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05.17.11

Xamarin Analysed

Posted in Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 4:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xamarin site

Summary: A preliminary look at the new home of .NET boosting that’s masqueraded as “open source” (even though it is open core or proprietary)

A MICROSOFT MVP is creating and currently registering a Mono company with a registrar near Microsoft. “Mono’s Not Dead Yet,” claims this headline and we never claimed it was dead. Nobody claimed that. What happened was, the project got orphaned and de-funded. As far as Novell and AttachMSFT were concerned, the team got canned. We patiently waited to see the team’s next move and after a long pause, the ringleader blogged about his plans.

Throughout the day we did some research via IRC and here are some of our findings (full IRC logs will be available for reading tonight). Oiaohm wrote: “just did my first check Xamarin does not have a trademark registration yet. [...] My problem is I don’t know where the USA equ[ivalent] to Australian ABR. Australian business registry [...] [in] Australia we have 3 central registrations to check.”

Later I inquired: “Why won’t the funders be identified?”

Miguel and his workers mostly live in Boston, but travel to Microsoft a lot (at least Miguel does). “Boston is Massachusetts,” replied Oiaohm, “Massachusetts requires anyone who is conducting business under an alias (i.e., any name other than their own), including corporations, to file a business certificate (“doing business as”) in the city or town where the business is principally headquartered. Nice… no searchable index. Washington does have a index.”

XamarinThen I asked, “but must they have registered it by now? And if so, will the site DB have been updated?”

“Project lead of mono makes out that he was trying to break mono away for over a year, so why did a domain/trademark need taking out at the last minute?”
      –Oiaohm
“No list in Washington,” Oiaohm claimed after checking, “and Washington is like Australia, the record is with their tax department. I would guess registered in Massachusetts [...] And failed to take out the require trademark. In theory someone else could take out the trademark and shut them down. Basically what has been done is legally risky and I am not surprised from the lead developer of mono [...] Before annoyance a trading name to the world you really should hold the trademark.”

“Exactly what day was the mono project lead fired,” Oiaohm asked. I told him the date. “So why so many days delay,” he asked, “[t]o holding the domain name.”

It is “probably all those days were spent groveling at Microsoft,” MinceR said jokingly, “that or coming up with another x* name…” (like Ximian).

“I am reading the registrars of the domain record,” claimed Oiaohm. “I know it does not reveal that much information. [...] Project lead of mono makes out that he was trying to break mono away for over a year, so why did a domain/trademark need taking out at the last minute?”

BetterWhois.com doesn’t reveal additional information. The owner is masked, oddly enough. “Also take a close look at the moonlight logo,” Oiaohm suggested. “It is the “same as the new xwhatever logo,” claimed MinceR and Oiaohm too said: “same logo as what is dominate on the new mono site. It was just a observance thing. interesting not there now. No part of the company any more you should not be using the logos. [...] All Novell trademarks and the like are Attachmate’s. This include the name Mono [...] the old project lead of mono is about to be in a legal crap storm.

“They don’t even have there own logo yet either. [...] little bit of observance is showing major problems.”

Indeed, the service that xamarin.com is registered through is a non-existent Whois Agent with a sex site (whoisprivacyprotect.com). The company that carries Mono (rename possibly required) announced its existence just one day after the domain had been registered (registered for just one year, so not much of a future perhaps). It’s all rather odd.

“If you where breaking away you would think names and icons for a split away company would be designed,” added Oiaohm. “Particularly if this was planned 12 months go. To me all the evidence points to a last min attempt to save tails. The angel funding might be the employees own separation pay.”

“[P]robably all those days were spent groveling at Microsoft”
      –MinceR
Miguel has a lot of money as he admitted to people who used to comment in this site. But the Mono developers are still look for more funding and they might actually find it. Microsoft staff suggests that Canonical should sponsor Mono. Well, if Microsoft wants Mono to survive, why does it not fund it directly? Is it like SCO’s lawsuit? Does it want other companies to offer payments that serve Microsoft’s interests? Even Novell was paid hundreds of millions to serve Microsoft’s interests. That was before Novell gave its patents to Microsoft. “Novell MS deal is not transferable,” Oiaohm reminded us. “Neither is the sale agreements of Novell [...] so unless Mono can get MS backing they are basically a complete legal sitting duck now. This is not the Novell sale this is after the sale. Attachmate is starting to make a new home for itself. Also, Attachmate has not shut down the mono project sites. So their could be more hell to come yet. I would not put it past Attachmate to allow mono developers to setup shop by themselves then patent black mail them for free labour.”

Yes, the sites could be shut down (or used for leverage), “But at this stage Attachmate has not [done so],” said Oiaohm. “Why fire the staff and leave the site up [...] Basically something is badly off here.” Attachmate still owns all the mono sites/domains. Will it bother paying the hosting bill? Will it relinquish control? Oracle gives concerning precedence after the Sun takeover.

