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04.29.11

John Dragoon is Leaving Novell Amid Fallout

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 1:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Departing crowd

Summary: The last among four “Linux” companies which signed a treasonous patent deal with Microsoft is sold or dismantled

Like any company which becomes a Microsoft partner, Novell has just died. And the staff exodus begins. “After nearly 2,740 days at this great company, it’s time to say goodbye,” writes Dragoon, the company’s CMO, on which his friend says: “It’s a safe — though not confirmed — bet that additional Novell executives have left the company now that the sale to Attachmate is official.”

A longtime Novell apologist, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, gives Microsoft credit oddly enough:

The Attachmate/Novell deal could have not have been made without Microsoft’s help. Attachmate, a rather sleepy company over the last decade, simply didn’t have the resources to buy Novell.

Yes, Microsoft played a role in having Novell bought by AttachMSFT and then taking Novell’s patents. We already know that Microsoft uses patents offensively and perhaps illegally.

As Expected, Nokia is Attacking Android/Linux Following Microsoft Takeover

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 1:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nokia firing people
Picture by Or Cohen

Summary: Antitrust action justified by Microsoft’s use of a new cartel to extort or remove Android from the market

CORRUPTION is not something that Microsoft shies away from. Just look no further than the OOXML blunders. "Takeover" of Nokia (turning it so cheaply into a Microsoft drone that gets rid of Linux and Symbian people) is what Microsoft did in nefarious and underhanded ways, and based on private communications that we have, this has a lot to do with patents. We shall publish the details in the near future.

“Microsoft did not invent, research, develop, or make available to the public mobile devices employing the Android Operating System and other open source operating systems, but nevertheless seeks to dominate something it did not invent.”
      –Barnes & Noble
To those who think that Microsoft will just go away if it’s ignored, please pay close attention because Microsoft is a snake and its top managers, Elop included, are like some kind of disease in the industry, spreading tentacles to distort the market, even using peripheral players like Bill and Nathan who lobby for worse patents. The abduction of Nokia is probably worse than Yahoo! and Novell because it really harms Linux where Linux is winning. Following the release of documents from Barnes & Noble we find some press reports. Based on this report (“Barnes & Noble claims Microsoft Nokia patent pact is illegal”), it is apparent that Microsoft is creating a cartel, so it is already using the entryism in Nokia to attack Linux rivals, using patents. To quote: “In court documents filed by Barnes & Noble, the firm said, “Microsoft did not invent, research, develop, or make available to the public mobile devices employing the Android Operating System and other open source operating systems, but nevertheless seeks to dominate something it did not invent.” Barnes & Noble basically said that Microsoft is claiming rights over something that isn’t its property.

“If you thought that Barnes & Noble would end it there, you’re in for treat. It followed up by claiming that Microsoft is trying to make Android “unusable and unattractive”. Barnes & Noble said, “On information and belief, Microsoft intends to take and has taken definite steps towards making competing operating systems such as the Android Operating System unusable and unattractive to both consumers and device manufacturers through exorbitant license fees and absurd licensing restrictions that bear no relation to the scope and subject matter of its own patents.”

“That’s a very strong claim by Barnes & Noble and something that Microsoft will have to defend vigorously, if it can. Later on Barnes and Noble claimed that Microsoft and Nokia had agreed on “a strategy for coordinated offensive use of their patents”.”

Groklaw quotes Microsoft as saying: “In seeking to protect our intellectual property, we are doing what any other company in our situation would do.” Like who exactly? TiVo, whose loss had it “turn to suing companies that capitalized on its innovations,” based on this new analysis?

“That’s what SCO told the world,” says Groklaw about Microsoft’s response.

Also see the part which says: “Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet.com has details on the book giant’s response to Microsoft’s complaint, including Barnes & Noble’s allegations that Microsoft and Nokia are in cahoots on patents in a way that may violate antitrust laws.”

