Links 13/7/2011: KDE 4.7 RC2, Pardus Linux 2011.1 Out With KDE SC 4.6.5

Posted in News Roundup at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • FOSS advocate who’s free, frank and fearless

    Journalist, FOSS advocate, feminist – Carla Schroder is all these and more. But more than anything it is her straight talking that marks her out – when she takes a stand on issues she is driven by conviction.

  • Lots of Support for One Percent!

    Why do you think so many offer support for a platform that is supposed to be so under used?

  • BootMed Teaches You How to Save Ailing PCs

    I’m sure the idea of using Linux to help teach Windows users how to recover their files has invoked a few chuckles amongst the Linux community as well as grimaces from Microsoft, though it’s nothing radically new: I use Slax and Parted Magic all the time to recover data from Windows PCs. BootMed is not dead-simple–you must at least understand the concepts involved and be fairly proficient at navigating a file system–but it’s a boon for less experienced users that want to learn the basic processes of recovery and of course, recover things.

  • Desktop

    • Slow?

      This is because Linux is immune to Windows viruses and spyware. Linux doesn’t require all that extra antivirus software. These Windows anti-virus programs run constantly in the background and eat up valuable processing resources.

      Plus, with Linux, you can choose from a number of desktop environments to run. These can be feature rich (Like KDE and Gnome) or streamlined and light weight (Like LXDE or XFCE).

    • Schneier on USB sticks

      I can plug an unknown USB stick into my computer, because all my Linux computer will do is open a File Manager window to show me what’s on the USB stick. There is no “autorun” function — one of the stupider ideas to come from the Microsoft brain-trust. If I want to run a program from a USB stick, I have to specifically request it.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • I finally found you Xfce and I am not going to let you go!

      When I first installed Fedora 15 to try GNOME3 was fascinated by it’s look and differences from the older versions, I still like it but after a couple weeks using it started to work very slow and crashed many times, now finally decided to move to Xfce but not removing GNOME 3 because maybe one day I will come back but not until I upgrade my computer. Applications start very fast, don’t crash, it’s simpler and reminds me the ClearLooks of Gnome 2.6 from F13 and F14.

    • The idea behind Contour
    • Creating the Perfect Fluxbox Desktop on Linux

      Fluxbox is a fast, lightweight, very customizable window manager for X. Fluxbox is a great choice for Linux users who favor speed and efficiency, and setting up their working environment just the way they like. Today we’ll look at some super-saver speed tricks such as grouping applications with tabs, tear-off menus, sticky buttons, the infamous slit, and more.

    • Choosing the Best Linux Desktop: KDE, Unity, GNOME

      The perfect desktop would be the one you design yourself. Failing that, which of the main Linux desktops is right for you?

      A few months ago, this question came to a choice between GNOME and KDE. Now, with the introduction of GNOME 3 and Ubuntu’s Unity, the question has become more complex.

      Should you accept the latest innovation, or go with a desktop that proves itself? A simple desktop, or a complex one with all sorts of customization? One that doesn’t change, regardless of whether you are using a mobile device or a workstation, or one that changes to fit the limitations or advantages of each computing device?

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE SC 4.7 approaches with RC2 release

        The KDE.org developers have issued a second release candidate (RC2) of version 4.7 of the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC). The development team is now focused on finding and addressing any last-minute “show stopper” (major) bugs, as well as completing translations and documentation. Users are asked to test the release and report any bugs that they find. The final release of KDE SC 4.7.0 is scheduled for 27 July 2011.

      • KDE Software Compilation 4.7 RC2 Released

        The KDE team has announced on July 11th the second Release Candidate version for the upcoming KDE Software Compilation 4.7 environment.

        The KDE developers proudly announced that last evening, July 11th, the KDE Software Compilation 4.7 RC2 (Release Candidate), a version that is focusing on fixing last-minute bugs and finishing the required documentation and translations.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3: Bearable with GNOME Shell Frippery

        A while ago I read about this project, a small collection of scripts with the aim at creating a more GNOME 2 like user experience with the name of GNOME Shell frippery, so I had to try it out on my experimental install and took a few more screenshots to illustrate the effect. I’m also suspecting that many users are still unaware of it.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • SMS version 1.6.1 Released!