Looking elsewhere, positive spin on the news was not at all welcomed in Linux Today, leading to comments like: “Mono was a zombie project since its inception. Attachmate put a bullet in them, but, as we all know, zombies are hard to kill. You must take out the brain…” (some comments are a lot more offensive). Susan Linton (who appears to be sitting on the fence regarding the Mono question) writes:

Although his brand took a hit with Mono, there’s little doubt of his contribution to the Open Source world. So, I guess if he was announcing a candy bar company it’d be big news.

Microsoft Florian retweets the Mono news twice, which helps keep those Microsoft APIs in circulation. It’s rather telling, isn’t it?

Speaking of Bellevue (where the new Mono company had the site registered), it is the home of many Microsoft executives and former executives, including the world’s latest patent troll, who is filing lawsuits via other companies. According to Microsoft booster Todd Bishop, this patent troll does not wish to speak about his patents being used to attack small developers:

Bellevue-based Intellectual Ventures, the patent holding company and invention house run by former Microsoft technology chief Nathan Myhrvold, confirmed today that it once owned the patent at the center of a controversy over in-app purchasing in third-party iOS applications.

To be clear, that would be past tense. A spokeswoman for the company tells GeekWire that IV sold the patent and has no ownership interest in Lodsys LLC, the company that sent cease-and-desist letters to a series of iOS developers last week.

We wrote about this case in [1, 2].

Todd Bishop also has this article about Nokia allegedly working to sell Microsoft its Mobile Unit. Murtazin’s claims is translated as saying: “Next week Nokia will start the negotiations about the sale of it’s phone unit to Microsoft. For now the results of the negotiations won’t be public, but the deal might close before the end of 2011. Both companies are in a big hurry.”

Nokia denies this. “So, denial from Nokia but this hasn’t stopped the rumour mill going into overtime,” concludes this article. But that just goes beyond the scope of this post.

IDG Helps Sell the Illusion of Microsoft as ‘Friend’ of Open Source

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 2:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IDG Communications

Summary: More of IDG’s shameless spin explained and the straight dope regarding the CentOS news

IDG, which controls a lot of technology news sites and gets paid by Microsoft through IDC and though advertising, still insists on deceiving using the pattern which can only be excused when they call it a “blog”. And this spin which we wrote about many times before should not be easily excused, as IDG should be more responsible/liable than any other media outlet for doing this. The hiring of writers affects their convictions and biases.

Free/Open Source software proponent are very much able to see the reality-bending, but IDG might be appealing to the village fools and maybe some bosses who do not understand technology. They can in fact be the target audience and find themselves on the receiving end of a reality distortion field.

IDG, IDC and MicrosoftSo, what is the latest example that we speak of? The sites we follow link almost exclusively to IDG regarding stuff like this. It is whitewash from IDG’s Microsoft boosters, designated to the “blog” or “Subnet” area. One booster says: “OSBC 2011 also gives Microsoft another opportunity to declare its love for open source with a keynote on vendor collaboration around cloud computing.”

As we showed some years ago (and got confirmation for that), the person who brought Microsoft to OSBC was Mac Asay, who recently posted an article saying that Google goes proprietary and Microsoft goes “open”. It is truly baffling. He parroted the Microsoft spin that they have been trying to propagate. “Matt Asay Tweets Re Microsoft and CentOS,” writes Groklaw, listing some examples of his recent tweets, e.g

Microsoft just announced at #osbc that CentOS is now a first-class citizen on Windows Server R2 Hyper-V platform.

Microsoft supporting CentOS is a first-class capitalist move. Red Hat’s #1 competition is non-paid Linux, now Microsoft accentuates it.

I think it’s a bold, bold move, and one that threatens Red Hat in a way that Oracle’s own Linux never could.

“Makes me wonder what side Matt is on,” Groklaw remarks. Well, when OSBC becomes a Microsoft showcase, then it has clearly jumped the shark. But it was the same in previous years (they needed the money [1, 2, 3]).

Just in case, let it be clarified that this is not what the IDG spin has suggested. There is no goodwill here, just self interest. Microsoft tries to make PR out of selfish acts, just as it is infiltrating Linux conferences, trying to pretend it gets along (or that Linux proponents are intolerant). But actually, Linux proponents and GNU users can get along just fine with Microsoft. The problem is that Microsoft won’t leave them alone. It is spitting at their work and taxing their Linux gadgets using even blackmail and lawsuits against TomTom, Motorola, and Barnes & Noble.