Well, just as we predicted, Nokia was patent trouble all along and now it is serving Microsoft’s interests. Glyn Moody thinks it’s time for more antitrust action. He writes:

Now, IANAL, so I can’t say to what extent this is just standard lawyer bluff and bluster. But I don’t recall seeing similar wording in other cases, so I think it’s interesting that Barnes & Noble have explicitly accused Microsoft of attacking the Android world because it represents a threat to its own smartphone system. Moreover, the filing does include a lot of detailed information suggesting that there is prior art for those patents, so it’s not just saying “your patents are trivial”: it’s saying “here’s who did it before you”.

It’s great to see Barnes & Noble making such an aggressive response to Microsoft’s patent bullying. Too often, companies just roll over and cough up some dosh to make the problem go away, even if they know they are in the right. As I wrote the other day about Apple, litigation rather than innovation is seen as the best way of attacking competitors; it would be wonderful if Barnes & Noble’s approach represented the beginning of the end for this abuse of the patent system.

It’s also extremely interesting to see here the battle framed as Microsoft using its (intellectual) monopolies to attack competitors unfairly. That’s exactly what it was found guilty of during the anti-trust case ten years ago. Would it be too much to hope for version 2.0 of that fascinating exercise – maybe with a rather more effective outcome?

Software patents need to be eliminated urgently. It’s stuff like this from the news which shows there is a lot of work to be done educating people. In order for GNU/Linux to win there must be no patent monopolies. It is possible to make one’s voice heard, but policy is biased and woefully distorted at present. It assumes entitlement for middlemen like patent lawyers. It treats ideas like physical property.

Video: Pieter Hintjens and Others on Software Patents in Europe

Posted in Europe, Patents at 1:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Patents allow companies like Microsoft “to crate a cartel,” says the former FFII president, whose company is harmed by software patents

Here is an old video which was recently uploaded to YouTube by the president of the FFII (username Zoobab). It is a video featuring Pieter Hintjens, the former FFII president who is also the CEO of iMatix.


Credit: TinyOgg

Also from Zoobab we have the second and third part, as well as this old video about the Software Patent Directive. It is crucial that these patents get squashed in order for GNU/Linux to succeed.

04.28.11

Video: J. Zimmermann from APRIL on Software Patents and More

Posted in Europe, Patents, Videos at 11:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: French activism against software patentability, as seen in a very recent public event

This talk is titled “Sharing experience about campaigning on the political field in France” and it is a “presentation of a few successful campaigns in France lead by libre software activists for defending freedom in a digital world: bringing awareness of the politicians about the dangers of the EUCD transposition and DRM, and their economical, social and political impact and influencing the candidates at a presidential election to talk about Libre Software, software patents, DRM, etc. How did we do that? What have we learned? Maybe for political action too, sharing is a way of just doing it better.”

There are many more such videos (yet to come). We have a hard time converting some of them to Ogg using TinyOgg.

Fake Patent Reforms and Abolition of Software Patents

Posted in America, Europe, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 10:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Why progress is not being made in the fight against software patents, despite claims that software patents can only be obtained in the United States and perhaps some Asian countries

Patent Extortion Against Linux

Microsoft is a very abusive patent aggressor, despite Todd Bishop pretending that it complies with the law. It’s all just spin or misdirection. Thanks to the absence of NDA rules (not applying because no deal was signed), B&N showed serious abuses from Microsoft after it got sued (similar to Microsoft suing Motorola over Linux) and regulators should take a close look at that. Microsoft has turned into some kind of massive patent troll or a company which uses patent trolls to attack its competition. Funnily enough, TechDirt publishes an analyst’s opinion that “Motorola’s Best Play Is To Become A Patent Troll & Destroy Android Ecosystem With Patent Lawsuits” (TechDirt quote, not the analyst’s), yet nobody seems to mention what Microsoft is already doing, which is exactly how Mike describes it:

Weren’t patents supposed to be about encouraging innovation? Of course, the reality is that they’re mostly used for the opposite purpose, which is holding back innovation, stopping other companies and cashing in on the lawsuits. It seems that some analysts aren’t even pretending that patents are useful for innovation any more. Trip Chowdhry, a somewhat well known analyst in the tech space, is claiming that [...] suggests that the company go full on patent troll and sue everyone else making Android tablets. Because that will help the market.

