that that Ubuntu 11.04 will have.

        • What Are Mac & Windows Users Saying About Unity?
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Beta 2 Released: Test and Report!
        • Ubuntu ‘Unity’ Desktop Environment Second Impressions

          A couple of days after the first beta was released of Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal), I posted my “First Impressions” on what I thought of Canonical’s ‘Unity’ desktop environment after some light usage. At that time, all of my experience was limited to a notebook that I only use for the lightest of duties, so with 11.04 beta 2 just released, I decided to install the OS on my home machine and take it, and Unity in general, for a real spin.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Bodhi 1.0

            Since this is a 1.0 release, there’s no “what’s new” to include. However, here are a few more details about what Bodhi Linux is based on and what it includes.

            Based on Ubuntu 10.04
            Enlightenment .16
            Kernel 2.6.35

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Tablets

      • Kogan goes Linux crazy with Android devices, Ubuntu netbook

        Kogan’s new netbook with Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity pre-loaded

        Kogan’s new netbook with Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity pre-loaded

        * Kogan’s new netbook with Ubuntu 11.04 and Unity pre-loaded
        * Kogan’s leap of faith with Unity
        * Android on TV with Kogan’s new PVR
        * The new Kogan budget tablet PC also runs Android 2.2

        View all images

        After becoming famous more than two years ago for promising to bring an Android smartphone to the Australian market, Kogan Technologies has released and Android tablet, PVR and new notebooks running Ubuntu Linux.

        Unfortunately the original Agora handset was a flop, but the new range of Agora devices are tangible and for sale on Kogan’s website from today.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Synchronization sucks!

    One of my biggest pet-peeves in the free software world hit me again. Whenever I asked my friends what are their biggest blockers against switching to Linux, I get two questions. The first one is “Will my Word documents work? Will I get something equivalent to MS Office?” And I am happy to say that I can point to Libre/OpenOffice and with a kind help from our friends in Redmont, I usually can persuade them that we have a good alternative here.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Ride the Firefox development wave with Aurora pre-release builds

        Mozilla has announced the launch of Aurora, a new Firefox release channel that is intended to open up experimental Firefox features to a broader audience of testers. The Aurora channel will serve up a stream of Firefox builds that are less fragile than the nightly builds but not as stable as official pre-releases.

        Mozilla is transitioning to shorter release cycles and a more incremental development model. The organization aims to deliver three more major Firefox releases this year, bringing the open source Web browser’s version number up to 7. As we explained in our previous coverage of Mozilla’s 2011 roadmap, the transition will require much more intensive testing throughout the development cycle.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenOffice.org 3.4 Beta available for download

      we are happy to announce that OpenOffice.org 3.4 Beta is now ready for download.

      This Beta Release is available in English and 69 additional languages which can be installed as language packs (localizations are still ongoing).

    • Oracle orphans OpenOffice offering

      Oracle will no longer be offering the paid-for version of Oracle OpenOffice and the development of the open-source version at OpenOffice.org will be a purely community-driven project, the company has said.

      Oracle announced the plans to hand development of the software to a community-based process on Friday.

    • Oracle: OpenOffice.org to become “a Community-based Project”

      Oracle has announced that it intends OpenOffice.org to become a “purely community-based open source project” and that it plans to no longer offer a commercial version of OpenOffice. Edward Screven, Oracle’s Chief Corporate Architect, said the company intends “working immediately with community members to further the continued success of Open Office.”

    • Oracle licensing: just say no
    • Real or imagined? Open source contributions from Oracle

      Oracle likes to demonstrate. More specifically, Oracle tries hard to demonstrate commitment to open source in its various manifestations since its acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Let’s Play With GNU Screen

      Many GNU/Linux users spend time working at the command line. The GNU Screen utility can be of great use if you work with multiple shells at a time. We could also call Screen the “virtual terminal manager”. It allows you to handle multiple shell sessions within a single window/console, and view multiple sessions at the same time too. If this sounds interesting, read on!