“The problem is that Microsoft won’t leave them alone. It is spitting at their work and taxing their Linux gadgets using even blackmail and lawsuits against TomTom, Motorola, and Barnes & Noble.”Another one of IDG’s Microsoft boosters, Jon Brodkin, has moved on from just Microsoft advertising to Microsoft whitewashing (which can be even worse because it distorts reality in retrospect). Here is the spin on the news, where patches that only help sell proprietary software from Microsoft are somehow compared to “love”. Very cheeky. And this author goes further than that as he has been pushing it into Linux sites like this one, setting the ground/scene to misunderstanding by the site’s followers.

There is yet more of that fluff which fills aggregators.

The problem is that unlike Windows sites that mock GNU/Linux these days (see the editor’s remark here), IDG pretends to be objective news and sometimes it’s even labelled “open source” when it fact all it does is distort the values of open source and sell us Microsoft as a “Open Source Hero” (as Microsoft sometimes uses as a slogan of sorts [1, 2]). To be fair to Brodkin, the Microsoft booster of The Register did the same, so it does not seem as though IDG is the only culprit.

In summary, while Microsoft is extorting and suing Microsoft hires ‘geishas’ of sorts to give gifts and compliments to reports, whose role then becomes to whitewash Microsoft for more rewards and “access” to staff. It is then them — not their victim — who claim to be “hated” and claim to be victim of “hatred”. It’s amazing reversal and a well-funded PR campaign might actually be able to achieve this.

As we said it before, IDG is like the Fox News of the IT World, assuming proprietary giants are the GOP. Guess where advertising money and analyst contracts typically come from.

OpenSUSE Status: Not Good

Posted in GNU/Linux, OpenSUSE at 2:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Volleyball

Summary: After about 8 years of following SUSE/OpenSUSE news, I struggle to find much or almost anything at all of substance in the project

OpenSUSE recently lost Rex, which is not a good sign. Well, to be fair, Rex was more of a Novell management person. Maybe his departure was not so fatal. But yesterday I did further research about the OpenSUSE project, running through no less than 500 recent blog posts. The signal from them was low, comprising either personal experiences or rants of some kind. The release of version 11.4 of OpenSUSE did not generate much hype compared to previous years and some of the project’s key people are altogether absent. It got even quieter when Novell was sold and SUSE separated. Nevertheless, it is expected that a conference for the project will take place later this year. This event, unlike Brainshare, is likely to happen despite massive layoffs.

“SUSE is just a shadow of its former self; deals with Microsoft tend to do that.”Sascha Manns’s blog has moved (others too) and it does not matter much, except the fact that he has been the main and sometimes only source of OpenSUSE news. Without him, or in case he moves on to other endeavours, the project will lose a lot of momentum. Even polyglots depend on him — those who help inspire others to actually deploy OpenSUSE rather than other distributions.

It is very unfortunate for Novell’s Duncan Mac-Vicar P. that his blog got hosed, with other things going wrong all around the same time. it just isn’t a good time for SUSE and Novell’s ripoff of Red Hat work is all the project seems to be able to rave about. Techrights does not cover OpenSUSE as often as it used to simply because there is hardly anything to cover there. SUSE is just a shadow of its former self; deals with Microsoft tend to do that.

Over the past couple of years we have shown that the project lost some talented people and the group is looking for volunteers, even with public calls for participation. As much as I would hate to acknowledge this, the distribution that I have used for the longest period of time is going down, not up. There are even frequent downtimes reported by the OpenSUSE community this year. GNU/Linux will be fine, but the SUSE flavour of it has fallen behind after it climbed up for a while. A lot changed when Microsoft signed the deal with Novell. To many users, that deal was a deal-breaker. A few days ago we discovered yet another high-profile person who left SUSE as a result of this deal.

Facebook Likes Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft at 2:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

FSF says no facebook

Image from the FSF, which says no to Facebook

Summary: A look at Facebook’s sheer hypocrisy and close ties with Microsoft (which tighten further this week)

FACEBOOK is the latest villain in the village and there is a good reason for it. Facebook’s use of AstroTurfers and loyalty to Microsoft are no recipe for popularity. As we explained some months back, Facebook disrespects people’s privacy like no other company does, and that too is not bound to make it popular. The mining private of data, as we explained before, is not done just by Facebook but also selected allies. As the news reminds us this week, Facebook AstroTurf funding may have well have come from Microsoft. To quote the new report: “The changes to Bing come at a strange time in the history of social searching. Just last week, Facebook got busted planting a story that slammed Google’s social search options as having privacy problems. That move by Facebook seems even odder this week, since if anything, the Microsoft announcement really emphasizes how little Google uses Facebook data. Google does have a “social search” system that includes data from Twitter, YouTube, and other sites—but it doesn’t appear to use Facebook data in any significant way.”

“Puts the Facebook smear campaign against Google into perspective, doesn’t it?”
      –Pamela Jones, Groklaw
Groklaw (Pamela Jones) asked, “do you still believe that it was only Facebook who got the idea to hire the same PR firm that represented Microsoft in a previous anti-Google PR campaign?”