Read the above and think about what Microsoft is doing. It is exactly that. Given the nature of patent litigation in such a scenario, should there not be a patent reform? They want us to believe so.

USPTO ‘Reform’

Well, as we pointed out at the time, the recently-passed reform was not really a reform but more of a decoy. They called it a “reform”, but it was more like a symbolic pat on the shoulder. Erick Robinson, the Senior Patent Counsel at Red Hat, says it passed “with little reform” and he explains why:

In my March 2 post on patent reform, I noted that many of the provisions offered in prior versions of patent reform bills were removed from the pending bill. On March 8, the Senate passed S. 23, now called the “America Invents Act” 95-5. As one might guess, any legislation passed with such unanimity must present little controversy. Such is the case here, as the bill was further stripped before passage, leaving little reform to match the hype with which it was passed.

For example, the damages provision mentioned in my post – already watered down from the version in prior years’ bills – was removed. Similarly, the venue provision (also significantly diluted from previous bills) was deleted. In fact, the only controversial provision that made its way into the final bill was the “first to file” provision. Most of the other minor changes in my March 2 post remain intact as well.

Now, let’s look at what goes on in Europe.

EPO

The EPO keeps pretending that it does not accept software patents while bragging about some of them in an MP3 propaganda piece like one which hails Karlheinz Brandenburg, noting:

Karlheinz Brandenburg was not the only researcher working on digital audio coding.

Yes, and they all worked on similar underlying mathematics. This is outrageous because the EPO decided to issue just one person/party a monopoly/franchise on such mathematics. How shameful. The EPO does not serve the public and amid budget cuts it should be made a candidate for shutdown. In response to such congregations of illegitimate power, Google is trying to free multimedia codecs, but there are mixed messages as it also seeks more “defensive” patents. What else can it do? Watch this new courageous piece about the EPO. The “wheel chair arguments for life patents return,” FFII e.V. calls out about it. The lawyers cannot ever have enough patents, can they?

“Staff at the European Patent Office went on strike accusing the organization of corruption: specifically, stretching the standards for patents in order to make more money.

“One of the ways that the EPO has done this is by issuing software patents in defiance of the treaty that set it up.”

Richard Stallman

Attachmate and Mono

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, SLES/SLED at 9:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bison

Summary: Novell is polluting GNU/Linux with Microsoft software that is also a target for patent litigation; it is not known what Novell’s acquirer is going to do with it

What does Attachmate (AttachMSFT) plan to do with Mono and Moonlight? We do not know because the subject is barely discussed. The same goes for OpenSUSE, which is not the same as SLE*.

Now that “Novell Sale to Attachmate [is] Completed”, the CEO of AttachMSFT just mentions SUSE and proprietary software. To quote IDG: “In an interview on Wednesday afternoon, Attachmate CEO Jeff Hawn noted Suse would be its own separate business unit under the Attachmate umbrella, as would Novell: “We’re making Suse its own business unit so it’ll be on par with the other three business units.” The other two include the Attachmate and NetIQ business units, all under the auspices of the Attachmate Group.”

Does anybody know what happens to Mono? Will AttachMSFT’s CEO treat is like he treats bison? We searched the Web for answers and the first result we found was from Microsoft. There is a new Mono audiocast aptly called “Monkey Talk” (first episode features a Microsoft MVP) and it sure looks like Novell’s work on GNOME only yields a lot of Mono software, which spreads further to other distributions, even the new Ubuntu (11.04). This includes the Novell-developed patent trap known as Banshee 2.0 (now with extra Microsoft patent infringements and Microsoft code) and another project which is developed by a person from Novell gets promoted here today. It ends with:

If Mono isn’t a problem and the GIMP is a little complicated for you, then you’ll probably like Pinta.

But Mono is a problem. Ask Canonical's CTO. Having given its patents to Microsoft, Novell should be treated with disdain, not mere caution.