        Superb Mini Server version 1.6.1 released (Linux kernel

        This minor release upgrade brings the latest stable linux kernel version
        SMS-1.6.1 features the latest stable releases of various packages, such as,
        perl-5.14.1, mysql-5.1.58, postfix-2.8.4, cups-1.4.7, httpd-2.2.19, samba-3.5.9 and gcc-4.5.3.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • ALT Linux | Fame & Publicity Not their target

        I wrote few lines on AltLinux.com international community forum – in English
        back in 2007 showing a desire for little needed publicity for ALT Linux because whenever I talk about this distribution anywhere I am told they have never heard about it . Michael Shigorin replied in these words

      • Mandriva joins the CompatibleOne consortium

        French Linux provider, Mandriva, has announced that it has joined the industry consortium CompatibleOne – a research project working on the development of a free cloud infrastructure using open standards and interoperable open source technologies. Its members include companies such as Bull and Inria.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Pardus 2011.1 screenshot pre-review

        Pardus is a desktop-oriented Linux distribution with roots in the National Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology (UEKAE), Turkey. The latest table version, Pardus 2011.1, was released just yesterday.

        Like Pardus 2011, Pardus 2011.1 is made available via DVD installation images, and also via Live DVD testing-only images. While a review is still in the works, here a few screenshots to whet your appetite.

      • Press Release: Sabayon Linux 6 XFCE, LXDE, E17

        We are happy to announce the immediate availability of E17, XFCE, LXDE, built on top of Sabayon “SpinBase” ISO images.
        Here we go again, this is the last set of Sabayon 6 releases, we have Sabayon 6 LXDE, a very lightweight Desktop Environment for elderly systems, that fits on a single 700Mb CD.
        Then there is Sabayon 6 XFCE, which has been turned into a valid GNOME alternative, breaking the 700Mb size barrier, provided with multimedia applications, office productivity apps, NVIDIA, AMD GPU drivers and much more.
        Last and probably least, there is the somewhat i-like-broken-stuff-and-not-being-able-to-change-wallpaper Sabayon 6 E17, well, it’s Enlightenment 17, subversion snapshot, for the braves.

      • Pardus Linux 2011.1 Has KDE SC 4.6.5 and Firefox 5

        Gökcen Eraslan proudly announced yesterday, July 12th, the immediate availability for download and upgrade of the popular Pardus 2011.1 Linux-based Turkish operating system.

        Dubbed Dama Dama, the final and stable version of Pardus 2011.1 is powered by Linux kernel and it’s available as Live and Installation images for both 32-bit and 64-bit architectures.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Tax-on-web with Debian and Firefox

        In Belgium, we can fill out our tax form online on the Tax-on-web site using a smartcard reader and our electronic identity card. Unfortunately, things are rather complicated to set up, partly because the eID authentication is based on SSL renegotiation, a feature which is disabled by default in recent Firefox versions because it can be insecure. It is a bit disappointing that we have to rely on potentially vulnerable technologies to authenticate with our eID, but there is not much choice if you do not want to fill out the paper forms (or are too late, so that the electronic way is the only option).

      • Derivatives

        • Knoppix 6.4: can you spot the difference?

          Knoppix is Live CD (DVD) system based on Debian.
          Debian gives Knoppix very stable and large platform.
          What has changed in Knoppix since my last review? I’d say not much.
          Most of these changed are due to new version of Debian. Squeeze changed Lenny, and now Knoppix uses Squeeze as stable repository. Other that that? LibreOffice became official office manager. Then… Argh, to be honest, I can’t name any other difference. Can change of default wallpaper be the one? I doubt.
          From my perspective, Knoppix now simply follows the trend to update packages up to the latest version of those. Nothing significant happens in this part of Linux world.
          Somebody can call it stagnation. Somebody can call it stability.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Unity: A GUI for Beginners and Experts
          • Fantastic engineering management is…

            The art of software engineering management is so different from software engineering that it should be an entirely separate career track, with equal kudos and remuneration available on either path.