      The Screen utility is provided by the GNU Foundation; take a look at www.gnu.org/software/screen/ for more details. It comes pre-installed in most Linux distros—if not, you can use sudo apt-get install screen (or your distro’s package manager) to install it from the distro’s package repositories. I‘m using Ubuntu 10.04 32-bit, which has Screen pre-installed—version 4.00.03jw4.

  • Project Releases

    • Blender 2.57

      The Blender Foundation and online developer community is proud to present Blender 2.57. This is the first stable release of the Blender 2.5 series, representing the culmination of many years of redesign and development work.

      We name this version “Stable” not only because it’s mostly feature complete, but especially thanks to the 1000s of fixes and feature updates we did since the 2.5 beta versions were published.

  • Licensing

    • Open Source Licenses: Greater Rights, Different Responsibilities

      The goal isn’t to eradicate open source software from the organization — it’s to use it properly in the pursuit of the company’s goals. The legal department should be part of the group that is applying the policy, and assessing and monitoring its effectiveness, but there should be equal stakeholders in engineering/development and IT, so the policy is not viewed as merely an onerous legal requirement.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Hardware

      • File Transfers Over 1Gbit/s Ethernet: SSD vs. HDD

        As mentioned a couple times recently in our news and content, we’re in the process of completely overhauling our suite for motherboard testing, to help assure that we’re delivering the more relevant data possible. Taking into account the fact that not all NICs are built equal, one introduction we’ll be making is Ethernet testing, to see which integrated card will deliver you the best networking experience.

Leftovers

  • Could 7-year-old emails halve Zuckerberg’s Facebook stake?
  • Zuckerberg’s Goodfellas

    Anybody who got sucked into the glamour/darkness of the Facebook story that culminated in Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network movie will probably be familiar with the name Paul Ceglia.

    Ceglia is the guy who filed a lawsuit last August claiming that he owns 50 percent of Facebook and, therefore, is entitled to 50 percent of the revenue. There were, however, reasons to seriously doubt Ceglia’s claims. Facebook has understandably been keen to hammer the point that Ceglia is a convicted felon who allegedly defrauded customers of his wood pellet company of $200,000. Being a convicted fraudster doesn’t look good when attempting to convince a court that you are owed billions of dollars. Then there is the fact that Ceglia waited a full seven years before filing his suit, by which time, of course, his potential winnings had sky-rocketed. On first glance, Ceglia appears to be a small-time con man gambling on one big payout.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Biofuels transport targets are unethical, inquiry finds

      The legal requirement to put biofuels in petrol and diesel sold in the UK and Europe is unethical because their production violates human rights and damages the environment, a major new inquiry has concluded.

      “Biofuels are one of the only renewable alternatives we have for transport fuels, but current policies and targets that encourage their uptake have backfired badly,” said Prof Joyce Tait, at Edinburgh University, who chaired the 18-month inquiry by the independent Nuffield Council on Bioethics (NCB). “The rapid expansion of biofuels production in the developing world has led to problems such as deforestation and the displacement of indigenous people.”

  • Finance

    • Banks to Pay Victims of Botched Foreclosures in Settlement With Regulators

      The 14 largest U.S. mortgage servicers must pay back homeowners for losses from foreclosures or loans that were mishandled in the wake of the housing collapse, the first of a set of sanctions regulators are seeking against the companies.

      The settlement announced today between servicers and banking regulators could help the U.S. Justice Department determine the size and scope of fines for the flawed practices, regulators said.

      Officials from the Justice department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and 10 state attorneys general met with banks today, the second such meeting to negotiate a global settlement, Associate U.S. Attorney General Tom Perrelli said. The group is discussing potential fines and whether servicers should be required to reduce the principal on some home loans.

    • VOICES: Right-to-work law brings falling wages, 80-hour weeks

      Right to work came to Louisiana in 1976 and drastically changed my family’s work for the worse. I am a third-generation member of the Operating Engineers, Local 406 in Lake Charles. My grandfather, great-uncle, father, brother, cousins, and I have all worked in the heavy equipment industry. While previous generations ran a wide range of equipment (dozers, draglines, and cranes), my father, brother, and I have only worked with large, heavy-lift cranes.