Expecting and Preparing for Microsoft’s Last Stand

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents, Windows at 9:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj

Summary: The importance of eliminating software patents, which may be Microsoft’s last chance to save cash cows

TODAY I’ve been corresponding with someone who had spoken to Gates and Jobs about patents. Behind the scenes there is an interesting battle going on and it all revolves around patents, not products. In addition, patent trolls play a role in it. They appear to be working at the behest of larger companies and hopefully we’ll be permitted to name some of the involved parties very soon.

It has occurred to me that not many people in the Free/Open Source software world even realise just how serious an issue this is. For all I can see (with great concern), pundits and journalists often berate Groklaw for doing exactly what any responsible and competent reporter ought to have done. I see the same daemonisations directed against myself, even though anyone who objectively checked my record would find no justification for such characterisations. They are usually based on falsehoods and deliberate libel. In fact, many people who used to smear us came to IRC and after a while became our allies; they came to realised that we were on their side, not against them. Just because Techrights writes extensively on the subject of patents does not mean that it seeks to legitimise them; au contraire — we raise the issue so that more and more people pick a bone and join the fight against software patents. We are going to dedicate the entire coming week to this issue. A “software patent could threaten open source” says this one respected blogger, who emphasises that without software patents the situation would be entirely different. Currently, it is mostly a US problem:

The only good news is that this patent only applies in the U.S. A worldwide patent search of the inventor only produced 2 applications and 2 full patents. While it is perfectly possible for an international firm to be sued in the U.S. for patent infringement (RIM springs to mind), it is unlikely that smaller international developers will be subject to suits. Undoubtedly these broad patents have an effect in the rest of the world, but thankfully it is limited.

Mr. Pogson gives us some selected quotes from Barnes and Noble and Mary Jo Microsoft at least mentions it (see yesterday's coverage). Microsoft has become sort of organised crime syndicate simply because it cannot compete. To reuse the words of Steve Ballmer (about Google), Microsoft is a “house of cards”. That house is mostly built on foundations which are anything but concrete; they are Windows. Like any window, that too can be easy to smash and once the windows are smashed, break-in becomes trivial. Microsoft is feeling very threatened right not because it cannot even sell operating systems — the common carrier of its whole portfolio — to OEMs (it never really sold them to customers, it just used the OEMs to force people to get it all bundled). We have already written about the decline of Windows sales and one of the latest pundits to show this comes from IDG [1, 2], which is rather unusual.

The bottom line is, Techrights believes that Windows is already being dethroned and newer evidence further solidifies this claim. Right now we just need to ensure that Microsoft does not turn into a cash cow other companies’ operating systems, using software patents. Let us leave the mediocre operating system behind and the abusive monopolist in the gutter; both have caused tremendous damage to society for over 2 decades (or my entire life as I’m in my twenties) and to give just one examples of that damage, consider this new rant. It says: “Our company web log, web site, shopping site and forum get hit by varying degrees with SPAM bots, or in some cases possibly paid SPAM shills, signing up for accounts, posting “comments” and sending “track-backs” that aren’t. Constant administration oversight is needed to keep these cleaned up, which is one reason why all comments and track-backs here at The ERACC Web Log are moderated. We see the SPAM so you don’t have to. I also see the occasional SPAM in my e-mail. Even though I have measures in place to mitigate the problem in all these locations, nothing completely stops these annoying SPAM-ing jerks. Invariably, when I trace back the IP addresses of these SPAM attempts with nmap and check the running OS I see something like this:

Running: Microsoft Windows 2003
OS details: Microsoft Windows Server 2003 SP2, Microsoft Windows XP SP2

“It seems another technically ignorant Microsoft user, or dare I say “administrator”, has zero clue how to secure an internet facing operating system.”

