Amongst other videos that we have not included in Techrights yet there is this one from a demonstration against software patents in Vienna (with Richard Stallman) and Kappelman speaking in 2009 about software patents (MIT Enterprise Forum) [1, 2]. These are low-quality and short videos though. If anybody can suggest more videos on the subject of software patents, please contact us. We would gladly publish anything on this subject of high priority. █
Linux is like an ocean. Water keeps coming from the rivers, and there are a lot of rivers around. There is much to see if you want to, while doing all your regular swimming activities. You can travel the ocean far and wide and be wiser, or you can stick to your school and enjoy your locale. You take the call. You can migrate to a different part of the ocean in search of peace/adventure. You take the call. Typical of an ocean, you find big fish, small fish, medium fish, etc. You can be lost and ask for directions or befriend them and swim more of the ocean. You take the call. This is freedom. With so much freedom, comes so much power. With that much power, comes that much responsibility. You can use it according to the book and be safe, or take a few wrong steps and learn lessons the harder way. Of course, nowadays there are nicely laid out paths in the ocean for new fish to start out, cutting the intimidation. So, you can learn a few things about the ocean and, if you want a little more, the adventure is limited only by your imagination.
It has been a long time if ever that Linux has been described as a desirable OS but it is happening now. A survey of smartphone-lovers finds that more intend to buy Android/Linux next rather than iOS or worst, Phoney 7. Underneath it is the same stuff that consumers have not been choosing for a decade but the change is understandable. While the forces of evil denigrated GNU/Linux as “communism” and “cancer” and their multitudes of “partners” repeated the chants until the media believed them and common wisdom in the retail trade was than no one would buy GNU/Linux, the makers of smart phones have been uncontaminated. You can see ads on television for smart phones with Android/Linux from the manufacturers, ISPs, banks, etc. and many millions of people are showing them to their friends. The “partners” have been bypassed. The monopoly is now irrelevant.
With six guys, plus Skip and me, we got the sheet rock to the new HeliOS building and got it unloaded. We will probably start hanging it this evening or tomorrow, then the fun part starts…we get to find someone who knows how to tape, mud and float.
Muktware: What is System 76? Can you tell us something about how and when you conceptualized the company and what was the driving force behind it?
Carl Richell: We started discussing System76 back in 2003 but not seriously until 2005. We felt that GNU/Linux had come a long way and deserved an OEM building high quality pc’s backed by dedicated support.
There was also this newfangled distro called Ubuntu. It clearly had traction. There was already a great community and a unique and attractive business model behind it. Shortly thereafter, we shipped our first laptops and desktop with Ubuntu 5.10 Breezy Badger.
When I recently started my new side project, Read Feeder, I wanted to do some quick UI mockups before I started coding. Normally I would do this with a physical pen and paper, but I wanted to move into the 21st century and find a way to efficiently make mockups on the computer (also, there wasn’t a pen and paper nearby, and I didn’t feel like getting up to find one).
After recently adding support for scanning through a virtual filesystem interface in libferris I thought I’d complete the cycle and add printer-as-filesystem too. This of course allows the neat trick to “copy” a document from your scanner and dumping it to a printer:
Earlier in the month we reported that Gamestop would be aggressively moving in to digital download services, and might be releasing its own gaming tablets. Now news is emerging that the company intends to bring its streaming service to Android-based devices.
The KDE Edu Team is proud to present its new website at http://edu.kde.org as the central place to start to discover KDE Edu.
With this new website, we are also officially presenting the new KDE Edu logo as the stamp for KDE in Education. The logo emphasizes the opportunity for people to grow their knowledge freely in various fields with KDE Edu programs. The concept was started in May 2010 by Alexandre Freitas and finalized by Asunción Sánchez Iglesias.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have the whole world at your fingertips? How about cradling it in a single hand, putting it in your pocket and taking it with you wherever you go? With KDE’s Marble Virtual Globe on your mobile phone, you can do just that.
For a long time I’ve been a big fan of kdenlive. I’ve written a two articles about it. One is a general overview of video editing on Linux and the other is more specific to kdenlive. For a number of years, video editing on linux – at least at a consumer level – has been patchy at best. This is somewhat ironic given the heavy use of linux in major Hollywood block film production. However, with the advent of kdenlive, things are looking pretty good and with the release of version 0.8, there have been some great features added for the more advanced users, while still retaining a simple and easy to use UI.
Now with the GSoC application timeline ended, I feel like blogging about some more ideas what I want to see in KWin in our next releases, but are not enough for a GSoC. Nevertheless most of it is in the scope that it can also be handled by new developers. But some parts have to be done by KWin/Plasma developers.
So now that GNOME 3 is out, and I am excited about the future progress of the “Finding and Reminding” feature. My design philosophy is that design should be an evolutionary process with multiple prototypes tested for effectiveness along the way, not a “design everything upfront” process.