            This is because developing, and managing developers, are at opposite ends of the interrupt scale. Great engineering depends on deep, uninterrupted focus. But great management is all about handling interrupts efficiently so that engineers don’t have to. Companies need to recognise that difference, and create career paths on both sides of that scale, rather than expecting folk to leap from the one end to the other. It’s crazy to think that someone who loves deep focused thought should have to become a multithreaded interrupt driven manager to advance their career.

            Very occasionally someone is both a fantastic developer and a fantastic manager, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. In recognition of that, we should design our teams to work well without depending on a miracle each and every time we put one together.

          • Nuxeo DM added to Ubuntu
          • Top 5 Alternatives to Ubuntu Linux

            There is still a huge myth among Linux users that KDE 4 is unstable and hard-to-use. Well, that may be the belief of people who haven’t used KDE before, but for the ones who have already used it, there’s nothing like it. KDE4 is a stable desktop environment made purely for the masses with the average user in mind. What’s more, it comes with all the fancy effects that will make a Windows or Mac user jealous. In fact, ZDNet Australia even did a survey demonstrating a KDE 4 PC and telling the users that it is the next version of Windows. Guess what, almost everyone loved it. The survey simply proves the point that KDE4 is a modern interface that is ready for the masses.

            Bringing KDE to the Ubuntu fanatics comes Kubuntu, the KDE version of the world’s most popular Linux distribution. Kubuntu comes with a great set of applications like Amarok, Kopete and Gwenview. For the “newly switched” users, there are familiar applications like Libreoffice and Firefox. Kubuntu Natty includes the latest stable version of KDE 4 without much customization.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • The Future of Various Linux Mint Editions

              Today, I was reading DistroWatch when I saw an interesting tidbit about how Linux Mint’s KDE Edition is moving to a Debian base, though the developers originally intended this KDE release to be based on Ubuntu as before. I think the reason why I felt as surprised as I did was because as opposed to the other editions (Xfce, Fluxbox) which were announced as moving to a Debian base without any previous statements regarding them, the developers did say the KDE edition of Linux Mint would be based on Ubuntu, and judging from the forum posts, this decision seems to have been rather abrupt, as opposed to being more carefully planned.

            • inux Mint 11 KDE to Be Based on Debian, Maybe
  • Devices/Embedded

    • PandaBoard first impressions

      This week I received a couple of PandaBoards, courtesy of our friends at Canonical by way of our friends around Kubuntu. The goal is to get Plasma Active running well on the platform.

    • Hi-res e-reader first to offer direct Google eBooks access

      Google announced that iRiver’s Story HD e-reader will be available July 17 at Target, and will be the first device to offer Google eBooks support via Wi-Fi. In related e-reader news, the Philadelphia Media Network will offer deeply discounted Android tablets to Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News subscribers, and e-reader/tablet vendor Augen appears to have gone under.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android leads U.S. smartphone race, says Pew

          Android took the top position among U.S. smartphone market share with 35 percent, followed by Apple’s iPhone and RIM’s BlackBerry, each with 24 percent, says a Pew Research study. Android is particularly strong among younger adults and African Americans, says the study.

          Some 35 percent of owners who call their phones a “smartphone” use an Android phone, estimates Pew Research. This is compared with 24 percent share each for users claiming to use Apple’s iPhones or Research in Motion’s BlackBerry handsets.

        • Harman adopts Android connectivity protocol for infotainment systems
        • Android mini-tablet integrates pico projector

          NionCom is preparing an Android 2.3 mini-tablet reference design that includes an embedded pico projector, capable of displaying content on a wall or screen sized up to 100 inches diagonal. The “MemoryKick Vision” offers a 4.3-inch capacitive WVGA display, 4GB flash memory, a 500GB hard disk drive (HDD), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, plus HDMI in and out ports, according to a story in Picopros.