Imagine a world without Windows — a world where a spammer cannot just recruit strangers’ machines by the thousands/millions to hammer on other machines and cause trillions in damages to the economy. We are almost there now (servers and devices usually do not run Windows) and a lot of what remains to be cleaned is hinged on the patent question. Will the law permit Microsoft to extort Android? Fight against software patents today. GNU/Linux advocacy (which is where I come from) in a world where sharing code is antithetical will not be enough. Larry Lessig put aside Create Commons because he knew that corrupt(ible) politicians will always marginalise copyright reform and impede sharing of culture. “Finally, someone talks about the kind of patent extortion that has been going on against Samba for years,” wrote Jeremy Allison yesterday regarding the revelations from Barnes and Noble. Allison went to work for Google after he quit Novell in protest, due to its patent deal with Microsoft.

Links 28/4/2011: AMD (ATI) Catalyst 11.4, Red Hat GNU/Linux Growth

Posted in News Roundup at 6:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Germans stick Linux on 10,000 PCs

    While most of the world has been ignoring Linux on the desktop, it appears that the makers of Ubuntu have managed to score a lucrative deal with German insurance giant LVM Versicherungen.

    Canonical, which makes Ubuntu, will convert 10,000 PCs to use Ubuntu Linux across the entire company.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Ballnux

    • Pricey Droid Charge phone unveiled by Verizon, Samsung

      Verizon Wireless will begin selling a 4G LTE-ready 4.3-inch “Droid Charge by Samsung” Android phone on April 28 for a whopping $300 plus contract. Meanwhile, Verizon says the 4G- and Android-ready HTC Thunderbolt has been a hot seller, and Motorola has confifmed that the Verizon launch of its Droid Bionic phone will be delayed until summer.

    • LG plays catch-up via ARM Cortex license

      For example, the Optimus 2X (right) — claimed on its December 2010 launch to be the world’s first dual-core smartphone — and Optimus Pad tablet both employ Nvidia Tegra 2 processors, as does the LG-manufactured G-Slate (below) promised by T-Mobile. Meanwhile, the similarly Android-based Optimus 3D phone uses a Texas Instruments OMAP4 processor, likely the OMAP4430.

    • become a hacking ninja in a matter of seconds
  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • On platforms

      At some stage the seminal KDE vs Gnome paper vanished from its original home, and while it’s still available in a few places (such as here) it set me thinking. What are the fundamental differences between Gnome and KDE development? There’s lots of little differences (2006: Gnome parties on a beach. Akademy has melted ice cream in the rain) but they’re both basically communities made up of people who are interested in developing a functional and interesting desktop experience. So why do the end results have so little in common?

      Then I read this and something that had been floating around in my mind began to solidify. KDE assumes a platform and attempts to work around its shortcomings. Gnome helps define the platform and works on fixing its shortcomings.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE-Telepathy – A Vision for Integration

        The first preview release for KDE-Telepathy is getting closer. Our release-tracker bug now only has 9 bugs blocking it and many of these already have patches on reviewboard. Our first release will be made separately from the KDE Software Compilation, and should be compatible with installs of 4.6.x or trunk. It will be suitable only for people who like to try out new technologies before they are ready for the mainstream. It will not be feature complete (although we hope many of the basic features will be implemented). It will not be polished (although we do want to know about any bugs or issues you find – that’s why we’re making this release). It will also not be especially deeply integrated with the rest of the KDE S.C. or the Plasma workspaces. There will be a plasma applet for bringing accounts on and offline, but the rest of it is much like a traditional Instant Messaging application.

      • Pimping my Desktop: have KWin Desktop Effects improved in KDE 4.6.2?

        KWin Desktop Effects in past releases of KDE 4 were lacking in comparison to Compiz. After installing KDE 4.6.2 recently I decided to see if there has been any progress, and was pleasantly surprised. Although KWin is still not quite up to the standard of Compiz in all areas (the behaviour of 3D windows, especially around the corners of the Desktop Cube, being one example), KWin’s Desktop Effects are now very pleasant and a viable alternative to Compiz. I’ll talk you though my Desktop-pimping exercise using KWin on my main laptop running KDE 4.6.2, and then I’ll describe briefly a similar exercise using Compiz on the same machine.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • ‘Nautilus Facebook Uploader’ for Linux adds video uploads, description editing, more
      • A look at GNOME Shell

        GNOME 3 and GNOME Shell were finally released, after years of development, just a few days ago. Their release was obviously raising enormous expectation, so it should come as no surprise that so shortly after it took place there are already tons of material both positive and negative about it. Exciting times, if you ask me.