And in relation to another report (about Facebook lobbying against privacy), Groklaw wrote: “Facebook in stealth mode against user privacy, eh? Last we looked in on Facebook’s stealth mode, it was accusing Google of not respecting user privacy. This is hilarious.”

This type of situation is terribly familiar as Microsoft has been doing exactly the same thing for years. It is still shaking the “privacy” stick to daemonise competitors, calling the kettle “black”. The partly Microsoft-owned Facebook shows that it’s like father, like son. Regarding this pair, adds Groklaw: “Puts the Facebook smear campaign against Google into perspective, doesn’t it?”

In the “conversational search” category, Bing is introducing features to let users share results with their Facebook friends and request their input, such as when they are using Bing’s Shopping search engine and want advice on what to buy. When people are using the Bing Travel search engine, they will be able to share a travel wish list and see which friends live in those desired destinations.

Perhaps it is time for people to stop treating Facebook and Microsoft as entirely separate, We have argued in favour of this view for at least a year. People should flee Facebook like many are fleeing Skype these days (not just GNU/Linux users by the way).

Crowdsourcing Links

Posted in Site News at 1:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fireplace

Summary: Request for help with daily “Links”

SEVERAL days ago we started to experiment with a modality of sorts that would enable us to produce more links and better links on a daily/bi-daily basis. Our community has grown recently and it is more eager than ever to share information with peers in the group. We have always accepted many links from readers via E-mail and IRC, but now we also try to merge some bits with commentary, which basically adds something to the links. If you have links you want added with some personal remarks to the daily “Links [DATE]” posts, please come to IRC or mail them directly to roy at schestowitz dot com. Thanks to Twitter for contributing many links recently.

Links 17/5/2011: More GNOME 3 Mockups, Groklaw Interviews

Posted in News Roundup at 8:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop OS revenue and growth outpace servers

    The fastest real growth in operating sales in 2010 came not from Apple, but from Red Hat.

  • 5 Truly Bizarre But Handy Uses of Linux

    Linux is everywhere. From desktops to laptops, from tablets to mobiles, and from servers to garden sprinklers. Wait! Garden what? Yes, that’s right fellas, Linux-powered garden sprinklers do exist. Being a very customizable and open operating system, Linux has found itself being used in places even Linus Torvalds had never expected. Here are five such bizarre uses of the world’s most trusted operating system.

  • Boot Linux In Your Browser
  • Open-source software, Linux to save Santos $2.5m

    AUSTRALIAN oil and gas exploration company Santos has switched on a critical IT upgrade set to save more than $2.5 million by using open-source software and Linux-based systems.

    A consolidation of hardware and software will see the company reduce its power consumption by 300,000KW hours a year.

  • Desktop

    • My new Ubuntu-flavoured ThinkPad is computing heaven

      This week, I finally got my new Lenovo ThinkPad X220, the latest and skinniest in the Lenovo X-series of fast, skinny, rugged, all-black, no-nonsense machines. This – my third X-series ThinkPad – is shaping up to be everything I expected from the line and more: it is slim, 2.5cm (1in), configured with its smallest battery and very light – 1.5kg (3lbs 4oz) or so; size up to the biggest battery and you get eight or nine hours of work at a mere 1.8kg; snap on the “Slice” battery, which snugly fits underneath the machine, fattening it up to 4cm, and the weight goes to 2.5 kg – but the Slice delivers about 24 hours of continuous operation without plugging in.

      I haven’t yet taken the machine on the road, but 24 hours’ worth of battery means that I’ll be able to leave my mains adapter at home for the next all-day conference or travel day, which saves weight overall. It’s got a 64-bit, 2.7GHz Sandy Bridge processor, 8GB of RAM, and I’m about to slap in a 600GB Intel solid-state drive that’ll increase its speed and battery life even more.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • LMDE – the Xfce variety

      LMDE stands for Linux Mint Debian Edition. Xfce, at one time, stood for the XForms Common Environment because the early editions of Xfce used XForms to create a common desktop environment.

      The Xfce project originally began around the same time as another desktop environment project, KDE, around 1996. Xfce, in its early implementation, was similar to CDE, the Common Desktop Environment that was prevalent on UNIX workstations in the mid to late nineties. CDE was pretty ugly, and so were the early implementations of Xfce, but arguably Xfce worked better than CDE ever did, and Xfce became portable to a lot more systems.