  • Privacy

    • The Two Johns Strike a Note for Data Privacy

      Data privacy is one of the hot legal issues of the day. Companies can not gather enough information about consumers’ interests and spending habits.

      But one-time political foes John Kerry and John McCain are trying to put some limits on secretive data gathering.

      The Johns yesterday filed the august-sounding Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act of 2011.

  • Civil Rights

    • ICE Redefines Detainment For Wikileaks Helper: You’re Not Being Detained, You Just Can’t Leave

      Earlier this year, we wrote about computer security expert, Tor developer and Wikileaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum, who was regularly being detained and intimidated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials each time he (a US citizen) traveled into the country. If you follow Jacob’s Twitter feed, you get detailed descriptions each time he flies back into the country of the hassles he has to go through. Every time he’s detained and never once given an explanation for why or what is being searched for. He’s often lied to and frequently told that it’s a “random” search. He certainly knows enough that he wipes all of his electronic equipment before traveling across the border.

      In the latest case, upon returning from a conference in Europe by flying into Houston, Appelbaum again asked his detainers why he was being detained, and was once again not given a straight answer. He knows that there’s something on the screen that they pull up on their computers, but they refuse to provide him with any info. This time, they even went so far as to redefine detainment, telling him that he wasn’t being detained, but that he just couldn’t go until they were done with him. Perhaps he should send Homeland Security a copy of a dictionary with the definition of “detained” highlighted.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • T-Mobile’s ‘new’ unlimited plan, now with more throttling

      Despite being in the midst of a $39 billion merger with AT&T, T-Mobile is still moving forward with business as usual. The carrier announced Thursday a new cheaper unlimited plan, however with some important caveats, including throttling for heavy data users.

      The plan will cost $79.99 per month, and included unlimited voice, data, and text and picture messaging. On average, the carrier says subscribers will save up to $350 yearly when compared to competitors’ plans. Customers will only have a limited time to to sign up for the new plan, although an end date was not provided. Both new and existing customers will be eligible.

    • Net Neutrality: An Encouraging Report From the French Parliament

      The trans-partisan parliamentary mission led by Laure de la Raudière and Corinne Erhel just released its report on Net neutrality. This encouraging report calls for preserving the Internet’s universality and protecting end-users’ fundamental freedoms, and should be considered a template for other European public authorities. That said, while this document offers an important reflection on the evolution of our legal framework to protect fundamental rights and foster the digital economy, it must be followed by actions. La Quadrature du Net publishes an unofficial translation of the report’s introduction.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • European Court of Justice To Outlaw Internet Filtering; Esp. For Copyright Enforcement

        Today, the European Court of Justice gave a preliminary opinion that will have far-reaching implications in the fight against overaggressive copyright monopoly abusers. It is not a final verdict, but the Advocate General’s position; the Court generally follows this. The Advocate General says that no ISP can be required to filter the Internet, and particularly not to enforce the copyright monopoly.

      • Filtering the Net for Copyright Runs Counter to Fundamental Rights

        Today, the advocate general of the European Court of Justice rendered his conclusions in the Scarlet/SABAM case, in which a Belgian judge ordered an Internet access provider to filter its subscribers’ communications to block unauthorized transmissions of copyrighted works. He concludes that such filtering measures are way too restrictive of freedom of expression and privacy, thereby reasserting the importance of fundamental rights online and stressing the disproportionate character of filtering measures to enforce copyright on the Internet. This should compel the EU Commission to revise its copyright enforcement strategy, as it undertakes the revision of the anti-sharing IPRED directive.

Clip of the Day

GP2X Shop – Small tour through the dragon’s lair


Credit: TinyOgg

Discouragement by Association

Posted in Site News at 2:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Comments thread about Techrights reveals familiar pattern

I DO not think I’ve commented in another site for at least a year, following this change in habit which was a result of people posting under my name, falsely of course. It was Groklaw which taught me never to comment in other sites if there are people pretending to do the same (under the same name) as that would legitimise the fake comments and cause a lot of harm. Pamela Jones (PJ) once taught me that if I prepare to post a comment in another site, then it needs to be announced somewhere where identity can be validated (e.g. in Groklaw in the case of PJ). I thank her for the lesson and I also ought to acknowledge that the comment just added to this piece (in light of concern about the messenger, apexwm, being hackled for merely defending another messenger).