      • Gnome Announces New GSoC and Outreach Program for Women Interns

        The Gnome project announced that the Gnome 3.0 release included more contributions by women than any previous release, an increase the project attributes its new internship program. The Outreach Program for Women, which ran from December 2010 until March 2011, paired eight interns with Gnome project mentors. The Gnome project also announced that it accepted seven women to participate in the Google Summer of Code. Check out the press release for a complete list of the new outreach program and female GSoC participants, mentors, and projects.

        The Gnome project announced that the Gnome 3.0 release included more contributions by women than any previous release, an increase the project attributes its new internship program. The Outreach Program for Women, which ran from December 2010 until March 2011, paired eight interns with Gnome project mentors. The Gnome project also announced that it accepted seven women to participate in the Google Summer of Code. Check out the press release for a complete list of the new outreach program and female GSoC participants, mentors, and projects.

      • GNOME Outreach Program for Women Attracts Many New Contributors

        With 15 female interns accepted for the Outreach Program for Women and Google Summer of Code, GNOME 3.2 will be in a good position to beat this record.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • LG possibly looking at MeeGo for smartphones
        • Qt 4.7 and KDE 4.6 going stable, finally!

          After a lot of bug-wrangling both by upstream and by our Qt and KDE teams, we now feel confident that Qt 4.7.2 and KDE 4.6.2 are ready for stabilization. If you are a stable tree user (amd64, ppc, x86), the upgrade from current Qt 4.6.3 and KDE 4.4.5 will arrive at your machine soon, with lots of new features. (The KDEPIM applications such as kmail, kontact, or akregator will stay at trusty version 4.4 since development there is still ongoing.)

      • Android

        • Android: Data Shows Consumers Prefer It–But Those Are Consumers

          Recently, many reports have arrived showing the open source Android mobile OS beating Apple’s iPhone and iOS in market share terms, with some over-enthusiastic observers pronouncing the iPhone “dead in the water.” We’ve already cautioned that some of the market share numbers for Android should be taken with a grain of salt, because Android is becoming hugely popular as a consumer smartphone OS, but is not accepted as secure or standardized by many businesses and organizations. Furthermore, in Apple’s recent quarterly financial report, the iPhone was shown to have gigantic momentum. In the latest Nielsen survey, Android once again comes out on top in terms of being the “most wanted” smartphone platform, but that–again–is among consumers.

        • Verizon tips Droid Incredible 2, plus rugged Casio Commando phone

          Verizon Wireless announced two new Android 2.2 phones, led by HTC’s four-inch, global-roaming Droid Incredible 2 phone, which features dual cameras, including an eight-megapixel model. The ruggedized Casio G’zOne Commando, meanwhile, offers a 3.6-inch WVGA display, a five-megapixel camera, 3G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPS, as well as special field-ready apps linked to the phone’s sensors.

        • Android Apps for Photographers

          Your Android device is not only good for snapping photos and sharing them with others. Using the right apps, you can turn it into a handy photographic companion which can handle a wide range of photography-related tasks. And the best part is that some of the best photography-related apps won’t cost you a dime.

        • Android now most desired smartphone OS in U.S., study says

          Nielsen reports that 31 percent of U.S. smartphone subscribers said they would prefer Android for their next phone, compared to 30 percent for the iPhone. Overall, Nielsen estimates that 37 percent of smartphone subscribers and 50 percent of recent subscribers use Android phones, up sharply from January.

    • Sub-notebooks

    • Tablets

      • Lenovo preps Honeycomb tablet with keyboard dock

        Lenovo is readying an Android 3.0 tablet that offers a pen option and plugs into a keyboard dock, says and industry report. Meanwhile, Archos announced its seven-inch, Android-based 7c Home Tablet, and Samsung is rumored to be building Amazon’s first Android tablet.