    • GTK/GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Reviews: First impressions of Slackware Linux 13.37

      It has been often said that if a person wants to learn about Red Hat they should install Red Hat, but if one wants to learn Linux they should install Slackware. I think there’s some truth to that, partly because Slackware largely avoids distro-specific tools and configurations, but also because it forces the users to educate themselves. One certainly can learn the nuts and bolts of Linux through Ubuntu, Fedora or openSUSE, but where those distributions provide a lot of hand holding, Slackware patiently sits to the side with its arms folded. As a teaching aid Slackware is hard to beat as it’s stable, has a clean implementation and encourages user involvement while offering sane defaults. Slackware will also be appealing to people who want their computer to do what they tell it to, no more, no less. I wouldn’t recommend it to users who aren’t interested in what’s going on “under the hood”; it’s a distro for expert users or for people who wish to become expert users. Whether you like Slackware will depend a lot on what you’re looking for in an operating system, but I’m happy to report 13.37 continues the project’s tradition of stable, clean computing.

    • Puppy Linux: Top Dog of the Lightweight Distros

      How can you run a full range of current applications on older computers, netbooks, thin clients, and mobile devices? One way is to install a lightweight Linux like Puppy, Lubuntu, or Vector Light. Select the distro with the apps that meets your needs while matching your computer’s resources.

      Puppy is worthy of your attention because it’s pushed its way into Distrowatch’s top ten most popular operating systems by merit alone. It doesn’t have a corporate sponsor or advertising budget. This article describes Puppy. Screenshots follow the article.

    • Slackware: Remember your roots

      Jack Wallen revisits a Linux distribution he hadn’t touched in years, only to find himself pleasantly surprised. Do you have what it takes to install and administer a Slackware Linux distribution and get back in touch with your roots?

    • 9 Slackware Based Live Distributions
    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia abroad

        We showed the name “Mageia”. The visitors who came by were informed by our people at the booth and the text of a large poster. Questions were not so much about the technical side but rather in the area of who we are, what we are and (and not least) why we are. This was an initial introduction to the Germans and it was received nicely by those who asked. Something the German Mageia community can build upon during the time and the events to come.

        [...]

        A visitor came to our partner (MandrivaUser.de) with whom we shared the booth. He was presented with the current Beta of Mandriva 2011 and then he asked our helpers about their opinion about the new menu style. They expressed their rather negative opinion, then the visitor presented his business card – he was a representative of RosaLabs, the company who invented this new menu style! :)

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Does Net Mean Inter? Or Not?

          Any differences between Fedora 13 and Fedora 14? To be honest, I have not noticed much from my nodding acquittance.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal – Reactions from Users

            Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal is probably *the* most controversial Ubuntu release to date. Tech Drive-in reviewed Ubuntu 11.04 few weeks ago and we felt that, even after accounting its share of bugs and rough edges, Natty Narwhal is not as bad a release as you think it is. But one thing is sure, a lot of genuine hard core Ubuntu users absolutely hate the latest Ubuntu release. Here are some of the responses we received from our readers through our feedback forms and comments on brand new Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal.

          • Why Unity made me fall out of love with Ubuntu

            I’m falling out of love with Ubuntu, which is strange because it’s as good as it’s ever been. And no, this isn’t one of those blogs. I’m not going to proclaim that it’s now too mainstream, or soulless or any other such tosh. It’s not. In fact, it’s very brilliant in many of the ways that matter, just not the one that matters to me. It’s simply not the Ubuntu I’d hoped it would become.

          • Why I’m a bit disappointed with Canonical (One week later)

            So, I’ve had a couple of days to think about what I’ve said, talk it over with some folks and really work through some of the practical issues with maintaining a high standard in the community.

          • Plans for Oneiric: Playing with Brains

            While I was at LGM I got into an interesting discussion about communities and how much they are like biological organisms. When the organism is doing well and all the parts are working on their own little jobs, the rest of the organism doesn’t have to pay much attention. But if something goes wrong then all sorts of attention is paid to the damage/infection.

          • 6 Important Changes in Next Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot

            It’s time for another important Ubuntu release cycle. The upcoming Ubuntu 11.10 codenamed Oneiric Ocelot won’t be bombarded with the kind of sweeping changes that its predecessor had to deal with. But in terms of the importance, Oneiric Ocelot might be an even bigger release. A quick peek into the important changes for upcoming Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.

          • The Case Of LibreOffice And CD Space Restriction At UDS-O
          • Explaining UDS Sponsorship

            At UDS last week I took an action to write up a quick blog post that explains how UDS sponsorship works. This discussion was born out of the view that some people feel a little bent out of shape when they don’t get approved for UDS sponsorship. This is a common reaction at every UDS, but it really shouldn’t be. Firstly, UDS sponsorship is not an entitlement…there is no rule that says “if you are a great Ubuntu contributor then you get sponsored to UDS“, and likewise there is no rule that says “if you are a bad Ubuntu contributor (if such a thing exists) then you don’t get sponsored to UDS“.