This is a pattern I’ve been seeing for years and some people in IRC alluded to as well. They sometimes observe people who link to Techrights and end up being cursed for it by some anonymous commenters, sometimes by Novell employees and others to whom Techrights is an inconvenient perspective. Please don’t be discouraged and do challenge those people who try to blacklist Techrights. The same tricks were attempted against Groklaw and PJ wrote about it several times.

In any case, I’ve created a ZDNet and responded to apexwm (whom I never spoke to before). The comment which I put together very quickly says:

I never comment in other people’s blogs because some people forge me in them (calling other people “Nazi” and cursing myself), but I’ve just created an account just to thank you for a good post that I never expected (in fact, people rarely bother to defend defamed sources, so I appreciate it).

Do not be discouraged by people who try to derail your blog and be aware of this article from Wired Magazine. It says: “The author of the email, posted on ZDNet in a Talkback forum on the Microsoft antitrust trial, claimed her name was Michelle Bradley and that she had “retired” from Microsoft last week.

“”A verbal memo [no email allowed] was passed around the MS campus encouraging MS employee’s to post to ZDNet articles like this one,” the email said.

“”The theme is ‘Microsoft is responsible for all good things in computerdom.’ The government has no right to prevent MS from doing anything. Period. The ‘memo’ suggests we use fictional names and state and to identify ourselves as students,” the author claimed.”

In Techrights’ wiki I have a section dedicated Microsoft PR agencies I’ve been researching and given concrete examples on. Microsoft is outsourcing what Gates calls “evangelisation” because this way it can blame those “rogue” companies when they get caught. It’s a cultural thing and the Gates Foundation also spends over $1 per day on this “evangelisation” (planting praise in the press). Sad, but true.

Thanks again for explaining to people not just what people associated with Microsoft (including masked employees who later on turned out to be Microsoft TEs) did to me but also what they do to people like PJ at Groklaw. See PJ’s article about how Groklaw was almost driven into closure 7 years ago. It’s often done through intimidation and I saw it first hand. This includes campaigns to get critics fired.

More people deserve to be aware of the shady industry which calls itself PR and is sometimes the creation of companies which become its clients (it is proxifying). One company which Microsoft uses (and was created by a former Microsoft employee) brags about methods of auto-finding critics and auto-generating blog comments from templates in order to rapidly respond to criticism, so it’s semi-automated. If the message cannot be shot down, the messenger gets disgraced; if that’s not enough, this sometimes escalates to intimidation and harm (not physical harm).

I should add that Microsoft employees have publicly compared me to Unabomber, a serial killer. Those who accuse me of “libel” conveniently take a one-side, double-standard approach. If they have an issue with something I wrote they should speak out as we have a good track record of correcting errors (we amended about 20 blog posts among 13,000+). Just because someone does not like an opinion does not make this opinion “libel”. Blogs provide opinions a lot of the time and Techrights is carefully worded.

If someone wishes to ask questions, issue a correction, and also find out that we are amicable people can join us at the IRC channels. We are not of the stereotype our detractors claim us to be.

NB – it appears as though the ZDNet comment component just devoured links that I put in my previous comments, e.g. the one from Wired Mag.

As expected, getting involved in the comment only fueled some of the poisonous people, who under an anonymous nym, randomprogrammer for example, posted insults I’ve seen before (maybe reused). The even funnier thing is Microsoft Jack’s hypocritical responses to it. He tries getting the editor involved, too, because he cannot get his way and he chats quite a lot again with Microsoft Florian.