Due to the high priority of Unity in the Ubuntu 11.04 development cycle, the inclusion of GNOME3 into Ubuntu were postponed until 11.10, and Unity was shipped in Ubuntu 11.04 as a shell for GNOME2 instead.
The GNOME 3.0 release has far more contributions by women than any previous release in GNOME history. This is largely thanks to the hard work of the first round of the Outreach Program for Women interns, who participated in the program from December 15, 2010 to March 15, 2011. All eight participants had their work included in the main branches of their projects and therefore included in GNOME 3.0. Following on the heels of the successful first round, the GNOME Project is delighted to announce the participants of a new round of the Outreach Program for Women internships.
After months of development, one of the most important Linux distributions was released today. Of course I’m talking about Slackware 13.37. Oh, and the Ubuntu Project released 11.04 today too — though by reading the press release you’d never know Ubuntu was actually a Linux distribution.
Chakra is a Linux distribution based on Arch Linux. It evolved from a hobby project to what is now, from my initial assessment, a very solid desktop distribution with features not yet available on established Linux distributions. The developers warn that, “This is alpha software, it could eat your hamsters.” It did not eat my hamster, but the time I spent installing and reinstalling it on multiple machines and in a virtual environment was very eventful.
For this review, the first for Chakra on this website, I will let the screenshots do most of the “talking.” I like this approach better because, as they say, a picture is worth more than a thousand words. A screenshot with one or two paragraphs conveys more than a dozen paragraphs of colorful descriptions.
The version of Chakra that is the subject of this review is Chakra GNU/Linux 2011.04, code-named Aida. It was released on April 27, 2011.
Version 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) of the very best Free-Libre Open-Source data recovery software toolkit based on Ubuntu is out.
This version features and up-to-date infrastructure and several new packages including Dump, a backup and restore solution as well as Clamav, the best in free-libre Antivirus software.
Ubuntu-Rescue-Remix features a full command-line environment with the newsest versions of the most powerful free/libre open-source data recovery software including GNU ddrescue, Photorec, The Sleuth Kit and Gnu-fdisk.
The Java packaging in Mandriva 2010.1 (from which Mageia was forked) was just unusable. Many of the packages were obsolete and not really maintained. The task of updating packages had become very difficult as Maven, a now very common Java project build tool, was not properly integrated in the distribution. Many Java libraries installed using the old packages would not be usable by Maven. Moreover the version of Maven was obsolete and would not allow building recent software. This was a serious problem for maintaining the Java stack.
Latest beta release from Red Hat-backed project makes the switch to Gnome3
The big issues in the world of Linux right now are the Gnome3 desktop interface and Ubuntu’s pending Natty release which will use the Unity desktop interface by default. The tried and tested Gnome2 desktop is finally making way for a new generation of desktop effects and most users will find the change jarringly different.
The next version of Fedora, Version 15 is available for download as a beta version. The beta version was released and a reworked boot loading system will be featured by this OS. The major changes for the Linux distribution are hopefully taken care of and the complete release is scheduled for May 2011; it is to be noted that this period of release is approximately a month after the release of Ubuntu 11.04. New releases of Fedora can usually be expected about once every six months.
Ubuntu Software Center in 11.04 has got a really nice ratings and reviews system in place that allows us to review our favorite applications and install top rated applications in one click. So here is a list of 17 highly rated applications not installed by default in Ubuntu 11.04.
Canonical released Ubuntu 11.04 this week, giving the operating system a dramatically new user interface as well as some new features and performance tweaks. The company also recently launched an updated version of the Ubuntu One music app for Android.
Ubuntu One allows Ubuntu Linux users to store music online and access it from a computer or mobile device. The service is free to use for 30 days, but you’ll have to sign up for a subscription after that.
Canonical yesterday released the final version of Ubuntu Linux 11.04. For quite some time Ubuntu will get a new release twice per year – one in April and one in October. As usual with updated distributions, the release comes with updated software. In this case however, the software responsible for the appearance of the desktop was changed. While previous Ubuntu releases relied on Gnome as a desktop manager, with 11.04 Ubuntu makes the switch to the Unity desktop environment.
As you should know, Ubuntu 11.04 was released yesterday. I have used the development builds of Ubuntu 11.04 on and off during the development cycle. However, it is not a very good idea to do to do a review during the development phase. So, as soon as the final release of Ubuntu 11.04 was available, I downloaded it and installed it on my laptop. (I actually used zsync to update the image of Ubuntu 11.04 beta that I had.) So, after using it for one whole day, here are my thoughts on Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal”.