          • Ubuntu Developer Summit Oneiric Roundup

            This year’s Ubuntu Developer Summit was held at Budapest in Hungary. There were a lot of interesting developments regarding Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot” which is scheduled for release in October 2011. In this article, we list the most important news from the Ubuntu Developer Summit Oneiric.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Pinguy OS 11.04 Is Based on Ubuntu 11.04, Without Unity
            • The Perfect Desktop – Kubuntu 11.04
            • elementary OS 0.1 Jupiter – Unremarkable

              elementary OS has exactly the same problem like most Ubuntu forks. It aims for unique and special, without taking in regard the more important facets of usability and simplicity. You can be unique in any number of ways, but the computer usage is limited to humans staring at their screen, so you best make the smoothest and most pleasant experience of that.

              Then, minimalism really hampers the overall use. Taking away from a distro that is already fairly optimized for general use creates huge problems in the long run, which cannot be offset by any number of tweaks or even applications. People have their basic, universal needs; icons, colors, wallpapers are secondary. The tradeoff is just not right. And lastly, people do not want to spend time administering their boxes.

            • Bodhi Linux Desktop of the Week Contest

              Many computer users enjoy customizing their desktop to perfection. Personally I have spent hours playing with different icon sets, GTK themes, Enlightenment themes and E17 gadgets. Something most people like to do almost as much as tweaking their desktop is sharing those sexy screen shots with the world!

              Enlightenment is so customizable we like to encourage this tweaking and sharing among Bodhi users. Seeing what other people have done with their desktop often gives new users ideas for their own. With this in mind, we have started running the Bodhi Linux “Desktop of the Week” contest. Each week in the news section of the Bodhi forums there is a thread started to let users vote on their favorite of five different desktops (new voting starts on Tuesdays).

            • How I found Enlightenment

              If you know anything about my past — no, that’s not me on the Post Office walls across the country . . . honest — you’ll know that I was a resident at the San Francisco Zen Center in the early to mid ’90s where, among other things, I was trying to find enlightenment.

              So I’m familiar with the Bodhi tree and with Bodhidharma. Good thing, too, because when trying Bodhi Linux, those leaves from the tree swirling around the screen could be a little disconcerting.

            • Quelitu Linux

              This is based on Lubuntu — Ubuntu with the LXDE desktop environment — so that it can be used on older computers.

            • Ubuntu Studio, Unity and XFCE4

              This seems a reasonable approach to me. XFCE4 has a lot of differences from GNOME but it is pretty simple. It also has the benefits of being well-supported and mature. This is a more sure option than hoping for a fork of GNOME 2.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Now, a technology-laden Robot that does all the household work

      She has her own Linux-based operating system called Luna OS. So anybody, especially the throng of app developers for tablets and smartphones, can easily write an app for her.

    • SmartBoards and GNU/Linux

      I prefer just using a projector with Gromit (permits writing in several colours and erasing using mouse) so this technology would be a change for me. Perhaps I don’t need the “extras”.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android notes

          It was bad idea to change the hostname. sl4a mysteriously stopped working. sl4a is now single most important application on my android, because I use it to launch … shells into debian chroot. So now I’m stuck looking at “localhost”.

        • Vodaphone Loves Android

          Vodaphone is a huge global mobile ISP. They are first or second ranked in market share in revenue or units sold. … Vodaphone has 130 million subscribers in India alone and 341 million globally. … They are going to have a house-brand smartphone running Android/Linux. For 90Euros it will sell well. … That means a huge increase in usage for Android/Linux over the next couple of years

        • Android and Ubuntu –Everything

          What u need?
          1.Android emulator for Linux from their site
          2.Eclipse with java for Linux which is free
          3.U should have jdk(java dev kit) installed in your computer
          and some space for your workspace…..
          Emulator is used in order to emulate the actual android phone. It helps in running programs before we run it in actual phone. In here I only asaid about the emulator. I included the picture so always look at the screen shots…

        • Blake Krikorian’s Next Act Is Live: $99 Home Automation App For Android

          Since he left EchoStar (NSDQ: SATS), Slingbox inventor Blake Krikorian has been working on a home automation app, meshing his experiments with renovations on his own Bay Area home. After seven months in full beta, the first public result is live now in the Android Market. The $99 R2 Control for Crestron—yes, you read that right—literally turns most Android smartphones and tables in a fully-functional touch panel for the automation systems company. With it, residential and commercial users can manage nearly every Crestron system on the scene or remotely.

          During a stay at Krikorian’s home late last year, I had a chance to use the Android app in progress and to watch him manage entertainment, lighting, security systems and more inside and out from smartphones and tablets. It wasn’t exactly as mind boggling as the first time I saw a Slingbox at work—home automation isn’t new and neither are home automation or building control apps—but the potential for a program that was usable, powerful and flexible was intriguing. Crestron already supports versions for iOS, MacOS and Windows; this is the first for Android.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Interview: PJ on the beginning, ending, and future of Groklaw

    I’ll still be working on it, just not doing articles. I want to finish the Comes v. Microsoft exhibit collection and fix some other loose strings, so the work stands the test of time and is truly useful to historians and lawyers.