Taking Techrights to the Next Level by Adding Video and Covering SCO

Posted in SCO, Site News at 10:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

First dance

Summary: Although Techrights has been quiet by the appearance of the surface (especially in April and March), improvements are being made behind the scenes, so patience is required

TECHNOLOGY improves all the time and means of interaction advance accordingly. Techrights got involved in social networks and also fostered an IRC community because these work better than comments. Blogs in general are a poor form of CMS in which to organise data (reverse-chronological, no hierarchy, lacking structure), so we also added a wiki (for summaries/overviews which are concise for example, even regarding SCO) and recently we collaborated with OpenBytes to bring TechBytes to our readers. I was a smashing success with far more interest than we had ever expected.

If the site has been quiet recently, it’s because of BT and also because of maintenance work, undertaken to improve access to older articles. It’s an investment more than a waste of time. Tim and I spent 5 hours last night working to ensure that we can deliver future episodes of TechBytes also in video form (Ogg Theora and YouTube), in addition to 3 forms of audio.

“I code every day and I am aware of implementations of mine that violate one patent or another, e.g. the progress bars.”The other day we explained what the site is not, even though it gave visibility to some libelous claims which had been made against us (then rebutting them, without getting emotional or pointing fingers). Sadly, there is a lot of new libel against Groklaw; it keeps being spread right now (we only mention it in IRC, in order not to confuse regular readers). The funniest claims say that Pamela Jones is male, multiple people, or that she does not exist (contradicting the former claims, even from the same source!) or that she is paid by big corporations, which is of course a lie. The whole thing is comical at best. For what it’s worth, I do not need to be paid by anyone to oppose software patents and also write to the government or the EPO on the subject; I code every day and I am aware of implementations of mine that violate one patent or another, e.g. the progress bars. Groklaw is written from the eye of a paralegal, this site is not.

As a side note, the same source which slanders Groklaw has just brought to people’s attention this piece from ZDNet UK. I don’t know the author of this piece, but I appreciate what I consider to be a well summarised explanation of not just what was done to me, but also to Pamela Jones (even as far back 2003). It starts by stating:

From time to time, links will pop up on various Linux or open source related sites, pointing to articles written by Roy Schestowitz, mainly from techrights.org. The articles are very well written and all sources for the articles are documented. Sometimes the articles include references to highly confidential material. And so far everything I have read seems to be true with clearly documented evidence. The articles often involve controversial issues with open source, along with lawsuits and even happenings at Microsoft regarding its negative attitude towards open source. For instance, Roy has posted articles claiming to include internal memos within Microsoft that specifically state how they are targeting Linux head-on. When reading the articles and comparing to latest news, they actually coincide and make sense.

What I find more interesting though, is that there are posts and other articles written to try and defame or discredit him. And some use some very strong language. Simply doing a Google search for “Roy Schestowitz” comes up with some examples. What in the world is going on here, and why are people trying so hard to discredit him for his articles on techrights.org?

Well, they try to steer people away from the source of damning evidence by daemonising and defaming the messenger/platform; it’s a lot simpler than having to deny (in vain) leaked documents which highlight criminal behaviour and activities which Microsoft paid a lot of money (settlement out of court) to conceal.

One reader has suggested approaching or posting an “invite” on another forum to readers of Groklaw — an invitation which would describe the partial overlap between Techrights and Groklaw. There is a new article in Groklaw about the need to direct the community to some active forum where comments can be posted. Here is what Pamela wrote:

  • A Reminder and a Thought

    Now that I’ve announced Groklaw articles will end in May, a number of lovely articles have appeared, and some beautiful comments have been posted here and elsewhere, not to mention a blizzard of emails I’ve received. Thank you, every one of you.

    Some of you have asked me to figure out some place where the community can go to continue the work, even if I can’t carry this work load any longer. I can’t announce anything, but I will tell you that I’m trying to figure something out, and if it doesn’t work out, it won’t be because I haven’t heard your concerns. I see your point, and while I have to change things personally, I agree that it is important to have a place on the Internet where the law is explained to geeks and tech to lawyers.