Despite its runaway popularity when compared to other Linux distributions, Ubuntu still struggles to capture the attention of the general computing public. With recent releases, Canonical has clearly been looking at ways to make Ubuntu more appealing to the average Joe — and Natty Narwhal offers plenty of features that could make it an appealing alternative to Windows and Mac OS X.
I did an in-place upgrade of the Ubuntu 10.10 running on my mother’s netbook to Ubuntu 11.04. I had it run overnight, and by morning, voila!, I had Natty Narwhal on the computer. The upgrade went by without a hitch; real sweet, considering this was a Wubi installation.
I can’t say I’m too fond of the new Unity interface yet, though. I like the simplicity, but I’ve just gotten far too used to the old way of working. Unity just hides several icons so it was at first confusing to look up applications. That said, I’ll keep this on for a month or so and see how this works out for me.
It’s here. The newest version of Ubuntu sports an entirely new user interface: Unity. It also includes a much-improved Software Center, alongside the usual updates for the thousands of free programs Ubuntu offers. Download it now at Ubuntu.com.
Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu, is a known frequent blogger. If Steve Jobs personally replies to the emails of users, which the company later denies as Jobs’ comments. Shuttleworth, the guy who has been to the space, shares his views in public and allows comments. Of course his blogs are not proprietary.
Ubuntu 11.04, also known as the Natty Narwhal, arrived on April 28th, 2011 and is the 14th release of the Ubuntu operating system.
Even if the Ubuntu 11.04 operating system includes a smarter installer, we’ve created the following tutorial to teach both Linux newcomers and existing Ubuntu users how to install the Ubuntu 11.04 operating system on their personal computer.
I’ve been playing around with Ubuntu 11.04 on a couple of machines for almost a week now. Ubuntu 11.04 has an entirely new user interface to it making doing even the simple things very difficult. Even opening a shell is a major task. You have to click on an apps icon. Then carefully maneuver the mouse to a little triangle that will display all the apps and wait 5 seconds for the interface to respond. Then you must slowly and carefully scroll down. If your mouse deviates outside the area you must restart from scratch because the window will close. In another 5 seconds you’ll find the terminal app. Now if you want a second terminal, shell that is, you can’t get it. The menu only lets you open a single shell. The final kick in the nuts is the color scheme the shell uses. It’s very hard to read.
Fast paced, 3D top down shooter, Steel Storm : Burning Retribution a.k.a. Episode II will soon land into Ubuntu Software Center where users can easily buy this game in one click.
Kot-in-Action, the game development studio behind Steel Storm has already successfully delivered Episode I which is featured in Top 100 indie games for the year 2010 by IndieDB. They are now coming up with Episode II which packs in more features, more action and more adrenaline rush. With 25 full missions and a multiplier mode that allows upto 16 players to play together, this is surely an action you would like to watch for this year.
Shuttleworth opened by saying that the main point of Ubuntu 11.04 with Unity was “to bring the joys and freedoms and innovation and performance and security that have always been part of the Linux platform, to a consumer audience.”
Before I get on with the rest of this post, I need to apologize for not having posted anything this week. It turned out to be a good deal busier than I anticipated, and even otherwise, there wasn’t a whole lot to write about, at least at the beginning of the week. I did say in the latest “Featured Comments” article that I would review the latest release of Ubuntu — version 11.04 “Natty Narwhal”. That is still happening, but for reasons that will become clearer, I will not write reviews of Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu/Lubuntu just yet, but will wait a day or maybe a little more.
After years of giving Kubuntu releases unfavorable reviews, that time has finally come to an end. I’m proud to say that Kubuntu is back, and us KDE fans have a distribution to root for now. I hope that going forward, Kubuntu continues with this level of quality. I’m not sure if Kubuntu will remain my main distribution forever, because I prefer the rolling release style of Arch, but that’s just a personal preference. But I can say this, I know first hand how hard it is to get Linux to work with this laptop considering the current state of Intel’s drivers, so I applaud whatever the developers did to make the latest Kubuntu work so well. The distribution as a whole is amazing. Give it a try when it’s released on April 28th, you’ll be glad you did!
Two years ago to the day was the first time I installed Linux on my computer. Sure, I had seen other people use it and had used it on other people’s computers (though not so frequently), but I had never before put an OS other than Microsoft Windows on my own computer until that day. I had talked to a friend of mine about it before because I was planning to do it for a while; I thought of installing Ubuntu, but he suggested Linux Mint, as it would be easier for me to get used to and work with. I took that advice, and on 2009 May 1, as I took a break from studying for AP exams and felt quite fed up with Microsoft Windows XP, I downloaded the Linux Mint 6 “Felicia” GNOME ISO file, got InfraRecorder for Microsoft Windows XP, burned the live CD, and went on my way.