      • Right tablet for the job: iPad alternatives

        One of the major hardware players that have been quiet until now is Acer. The company jumped feet first into the netbook market with its Aspire range and got some good traction in that area. Now Acer is reportedly ready with its first real tablet device: the Acer Iconia Tab A500. The Iconia will run Android Honeycomb and sports a 10.1-inch screen. Official pricing and release dates for South Africa have not been announced yet.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Credativ’s Open Source Support Is An Answer To FOSS Support Woes

    Ask many IT managers and business owners why they don’t adopt open source software, and a common answer will be “lack of support.” After all, many projects don’t offer formal support, relying on wikis and forums for answering questions. That’s why it was big news in 2009 that Credativ, Europe’s largest service and support company focused on open source, was expanding its operations in the United States. Its Open Source Support Center is positioned as a one-stop shop for support for almost all significant open source applications and platforms, including the many flavors of Linux distros, development languages, and databases. Credativ has expanded its efforts to provide comprehensive open source support around the world since 2009, and its efforts appear to be working.

  • Google Puts $6 Million Into Open Source Summer

    I’ve been writing about the Google Summer of Code since 2005 when the program debuted. It’s a program that I’ve seen grow and excel every year since.

    The Summer of Code is an effort to bring students into the open source world, matching them up with mentoring open source organizations. The students work on a project with the open source group, helping both the project as well as themselves.

  • Dropbox fends off open source file-sharing application

    Dropbox is not getting much in the way of good news lately. First the company was caught out over changes to its terms of service (TOS), now the company is fending off a open source project called Dropship.

    According to Dan DeFelippi, Dropbox is trying to deep-six Dropship. What’s Dropship? It’s an application, under the MIT license, that makes it possible to use Dropbox sort of like a file-sharing network. If you have a hash of a file that’s stored in a public folder on Dropbox, anybody can copy the file into their own folder. So if you have, say, a couple of MP3s by Jukebox the Ghost, you could provide the hashes and suddenly Dropbox is automagically propagating the MP3s to a bunch of accounts.

  • The Next Best Thing to Open Source?

    According to Notch, Minecraft is moving to an Android-like model for its mods development. You will be able to sign up for free, accept a license, and get access to the complete source code via SVN (one can tell these aren’t F/OSS people… SVN, seriously?) to develop mods.

  • SaaS

  • Databases

  • Sun/Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • Drupal at Warp Speed

      Doesn’t it give you a warm feeling when you’re asked to do a week’s work in twelve hours or less? It should. It should give you a warmer feeling when you can do it in far less time. Give your C-Level suitors this one in under an hour and they’ll think you’re as magical as Mr. Scott aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise. Mr. Scott often surprised the always demanding Captain Kirk with his ability to fix just about anything within the very tight time constraints placed on him. Instead of dilithium crystals and altered phaser electronics, you’ll have to work with Ubuntu and Drupal.

      As of this writing, the latest version of Drupal is 7.0 and the version that installs to your system via the default Ubuntu repositories is 6.18. The speed of setup should sufficiently offset the fact that the software isn’t the latest available.

    • Making money in open source: Drupal future looks bright

      Who says there’s no money in open source? Demand for Drupal talent is growing, and opportunities abound for developers, designers and artists, and related disciplines such as database and system administration. Let’s take a look at what some Drupal consulting firms are doing, and get an inside view from a Drupal core maintainer.

  • Education

    • Open Source Group Seeks Support from Higher Ed for Mobile Initiative

      Jasig is launching a new open source project called uMobile and is calling on colleges and universities to contribute to the effort.

      Jasig is a consortium of higher education institutions and commercial organizations from around the world dedicated to the development and promotion of open source software to benefit colleges and universities. It also holds an annual conference spotlighting open source in education. This year’s spring conference will be held May 23 to 25 in Westminster, CO.