We hardly have any lawyers amongst us at Techrights, but if any are willing to help, IRC is the best place to start. We can always change focus and maybe even create another IRC channel. What Groklaw has done was a provision of peepholes into legalese in the context of Free software. Journalists need that for reference. Groklaw was crucial. A lot of people do not know this, but Groklaw almost came to an end 2.5 years ago (this was not publicly stated). Pamela Jones came back in a big way though, much to the disdain of those whom she criticised, including Novell at times.

Here are some more Groklaw-related articles that we found in the news recently (but have not referenced yet):

  • Groklaw: the good, the bad, the ugly

    Jones chose to maintain a low profile but that is perfectly understandable and does not in any way diminish any credibility she had; she was subject to some nasty attacks by writers from the mainstream tech media in the US and thus one can understand her reluctance to come out in public and gain a profile for herself.

    Much of the acceptance that Jones gained was because a great deal of the coverage of matters FOSS comes from groupies – people who exhibit uncritical acceptance of the genre and all that it involves. If is, of course, easy to argue that the attacks on FOSS justify this kind of coverage – in my book that would be tantamount to arguing that the terrorist attacks on the West justify the curtailing of fundamental freedoms.

  • SCO closes sale of Unix system to Nevada company

    The venerable Unix computer operating system entered a new phase Monday with its sale by the bankrupt The SCO Group of Lindon to a group of investors who are pledging to spend millions to upgrade and expand it.

    Unix was sold to UnXis Inc., a Nevada-based company formed by Stephen Norris Capital Partners and MerchantBridge Group to buy the system out of bankruptcy court in Delaware.

  • Groklaw Calling It Quits After a Job Well Done

    Groklaw will stop publishing new articles May 16 — exactly eight years to the day after it was launched.

    This is because its reason for existence is gone, according to founder Pamela Jones.

    “In a simple sentence, the reason is this: The crisis SCO initiated over Linux is over, and Linux won,” Jones said in a blog post.

  • Pamela Jones and Groklaw: An Appreciation

    If you’re a regular reader of The Standards Blog, there’s an excellent chance that you already know that Pamela Jones – “PJ” to one and all – announced on Saturday that she would post her last article at Groklaw on May 16. Certain aspects of the site will remain available indefinitely.
    It’s difficult to know where to begin in saying “goodbye” to Groklaw. What PJ and her many cohorts accomplished there has been unique in my experience. In many ways, Groklaw exemplifies the transformational power that the Internet has brought to law, society, technology, and the advancement of all things open.

    Consider just a few of the core attributes of Groklaw: there were never any fees to access the rich investigative data to be found there. There wasn’t even any advertising. Yet Groklaw was the “go to” source for professional journalists, initially on SCO. As PJ’s credibility grew, journalists didn’t bother to replicate the research that they knew they could find, often instantly, at PJ’s site. And everything PJ wrote was made available under a Creative Commons copyright license. In short, Groklaw has always been about sharing for the public good.

  • Lessons learned from Groklaw

    For eight years, Groklaw was the center of the fight between Linux companies and interests and SCO’s efforts to build a licensing business on the back of open source. While Novell was legally the victor in the year-long legal fight by raising its hand and reminding everyone–including SCO, it seemed–that it was they, not SCO, who actually owned the UNIX copyrights.

    Yeah, that was awkward. (But pretty funny.)

    The not-really-surprised part comes from the fact that Jones herself hinted on Christmas Day that she was contemplating a change for her status on Groklaw. At the time, Jones seemed disillusioned that after all of the hard work performed on Groklaw by her and the über-dedicated group of volunteers, “Novell taking money from Microsoft and contractually agreeing to show up at Open XML standards meetings and events.”

  • The end of Groklaw

    In an ideal world, Groklaw would have a business model, or at least funding, for a small team to continue its work. PJ says that one of the reasons Groklaw is over is because its work is done and Linux has won — look at the mobile world, look at enterprise computing. Ah, if only. Microsoft still claims — and actively litigates for — IP rights in Linux, and Lord only knows how the Java/Oracle fun will end. We’re still in the woods. Groklaw will be most sorely missed, and I hope very much that others will take up the challenge.