The buyer (me) acts as the investor for this project since their pre-order money will be used to fund the project. It was originally pre-ordered for $330, but after over a year of waiting for the production to take place I canceled it. Now in addition to pre-ordering, the Pandora can be bought and shipped in a week for a premium price of $500 which I took the opportunity, but is it worth the cost? Let’s find out..
In one of his boldest pronouncements since joining HP last November, CEO Leo Apotheker told Fortune this week that HP doesn’t intend to release new Windows 7 tablets anytime soon. “HP smartphones and tablets will be running WebOS, only WebOS, at least that’s for the near future, that’s the plan,” Apotheker in an interview published Monday.
While it’s premature to interpret HP’s decision to focus exclusively on WebOS tablets as a sign of strain in its Microsoft partnership, there’s no denying that mobile industry competition is a notoriously savage beast. At the very least, we could be witnessing a shift in how HP and Microsoft compete in the mobile space.
The Nook Color is simultaneously disappointing and pleasing. Why? At $249, the Nook Color does a lot of things pretty well. Well enough, in fact, that you think “the Nook Color would be perfect if only…” — if only it had Bluetooth and supported an external keyboard, or if only it supported a wider range of apps, or if only Barnes & Noble were willing to let customers install any app, like the Amazon Kindle app.
But for the price, the Nook does quite a bit. I would recommend it without hesitation to anyone that wants a eBook reader with a little bit extra. If you’re on a limited budget, the Nook Color is also a really good choice. For heavy readers who also want a tablet and a decent app selection, the Nook is not a good choice.
UK-based OpenGamma has been developing a unified platform for financial analytics which will allow financial services firms to combine their data management, calculation engines and analysis into a single framework. The platform, which is still in development, has now been released as a open source developer preview, dual-licensed under an Apache 2.0 licence or a commercial licence. The preview is described as a “beta-quality release” that has been through OpenGamma’s testing and QA processes.
The role of application servers has grown significantly in IT architecture over the past few years as the cloud becomes the new frontier for application development–a frontier that offers more opportunity and challenges than the Web ever did.
That’s not to say that the Web space is over and done. We have come a long way from simple CGI requests, and Java-based application servers dominate the application server space on the Web, handling everything from interfaces and data access to availability and scale.
According to an update at the Mozilla releases page, Firefox 5 looks like it’s headed for a release on June 21, less than two months away. We haven’t heard anything about what new features the next version of Firefox will have, but when Mozilla said that Firefox 4 would be the last time they waited months between major releases, they meant it.
Six engineers from San-Francisco-based tech group Mozilla, the developers of the Firefox browser, will meet Indonesian users at the Firefox 4 Launch Party, which will be held in six cities from April 29 to May 7.
Viking Karwur, the manager of Mozilla Indonesia Community, said this delegation was twice as large as the delegation to the previous launch party.
You blame Firefox 4 to be a memory hog? Check it out first by typing about:memory in the address bar. You’ll get a nice detailed report of your browsers memory usage. While it’s not guaranteed you’ll understand every statistic available in the report, you can at least peek at the overall memory use, and see how much it’s fragmented by comparing “memory mapped” and “memory in use” numbers.
Several weeks ago, we had an article that taught us how to restore sane browsing configurations in Firefox 4 after switching over from Firefox 3.6, including look and feel and addons compatibility. Now, we will talk about several more tricks and changes that should make your Firefox 4 experience even more pleasant.
Oracle has won an early round in what is sure to be an epic battle against Google over Android’s use of Java.
This week, Judge William Alsup issued a “claims construction” order in which he sided with Oracle on the definition of four out of five patent terms that will help determine outcome of the company’s lawsuit against Google and Android. On the fifth term, he sided with neither company, choosing to lay down his own definition. Oracle and Google have until May 6 to respond to the order.
Oracle has released Java SE 6 Update 25 (6u25); this update contains no security updates to the Java runtime, but does include wider platform support with Windows 7 and SP1, Windows 2008 R2 with SP1, Oracle Linux 6 and Oracle Solaris 11 Express 2010.11 added to the supported list. Also supported by the update are Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 4, Google Chrome 10 and VirtualBox 4.
The parties in Oracle v. Google have been asked by the judge to reduce the number of claims, so the case can actually be reasonably tried. So they have each filed their suggested cuts. Also the judge has issued a *tentative* claims construction order, asking for reaction from the parties and saying he may well make changes on his own initiative as more evidence is on the table.
When we began this interview, Dries was on a Drupal tour in Australia, calling from a hotel room in Sidney. For Dries, trips like this are becoming more and more common, allowing him to meet an increasing number of the people all over the globe using and developing Drupal. He listens to success stories and challenges faced in adopting or migrating to Drupal. “It helps me as the project lead to talk to as many Drupal people as I can”, he explained. Later this year he’s planning an around-the-world tour, literally flying around the world visiting as many countries as he can to talk about Drupal.