  • Healthcare

    • VA Calls for Open Source Health Record Proposals

      The Veterans Affairs Department released last Friday its request for proposals for an outfit it calls a Custodial Agent to manage an “open source ecosystem” for development of its next generation electronic health record.

      VA said it plans to use the Custodial Agent to set up and manage a code repository that will be used to update its current Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) health as well as provide software to the entire health care community.

    • OpenClinica Hosts Global Conference in Boston
  • BSD

  • Project Releases

    • First Blender 2.57 bug fix update released

      Over the next two months the developers will “keep working on finishing a couple of left-over 2.5 targets”, noting that if all goes well, the upcoming 2.58 release will be the final in the 2.5 series. After that, development on the 2.6x cycle will begin, targeting new updates every 2 months.

  • Government

    • EU: Free software advocates want procurement rules improved

      Europe’s rules on public procurement should be improved to allow better access to free and open source software applications, according to advocacy groups and the OSOR project. They responded to a public consultation by the European Commission. The groups want the rules to request free and open source licencing terms.

  • Programming

    • Python for Android

      Mobile app development for smartphones is hot. This is no more prevalent than in the Android space where the activity level oftentimes is frenzied. However, when it comes to building a “real” Android app, it seems there’s only one programming choice: Java (although it is possible with a lot more work to use C/C++ with Android’s Native Development Kit). That said, Google wisely chose the popular Java programming technology upon which to base its Android SDK, which runs a customized VM.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Change Tracking: Why?

      As some of my past posts have mentioned, the OASIS group is currently working out how it wishes to extend support for change tracking in ODF. The change tracking feature allows you to have an office application remember what changes you have made and associate them with one or more revisions. There are many examples where governments might want such traceability, but small businesses are likely to find this functionality valuable too.

      Late last year there was an ODF plugfest held in Brussels where it was decided that an Advanced Document Collaboration subcommittee should be formed to work out how to serialize tracked changes into ODF.

Leftovers

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Taming Brussels lobby

      The European Parliament’s Constitutional Affairs committee approved a report by Italian centre-right MEP Carlo Casini, which demands a single register of lobbyists, shared between the European Commission and parliament.

      There has been a parliamentary register for many years, as lobbyists have to sign up to gain an access pass to the building.
      The Commission introduced a ‘Register of Interest Representatives’ in 2008, under the guidance on then Administrative Affairs Commissioner, Siim Kallas, who remained adamant that the register be voluntary. The move was controversial as transparency campaigners wanted a mandatory register.

  • Privacy

    • TomTom user data sold to Dutch police, used to determine ideal locations for speed traps

      We like it when the accumulated speed data from GPS devices helps us avoid traffic incidents and school zones. As it turns out, though, there are some other uses for the same stats. Dutch news outlet AD is reporting that such data captured by TomTom navigation devices has been purchased by the country’s police force and is being used to determine where speed traps and cameras should be placed. TomTom was reportedly unaware its data was being used in such a way, but if the police would only agree to sell the data on the location of its speed cameras and traps back to TomTom, why, this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Is It Rude To Link To Someone Without First Asking Permission?

        Earlier this week, I wrote an analysis of some silly claims from Canadian IP lawyer James Gannon’s sarcastic suggestion that copying money is just like copying content. Gannon stopped by in our comments… and oddly did not respond to a single point that I raised about his faulty analysis. Instead, he only commented to claim that it was somehow rude or discourteous of me to link to his piece and to discuss it without first asking for permission. I found this somewhat shocking. I’ve never heard that it’s common courtesy to ask before you link to someone. Yet Gannon insisted that most people who link to him first ask his permission and he suggests, snidely, that his readership has higher “standards” in regards to how they view content.

      • ACTA

        • Senator Wyden releases redacted version of October 29, 2010 CRS report on ACTA

          On April 26, 2011, Senator Wyden released a redacted version of the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report on ACTA that has been the subject to an ongoing Freedom of Information ACT (FOIA) dispute with USTR.

          (More context here, here and here).

          This is a link to the report that USTR claimed they could not release because of restrictions on its use by Senator Wyden.

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