Needless to say, Groklaw has another month to go and it already explains why UnXis/SCO is (probably not “are”) up to. Articles include:

  • UnXis Claims It Got the UNIX and UnixWare Trademarks in Sale of SCO Assets – Huh?

    Let me guess. UnXis doesn’t want Groklaw to retire?

    Eric LeBlan says, “We foresee our software becoming a critical component of the new Internet highways currently being developed in the Middle and Far East, from Riyadh to Beijing.” New Internet highways? I hope they’re just kidding around. If not, don’t forget the tubes, guys. You need tubes for the Internets, y’all.

    Well, maybe the plan is to sell where no one knows who SCO is and how they have historically treated customers.

  • UnXis Tells Us What the Plan Is; So Does Open Group

    UnXis, the entity that just bought SCO’s software assets, has a website up now, at unxisco.com, where its corporate page tells us what they say they will be doing. This is part of what they now are claiming:

    UnXis has a proven “can-do” track record of over 30 years based on the heritage of The Santa Cruz Operation.

    Considering that UnXis was just formed for this deal, I wonder at the grandiosity. It has no track record yet at all. Then again, that is for sure the SCO heritage. Remember Caldera changing its name to SCO Group and then saying it had been in business since the 1979, because Santa Cruz Operation started in that year? Well, here we go again.

We are already discussing this in IRC (morning and afternoon today). Ryan asks: “Why the hell would anyone buy SCO for their “UNIX business”? SCO UNIXWARE is laughably outdated. In fact, most proprietary UNIX systems are in that kind of shape, though maybe not as bad”

“[SCO's] “UNIX business” is “suing UNIX developers and users business””
      –MinceR
MinceR responds: “their “UNIX business” is “suing UNIX developers and users business” (well, more like “FUDding” than “suing” now, since everyone who matters knows they’re full of ****)”

Ryan responds with: “they claim the lawsuits remain with SCO and they only bought the UNIX business [...] anyone still using Unixware is doing it because they have legacy applications, not because they want to keep using it”

This discussion has carried on through the afternoon. To get involved, IRC channels should be considered the best route/channel for involvement. They are also logged to prevent information from getting lost.

Senior Figure at Nokia: “This isn’t a deal between Nokia and Microsoft, this is a Microsoft take over.”

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Elop-led Nokia a headless chicken for Microsoft hardware

Mouse man

Summary: What Nokia did with Microsoft is worse than what Yahoo! and Novell did with Microsoft and patents have a lot to do with it, even hardware patents

According to this new report which “walterbyrd” brought to our attention last night (in IRC), sources inside Nokia said precisely the same thing Techrights said in its headline as soon as the Microsoft-Nokia deal was announced (our title was “Microsoft’s Nokia ‘Deal’ is More Like a Takeover, Patents Pose a Problem”).

A senior figure at Nokia has reportedly said: “This isn’t a deal between Nokia and Microsoft, this is a Microsoft take over.” That’s what the article from the British press says. Consider the second part of the title we used at the time (“Patents Pose a Problem”). Just days later it turned out that we were right because Nokia gave it away in interviews and only days ago we wrote about a new push for software patents (through the unitary patent, which is a euphemism) in Europe. This happened amid Bill Gates' lobbying in Europe and Nokia intervention under the leadership of Gates' employee, Microsoft President Elop.

The EPO seems delighted by the possibilities of this unitary patent, which means yet more patents (i.e. more patent monkey business, more money for bureaucrats, less productivity for everyone else). It summarises its gloating-fest as follows:

European Commission presents its draft regulations on unitary patent protection

“Cost of a single European patent set at €680 for protection in 25 member states” says this additional article which the president of the FFII alludes to by writing:

600EUR for an EU-wide patent, recipe for a disaster

Gun culture anyone? Bubble economies?

Michel Barnier, who lobbied for this mess on several occasions can be seen in the photos there. He is serving the interests of large corporations whether he admits this or not.

In other patent news, the Trend Micro patent lawsuit strategy against Free software and other entities suffers a blow:

Despite Trend Micro’s history of patent aggression, reliable sources are indicating that Trend’s patents at issue may be invalid which is a positive development for Fortinet.