The United Kingdom’s institutions for higher and further education are increasing their use of free and open source software, concludes OSS Watch, a public service organisation, following a survey. Most needed are tools to accurately determine the total cost of ownership (TCO) for software, both proprietary and open source.
We asked you to email Sony CEO Howard Stringer during our last call to action
and Sony responded by shutting off his email address. Many of you then sent
emails to the next email address we posted, Nicole Seligman, Sony Executive VP and General Counsel. Your action was effective — it was an important part of the overall public pressure put on Sony to back off.
And back off they did. Sony ended up settling its lawsuit against George Hotz (aka geohot). Hotz has agreed to not use Sony devices in an ambiguous “unauthorized” fashion — in fact, he’s boycotting Sony anyway — and the accusations brought up in the case by Sony remain unproven.
Free software developers in France can soon write and compile their solutions using computer hardware donated by a French national computer science research institution. The institute, which preferred not to be named, is donating a hundred computers to the French chapter of the Free Software Foundation (FSF).
Aspect-Oriented Programming (AOP) is a programming paradigm which focuses on modularizing system-level concerns (like logging, transaction management, security, performance monitoring, etc.) in the applications. In AOP language, these system-level concerns are called “crosscutting concerns” because they crosscut all the layers of the application.
AspectJ, a compatible extension to the Java programming language, is one implementation of AOP. AspectJ is very widely used in a lot of Java frameworks (like Spring), but still most developers do not know AspectJ. Developers often think that AspectJ is difficult to learn or it makes your code complex, and they decide not to learn this very powerful and useful technology. In this article, I will write down five reasons why I think Java developer should learn and use AspectJ.
We released the Simple Java API for ODF version 0.5.5 today. In this version, we provide high level methods for image and text span. Now you can add images to text, spreadsheet and presentation documents. The position of the image can be specified by a rectangle, a paragraph or a cell. With text span, you can set a different style to a small unit of the text content. An interesting demo has been upload to website to demonstrate how to add a 2D barcode image to a presentation slide.
# Events-wise the month of May will be busy. I will attend the OASIS Board of Directors’ meetingin Berlin and meet with the Bitkom. The week after that Ars Aperta will join a session on the political and legal issues pertaining to Free Software development during the Linux Solutions 2011 event in Paris. I will also give another talk during the same event as part of the Document Foundation and our experience with forks. Spoons shall come next year.
Yahoo is selling off its delicious social bookmarking site, after nearly five years of ownership.
Technology startup AVOS, founded by YouTube founders, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, is acquiring delicious for an undisclosed sum from Yahoo. Hurley and Chen sold YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion in October of 2006.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and 14 other investment banks face the first-ever European Union antitrust probes into the swaps market, following investigations by U.S. regulators.
The EU is examining whether 16 banks, including Citigroup Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG, colluded by giving market information to Markit Group Ltd., a data provider majority-owned by Wall Street’s largest banks. It will also check if nine of the firms struck unfair deals with Intercontinental Exchange Inc.’s European derivatives clearinghouse, shutting out rivals.
Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and other top executives at the firm may not have understood the positions they were taking in the mortgage market, according to a report released today by the Senate Investigations subcommittee.
The report—which runs to 635 pages—details how Goldman built up a massive short position in mortgage-related assets following the collapse of two subprime Bear Stearns hedge funds. This was referred to as “the big short” within Goldman.
Contrary to the silly subtitle his publisher no doubt foisted on him, William D. Cohan does not argue that Goldman Sachs rules the world. A judicious author, Cohan avoids hyperbole in “Money and Power,” a definitive account of the most profitable and influential investment bank of the modern era.
Six New Zealand-based Goldman Sachs partners are expected to cash in when Goldman Sachs US takes full ownership of its Australian and New Zealand operations, with senior partners expected to clear up to $40 million.
According to the Australian Financial Review, local partners include Byron Pepper in the investment banking division, Duncan Rutherford in the securities division and Rebecca Cottrell in federation legal division.
Local managing director Andrew Barclay is also a partner, and the Star-Times understands other local partners include executive director David Goatley and Bernard Doyle, a New Zealand-based strategist.
Barclay, Cottrell and Rutherford are also listed as directors of the New Zealand business.
The exact shareholdings of each partner is not known and Goldman Sachs was not prepared to comment.
In my paper, Conflicted Gatekeepers: The Volcker Rule and Goldman Sachs, I consider the conflict of interest restrictions in the Volcker Rule provisions. These provisions, namely Sections 619 and 621 of the Dodd-Frank Act, purport to impose fiduciary-like standards on banks in their arm’s length relationships with sophisticated counterparties. Section 619 generally prohibits banks from engaging in proprietary trading and affiliating with certain private funds; it permits some activities as exceptions to this general prohibition, but subjects such activities to the requirement that they not give rise to material conflicts of interest, including conflicts between banks and their “counterparties.” Section 621 purports to ban material conflicts of interest between banks (in their capacity as underwriters) and investors in offerings of asset-backed securities.