    I can’t do that and write articles every day. And I have a number of personal and other work projects that I shoved to the back burner in order to do Groklaw, and now that the emergency for Linux is handled, it’s time to prioritize in a more normal way. We won, the emergency is over, and I get to relax a bit now.

    So that is part of it. But the most important consideration was this: I was born to write Groklaw, about SCO and the Linux kernel and copyright litigation. But the battlefield now has shifted to mobiles and patents. I thought seriously about that, and I recognized that I am not the right person to take the lead on that. I always hated patent law, and nothing I’ve seen in the last 8 years has altered my feelings. I hate software patents with a passion, I think they are destroying innovation in the US, and that they particularly threaten FOSS, the open development model being opposed to patents. I think software and patents need to get a divorce.

    I consider that a serious enough matter that I thought modesty needed to inform me to stop, that others could fill the role and would if I did. Then when I announced I would stop, I was flooded with requests to find someone to continue, and I realized the community was right. It was irresponsible if I didn’t try to maintain the community, their skills, in one place. And happily, we found someone. I think Groklaw will end up more important than it’s been, actually, because Mark Webbink is lawyer, a FOSS lawyer, and a law professor. With him taking the lead, and his law students –and we hope eventually others at other law schools–joining the community, it can grow in the direction that is needed now. They can explain the law, and the community at Groklaw can help them understand the tech. It’s what Groklaw is for, what I dreamed it should be–a place where the two communities can teach each other, so they can together hopefully help judges to understand the tech so they can reach better decisions, ones based on technical realities. So this is organic, part of what Groklaw is supposed to be, just the next step.

    Part of Groklaw’s success was realizing that we could contribute just as we are, without trying to be more than we were. But that means also remaining modest and aware of what we were not qualified to do. I always said the only legal advice I ever give is, Ask your lawyer. Well, now Groklaw is going to follow that advice and get a lawyer. It’s a natural progression. And it’s the right time, given Microsoft’s rather obvious strategy of using patents against GNU/Linux.

  • Groklaw – “The blog that made a difference”

    Groklaw began life in 2003 as the personal blog of Pamela Jones, better known as PJ. “At the start, I was just trying to learn how to use blogging software,” she has said. “I was startled to learn anyone was reading what I wrote… I started covering the McDonald’s ‘I’m fat and it’s your fault’ litigation and Martha Stewart and just whatever was in the news, just to have something to write about as I learned how blogging worked.”

    The emergence of Groklaw coincided with The SCO Group’s decision to take legal action against IBM and the Linux community. PJ’s first article on the case, “SCO Falls Downstairs, Hitting its Head on Every Step”, appeared in May 2003.

  • Survey: 56% expect that more than half of all software spend over next 5 years will be open source

    More than half of all software purchases made over the next five years will be open source, according to half of all respondents in a significant survey released today.

    Although 95 percent of the same survey’s 450 respondents believe that the “turbulent “ economy is good for open source software, avoiding vendor lock-in has supplanted lowered software cost as the chief reason for open source adoption.

    These findings, included in the fifth annual Future of Open Source survey, conducted by North Bridge Venture Partners (NBVP) and 451Group, were made public today at the Open Source Business Conference. The venture capital firm invests in many open source firms including Acquia, which is highlighted in the report and at the conference.

    The overall finding: open source has gone mainstream and is in high growth mode.

    Lower software costs are still important (No. 2 on the list) but customers increasingly value open source because it protects them from traditional vendor lock-in (Oracle, for example) as well as emerging proprietary cloud providers such as Amazon, Google and Microsoft Azure.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 races further ahead of IE9

        Mozilla may still be weeks away from automatically upgrading users of its aging Firefox 3.5 browser, but even without the benefit of those additional users its latest browser version continues to blast past Microsoft’s competing Internet Explorer 9 in usage.

        In fact, early this month Firefox 4′s usage began to show a sharp increase while IE9 continued on a much more gradual climb, Mozilla’s Asa Dotzler pointed out on Sunday.

      • Firefox 6 Gets URL Bar Upgrade

        The most recent Nightlies of Firefox 6 are first out of the gate with an update for the UI.

      • Mozilla Plans End to Firefox 3.5 With Firefox 5 Beta on Horizon

        Mozilla is sticking to its new fast-track development cycle, with plans to release a beta version of Firefox 5 on Tuesday, May 17.

        Meanwhile, the company is also working on phasing out Firefox 3.5.

        Firefox 5 is currently in Mozilla’s Aurora channel, but will move to beta tomorrow. Aurora is a recently created channel that now comes between nightly builds and beta in order to “deliver features to users at various levels of quality and polish,” Mozilla said last month.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice clarifies version numbering

      The LibreOffice developers at the Document Foundation have, for the last time, published an announcement on their main mailing list of a new beta version of LibreOffice. In future, beta releases and release candidates will only be announced on developer mailing lists and the announcements mailing list will only carry news of final and stable versions.