In December 2010, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (US PTO) issued office actions on the two related Trend Micro patents (5,623,600 and 5,889,943), rejecting every claim as invalid. This finding is consistent with the opinion of the staff attorney at the International Trade Commission in the Barracuda Networks case that Trend’s ‘600 patent is invalid.

As we all ought to know, Barracuda is actually on the side that Free software favours (among these two). Its CEO, Dean Drako, said at the time: “I would much rather spend my time and money and energy finding ways to make the Internet safer and better than bickering over patents.” Companies like Microsoft can do nothing but bicker over patents because in crucial areas Microsoft’s products are a non-starter. The same goes for Nokia, which now aligns itself with Microsoft, as part of a virtual takeover. Unless Elop is sacked and the deal revoked, Nokia is no longer much of a spouse of convenience to Linux.

Ubuntu Without the Mono

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 8:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Netrunner-os
The first release of Netrunner

Summary: A new Ubuntu alternative which totally omits Mono is released while Novell keeps pushing Microsoft software into the GNU/Linux community

A NEW release of Ubuntu is coming quite soon. It will contain more Mono than before (more than the direct predecessor, due to Banshee) and a project we wrote about before, Netrunner [1, 2], addresses the Mono issue as a matter of principle. It comes with the latest and greatest, including KDE 4.6.1, so go get it while it’s hot. From the announcement which the lead developer has just made: [via DistroWatch]

Our goal was to provide a slick yet beautiful KDE desktop as default,
while making Gnome/GTK+apps look well integrated.

We updated to the latest KDE 4.6.1, FF4, integrated dolphin as the default file manager and switched wine to experimental 1.3.12.

Underneath the hood, everything ought to work just like Ubuntu. By downloading Ubuntu 11.04 and then removing Novell’s Banshee we still allow Canonical to create the impression that there is demand for Novell’s Mono, so arguments along the lines of freedom/choice by negation (e.g. removing Mono after it’s installed by default, unnecessarily) evade the possibility of just supporting the good team which brought us Netrunner (the classic Linux Mint still has too much Mono). Here is some more Mono advertising which neglects to mention the Mono dependency [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. It’s becoming a nameless risk factor, a quiet Trojan horse, one might say. This is dangerous due to API domination, not just patents. API is control, it might as well stand for “Absolute Power through Interfaces”.

“This is dangerous due to API domination, not just patents.”Novell is falling into line with Microsoft (soon enough even Novell’s patents will be Microsoft’s, not OIN’s), so it’s time to take a step away from anything Novell, including Moonlight (emulating/mimicking virtually abandoned software from Microsoft). Novell is still promoting Moonlight in Planet GNOME. This promoter also defames me, but that’s another story and we would rather stick to the issues, not personal gossip.

Novell is quite a dead company in the sense that it has no direction which makes it future-proof. It just reaches out to Microsoft in the same way that Nokia did (more on that in a later post) and it brags about one of those phony awards which glorify its proprietary software legacy. The reality is, “SUSE Linux shops await Novell deal completion” in the sense that they become cautious. They too realise that Novell is under the guillotine and the new report says:

Suse Linux shops are still anxiously awaiting completion of Attachmate’s buyout of Novell so they can get on with their lives.

The $2.2 billion deal was expected to close by the end of March but was delayed at least in part by regulatory issues over a side deal in which a Microsoft-led consortium was to buy some Novell patents.

These shops are better off moving to Debian, CentOS, or even RHEL. There is nothing in SLE* which is really unique (except perhaps the patent royalties which get paid to Microsoft). As for OpenSUSE? Well, it’s hard to find news about it these days. There are some HOWTOs, e.g. [1, 2], but hardly any news. Many community members abandoned the project and they do not trust AttachMSFT, which provided no substantial assurance to their community.

The bottom line is, Novell is a dead duck and its products are too. Mono is developed along with Microsoft (Mono also contains Microsoft code with Microsoft licences), so if it lives on, guess who may take the lead? Canonical’s management should listen more carefully to the CTO.

IRC Proceedings: April 14th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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