The Supreme Court of Canada has abandoned Ontario’s farm workers and the charter of rights has failed them, UFCW Canada national president Wayne Hanley said Friday after the union lost a 16-year court battle to allow agricultural workers to unionize.
One thing that hasn’t changed — things that I’ve always read on my computer — are GNU manuals. GNU manuals are written in an ingenious format called TeXinfo which enables the author to produce appropriate output for several different ways of reading: PDF, HTML and the online info format, most easily read in Emacs. If you’re running GNU/Linux, you will find tons of manuals in this format by typing “info” into a terminal. Within Emacs, type “F1 h” (that’s press and release F1, then press and release ‘h’). Either way you should get a menu of topics, each covered by its own info manual.
This week I published multiple posts Wikileaks cables revelations on the U.S. lobbying pressure on Canadian copyright including attempts to embarrass Canada, joint efforts with lobby groups such as CRIA, and secret information disclosures from PCO to U.S. embassy personnel (posts here, here, here, here, here, and here). Wikileaks has also just posted hundreds of cables from U.S. personnel in New Zealand that reveal much the same story including regular government lobbying, offers to draft New Zealand three-strikes and you’re out legislation, and a recommendation to spend over NZ$500,000 to fund a recording industry-backed IP enforcement initiative. Interestingly, the cables regularly recommend against including New Zealand on the Special 301 list, despite the similarities to Canadian copyright law that always garner vocal criticism.
Michael Geist sez, “Wikileaks has just posted hundreds of cables from U.S. personnel in New Zealand that reveal regular government lobbying on copyright, offers to draft New Zealand three-strikes and you’re out legislation, and a recommendation to spend over NZ$500,000 to fund a recording industry-backed IP enforcement initiative. For example, an April 2005 cable reveals the U.S. willingness to pay over NZ$500,000 (US$386,000) to fund a recording industry enforcement initiative. The project was backed by the Recording Industry Association of New Zealand (RIANZ) and the Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS). Performance metrics include:”
In January 2011, prominent European academics issued an “Opinion of European Academics on Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” (ACTA). The academics invite the European institutions, in particular the European Parliament, and the national legislators and governments to withhold consent of ACTA, “…as long as significant deviations from the EU acquis or serious concerns on fundamental rights, data protection, and a fair balance of interests are not properly addressed”.
In April 2011, the European Commission’s services put on-line comments to the European Academics’ Opinion on ACTA. The Commission denies ACTA is incompatible with EU law.
Summary: A gentle reminder that Novell is another case of proprietary software companies dying, not anything else (despite attempted revisionism)
Novell does not deserve to be remembered as a Free software, open source software, or even mixed-source software company. As we have shown over the past year or two, almost everything that Novell is pushing these days (when not spreading Microsoft’s APIs with Mono and Moonlight) is proprietary software. Let’s just look at the latest Novell-related posts, videos, and headlines. There probably won’t be many of them anymore, for obvious reasons.
There are some recent videos promoting a Novell “Success Story” and such PR fluff [1, 2]. Now much about FOSS there, eh? How about [1, 2]? Nothing.
The only other new videos that we found are about Novell’s proprietary software [1, 2, 3], GroupWise for example [1, 2]. This one reminds us of Novell’s proprietary past and another about Novell’s proprietary partners, which help it sell proprietary software like this one (or vice versa).
The point of this post is, when reporters claim that Novell’s death is a failure of an open source company they should be reminded that Novell was never an open source company at all. That was just marketing. Novell is just another case of a proprietary software company imploding. Buying S.u.S.E. was too little, too late. █
Here are some official documents with “Hovsepian Ronald W” and “Russell Dana C” on them. The deal is done and it is irreversible. There are those in Novell who think that everything will be fine, but AttachMSFT’s boss only mentions parts of Novell’s offerings, not all of them. He says there is little overlap and we believe that just like Oracle cut Sun into slices, AttachMSFT will abandon some of Novell’s portfolio (along with staff, naturally). As we have shown repeatedly, there is no apparent commitment to OpenSUSE, just to “SUSE”. And what is OpenSUSE really? It’s a package manager like YaST2, an installer, and few other bits that cannot be found in other distributions of GNU/Linux. But really, there is hardly a distinguisher in OpenSUSE and not even profit. Novell did try to buy itself an “open” image, whereas AttachMSFT has none of these aspirations and it has not expressed interest in acquiring such a reputation. Based on some newly-published download numbers, the OpenSUSE 11.3 release had just over 50,000 downloads in the first day (after the release). The numbers were better for the 11.4 release, but probably not enough to compel or rationalise a massive commitment to OpenSUSE (it was different before the Microsoft deal, back when Novell still advertised “Linux”, as shown in this newly-uploaded video). Here are some bits of YaST news from the OpenSUSE Web site (it mostly has summaries like this one, not many original stories anymore): “With the release of GNOME3 I would assume that people are interested in seeing how YaST2 (suggestion: rename it to YaST3 !!) is going to take form with GTK3. Of course this means eventually writing another application in GTK3, hopefully different from the old gnome-control-panel ‘style’ which was actually pretty confusion from the user point of view as it was far too close to gnome-control-center, thus confusing new comers.”