  • Licensing

    • What is the Top Open Source License?

      Open source software is defined by the open source licenses under which applications and code are made available. Have you ever wondered what the most popular open source licenses in use today are?

      A new study from enterprise open source service provider OpenLogic, released today at the Open Source Business Conference (OSBC) reveals that the answer to what is the top open source license depends on how the question is asked.

      When looked at from the perspective of total projects and the code under which they are licensed, 68.9 percent of open source software packages use the GPL. The Apache software license comes in second at 7.6 percent.

      Adjusting the question to look at the top open source projects by download and what licenses they use, present a different view of the data. According to OpenLogic, measured by downloads the top open source license is the Apache License at 32.7 percent. The LGPL came in second at 21.0 percent and GPL is third at 14.4 percent.

    • Is the Affero GPL unfriendly to hobbyists?

      A few days ago I wrote about GNU MediaGoblin, a project that looks to provide a federated media sharing solution so users can take control of their media and still share with friends. But the licensing for GNU MediaGoblin, the Affero GPLv3 (AGPLv3) seemed to irk a few commenters? Is the AGPL’s “one additional feature” too much for hobbyists?

      The difference between the AGPL and traditional GPL is simple: The AGPL seeks to close a “loophole” that allows a company or organization to modify GPL’ed software and use it to provide a service — but without actually distributing changes. So a company can take a package like, say, WordPress and modify the software significantly to sell a service — but hold back changes because it’s not technically “distributing” or “propagating” the software. The AGPL goes a bit further and says that if the program is “intended to interact with users through a computer network” and if the version that you received gives users “the opportunity to request transmission to that user of the Program’s complete source code,” you have to maintain that functionality and distribute the modified version.

Leftovers

Clip of the Day

Nexuiz, I still play it.


Credit: TinyOgg

Video: Microsoft, Which Sues Linux, Infiltrates Another Linux Conference and Gets Heckled

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft heckled

“I’ve killed at least two Mac conferences. [...] by injecting Microsoft content into the conference, the conference got shut down. The guy who ran it said, why am I doing this?”

Microsoft's chief evangelist

Summary: GCU SQUAD uses humour to expose Microsoft’s sheer nerve coming into Linux events to advertise itself

Earlier this month we wrote about LinuxTag being infiltrated by Microsoft again [1, 2, 3]. Some activists have decided to use a stunt (as usual) to expose the real face of Microsoft and have it captured in video. It is footage from Solutions Linux, where GCU SQUAD invaded the Microsoft booth just like last year. Here is another angle of this stunt in a low-quality video.

Here is the video from last year’s stunt (we could not find a high-quality embedded video of the latest stunt):


Parade GCU Squad @ Solution Linux 2010
Uploaded by Arth3mus. – Technology reviews and science news videos.

Here are some pictures from this year’s stunt.

Microsoft patent abuse

Microsoft abuses

Microsoft is Bad for the Economy

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 4:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“There is such an overvaluation of technology stocks that it is absurd. I would include our stock in that category. It is bad for the long-term worth of the economy.”

Steve Ballmer

Summary: Fat cat Microsoft taxes the economy for the enrichment of very few billionaires but pays no tax of its own

MICROSOFT has already led to the layoffs of many people, destruction of many companies, centralisation of power and wealth, and lack of opportunity in the market. In essence, Microsoft is a destructor, not a creator. One of the latest victims is Nokia and now that Skype is sold. Microsoft’s acquisition is structured to avoid US taxes (because of course, Microsoft does not pay tax). All that Microsoft is doing is collecting tax from each computer sold, even if the buyer gets it just to install GNU/Linux or BSD. But Microsoft’s greed is reaching risky new levels which may repel business customers. “Looks like big changes is coming in Microsoft,” writes to us one reader. “Good news!”

The reader links to this article from Microsoft booster Paul DeGroot [1, 2, 3], who writes about “Seven deadly sins” in “Microsoft software licensing” (that’s his headline). The opening paragraph goes like this:

Ten years ago this month, Microsoft introduced the most controversial licensing program in its history: an upgrade rights and maintenance add-on called Software Assurance (SA). The experience was so traumatic that Microsoft has undertaken no comparable licensing initiatives since then. After five major revisions to volume licensing in the decade before 2001, Microsoft has been stuck at Licensing 6.0. That’s too bad. The industry is different, Microsoft is different, and it’s long past time for a new look at Software Assurance.

Amid debt, Microsoft is already trying to find new types of tax it can collect and software patents seem to be the company’s key strategy at the moment. It’s essentially on a Microsoft tax on everything people buy, whether it’s from Microsoft or not. And some people still insist that Microsoft is good for the economy…

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