It is our long held belief that AttachMSFT will not stay committed to OpenSUSE and in order for YaST to survive, OpenSUSE might need to be forked. The bylaws situation is not acceptable as the legalese experts explained some months back [1, 2]. Surely enough, Novell staff does not want to listen to them. The OpenSUSE community manager berates Groklaw (the messenger) rather than listen to the message. There is a sense of denial there. According to any new blog post, article and analysis we can find these days, AttachMSFT is focused on SUSE, not OpenSUSE. To quote one:
I’m currently researching and writing about the changing Linux and operating system landscape, which is being impacted by cloud computing, additional competitors and devops, as well as the ongoing impact of unpaid, community Linux distributions such as CentOS and Ubuntu.
Another one of the changes underway is what’s happening with SUSE Linux, largely considered the second-leading enterprise distribution behind Red Hat Enterprise Linux, which has undergone some uncertainty thanks to the Attachmate deal to purchase the distribution and separate it from Novell.
Novell too only really cared about paying customers of SUSE and high-priced mainframes [1, 2]. The press releases from Novell refer to it accordingly [1, 2, 3, 4], hardly even mentioning the “L” word. Needless to say, SUSE is a Microsoft cash cow. Microsoft gets paid when one chooses SLE*. So why would anyone choose it? According to this new article, “Opsview, has been tweaked with a 3.12 release. With the update, the Opsview monitoring server can now run on Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11.” Why would anyone choose to pay Microsoft to run Free software like Nagios? Novell keeps trying to offer proprietary bolt-ons as a way to sell SLE*, e.g. PlateSpin which it keeps promoting online, still [1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Red Hat, unlike Novel, offers Free software for such jobs.
Novell also announced that immediately prior to the completion of its merger with Attachmate Corporation, it had completed its previously announced sale of certain identified issued patents and patent applications to CPTN Holdings LLC for $450 million in cash.
“Microsoft will not be able to keep patents it proposed to buy from Novell under an agreement with the US Department of Justice,” says this report about news which we covered before. It is further validated here although articles speak of mere limitation, not prohibition of the sale [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. Some of the reported are mutually contradictory, but the gist of it is that Novell still spreads its patents to Linux foes [1, 2], and that is a real shame. Novell does not deserve business. █
“The Norwegian [OOXML] affair was a scandal and we are still pursuing it. We haven’t given up hope of changing the vote back to No, and we hope people who experienced similar travesties in other countries will do the same.”
–Steve Pepper (just days ago)
Summary: The OOXML scandals return to the press, reminding people that corruption is still at the heart of Microsoft Corporation
A senior member of a leading British tech standards body has launched an excoriating attack on Cabinet Office efforts to implement the central plank of its ICT Strategy.
The outburst has opened a crack into the secretive world of formal tech standards, suggesting it may be convulsed in a fit of pique not seen since Microsoft got its derided OOXML document format passed by standards bodies around the world in 2008.
Alex Brown, British Standards Institute committee member infamous for overseeing OOXML’s approval, said in his personal blog how he had become exasperated with government efforts to bring ICT standards in line with its policy of easy interoperability of public computer systems.
The failure and, it was alleged at the time, susceptibility of that process to corruption may have been demonstrated by the OOXML affair.
The alleged corruption was never confirmed, to this correspondent’s knowledge. But it has for more substantial reasons left the process with a stigmata that goes right to the heart of government policy.
The culture of transparency that has swept along in the wake of Sir Tim Berners Lee’s open data initiative has in addition made the BSI look anachronistic.
SUSE has failed to spread further since the Microsoft patent deal, so Novell uses other platforms as “hosts” by which to spread the disease. In Ubuntu, for example, there is a new Mono Trojan horde called Banshee (a Novell project), but according to this one blogger, removing Mono from Ubuntu 11.04 is maybe “intentionally easy”. The blogger writes:
There are many people who are unhappy with Canonical Ltd’s inclusion of Mono in Ubuntu and furthermore there are many who avoid using/promoting Ubuntu as a result.
Thankfully Ubuntu is not heavily dependent on Mono and removing it is easy, particularly in 11.04.
Compare that to the ravings of OMG Ubuntu, whose Mono contributors (they have tactlessly appointed Mono people to work among the authors) are launching off-topic personal attacks on yours truly this week. Here is more Banshee promotion from that site:
The new Banshee development cycle has official begun and within comes a number of big changes. Before you read any further, if you are currently using the Banshee Daily PPA now is probably a good time to disable it. With that said, let’s look at what is already in the tree now and which will be in the first development release 2.1.0 (currently listed on the Banshee calendar as landing on the 11th of May).
If there were ever a week where anyone could see just how remarkable stupid patent infringement litigation had become, this would certainly be it.
First, there was the $5 million jury decision against Google in the patent infringement case filed by Bedrock Computer Technologies, LLC.
The suit alleges that a patent that Bedrock owns, US 5,893,120, is infringed by Google and the other defendants in the suit (Yahoo! Inc., MySpace Inc., Amazon.com Inc., PayPal Inc., Match.com, Inc., AOL LLC, CME Group Inc, Softlayer Technologies, Inc., and CitiWare Technology Solutions, LLC) because such a method is employed by the Linux operating system and as major users of Linux, the defendants are liable for damages.
Check those dates, Barnes & Noble! No. I will do it for you. The patents that Microsoft hilariously claims are being infringed by Android were issued in the following years: 1998, 2002, 1999, 2005 and 2005 respectively. I am looking at my calendar. OMG. The year 1994 comes before all of them. My, my. That predates all of Paul Allen’s patents too. Check out the video. I see a “Tell Me More” column. And it had a Personal Interest feature. It even had a touchscreen. Say, Google, are you aware of this? If not, here’s a present for you and Android, I hope.
And here’s the interesting part. I just checked Microsoft’s patent No. 5,778,372, and I don’t see this Knight-Ridder tablet listed as prior art. That, of course, is the issue Microsoft has raised in its appeal to the US Supreme Court in the i4i v. Microsoft case, what level of evidence is required to toss overboard a wrongly issued patent that was not considered by the USPTO examiner prior to its issuance. Talk about conflict. If this turns out to be relevant prior art, what will Microsoft want to happen now, I can’t help but wonder?
Katherine Noyes has good coverage which also blames the system, not just the patent or Microsoft. Mike Masnick is meanwhile claiming that Google’s strategy is unfruitful. The headline says “Unintended Consequences Of Google’s $900 Million Nortel Patent Bid: Creating New Patent Trolls”:
A few weeks back, Google got a ton of attention for offering a $900 million bid for a bunch of Nortel patents. Google made it pretty clear that it was seeking these patents largely to keep them out of the hands of someone else who might start suing everyone. However, there may be some unintended consequences. The publicity around Google’s role and the size of the bid (which rumors say has already been surpassed by others) has drawn some renewed interest by some companies in “monetizing” their own patents. Greg Sandoval over at News.com has the story of a company called ReQuest, who claims to hold patents (7,577,757 and 7,136,934) on syncing — and is now sending out letters to companies asking for licensing fees. The letters apparently make it clear that “patent lawyers” are interested in buying up the patents, which is a pretty transparent threat: license up or we’ll sue.
We have already said why Google's strategy is misguided. Instead of legitimising and adding to the so-called ‘value’ of patents, Google should help fund groups like the FFII. It is possible that RIM will get those Nortel patents at the end, and maybe that would be for the better. RIM is a proprietary software company; the patent strategy for a company like Google ought to be antithetical w.r.t. patents. Here is a group of recent videos about WebM and software patents [1, 2, 3, 4]. Basically, the whole idea behind WebM is to dodge patent thickets that typically come with multimedia codecs. Google has done a good job there, so why be hypocritical with a massive patent purchase?
The patent system is broken. Google knows it, everyone else knows it, except the patent lawyers and the monopolists whom they serve. The latter group can just pretend and even convince itself that it is doing the right thing. Watch this latest Federal Appeals Court cock-up:
Among the fastest growing problems within the realm of malignant monopolies is the disturbing frequency of abuse that lawyers now use to try and keep court documents under seal and away from public scrutiny. This results in a monopoly of information that is often abused by corporate powers within the legal system.
It is gratifying to know that the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has sanctioned at least one attorney for abusing that process in the course of a patent infringement lawsuit.
Patents are not for the market anymore, they are for lawyers. To quote Bob Hauck from a few hours ago, “that is not the purpose of patents or copyright. The purpose as defined by the US Constitution is to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts”.
“So patent protection should be offered only to the extent that the gains from offering it oughtweigh the costs of monopoly to society. It is not something inventors are automatically entitled to.”
Google should help achieve some real patent reform; it oughtn’t buy patents. It oughtn’t accept patent traps like MonoDroid [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15], either. █