        • Google Android reference design uses mini joystick

          A mini joystick module from austriamicrosystems has been selected by Google for the new Android Open Accessory Development Kit (ADK).

          The kit is an open-source electronics prototyping platform and is aimed at developers, engineers, hobbyists and artists interested in creating interactive objects or environments.

        • It could have been different: Android, Google and all that

          If there’s one thing that is totally clear, is that Android is ravaging the smartphone market, and all those that are feeling the heat are trying to use the most innovative and transparent approach to stop it: sue Google and its partners out in the oblivion. Software patents, design patents, copyrights, plain trolling- anything goes if it can help in stop the Droid juggernaut. At the same time, Google is under attack for its delay in publishing the Honeycomb source code, attacked for the half-backed results that can be witnessed in some tablet products, all of this in an environment where Android phone makers are obtaining extraordinary revenues, in large part thanks to those contested products (Samsung comes to mind).

          Of course, hindsight is 20/20 as they say, and it’s easy to “predict” that the extraordinary success of Android would have generated such a defensive attack. It is however at least predictable, given the extreme litigation of software companies, that patents would have been used as a blunt instrument to fend off competitors. Could things have been different? I believe so, and I also believe that Google made some errors in its decision, especially in trying to create a control point (the “Google experience”) instead of favoring a more long-term vision.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Toshiba Thrive tablet offers Android 3.1, full-sized ports

        1280 x 800 display, and full-size HDMI, USB 2.0, and SD connections

      • Touching on the state of webOS

        HP may be taking the extraordinary step of actually licensing webOS to run on other manufacturers’ devices, despite earlier statements to the contrary. That stance seems to have gone by the wayside, as HP has come to the conclusion that in the mobile marketplace, it’s no Apple, and hanging on to an HP-only device channel may not be a great idea.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Time And Materials? – NOT!

    Recently I noted that people seem to think there is only one business philosophy for Free Software, and that is to charge for “time and materials”. In reality this is a fairly bad business philosophy, and will quickly drive the programming community to very low wages.

    I have known many business philosophies with Free Software, and I will discuss a few of them here. But first I would like to discuss the concept of “time and materials” usually associated with “Total Cost of Ownership” and the concept of “Return on Investment”
    or the value of the solution, which is where I feel that FOSS really shines.

    In the world of proprietary software you may be trying to fit a square “box” of software into the round “hole” of the business problem. You may put as many “square boxes” of software (which you can neither change the size nor shape of the solution) as you want, but there will always be a “business problem” that will show through, unaddressed, and forcing you to change the way your customer does business to fit the way the software works.

  • 63 Open Source Replacements for Popular Financial Software

    Whether you’re looking for financial software to manage your personal finances, your small business or for a large enterprise, the open source community offers a lot of options. The business-focused products are particularly robust, with a huge list of solutions, many of which offer commercial support and/or hosting.

    We last updated our list of open source replacements for popular financial software about a year ago. This year, we’ve revisited the list, updating links and details and adding quite a few projects that we haven’t featured before.

  • Open Source and the Democratization of IT

    How do enterprises face up to the generational shift to new and more empowered users? How can businesses react and exploit more applications and data resources and do so in a managed and governed fashion? We’re finding that modern, lightweight, and open source platforms that leverage modular architectures are a new and proven resource for the rapid and agile integration requirements.

  • Samba may consider accepting corporate-donated code … fixes only?

    Should Samba switch gears and accept corporate contributions for the first time?

    We’re not talking about funding. We’re talking about code.

    That’s the question Samba chief Jeremy Allison is asking his large open source community, which to date has only accepted code with personal copyrights.

  • Fairware: Supporting Open Source Projects
  • XBRL group offers $20K for best open source app
  • The Internet Archive Selects Kaltura Video Technology to Support HTML5

    The Internet Archive, a nonprofit repository of digital media assets, has implemented a video solution from Kaltura, a provider of the world’s first Open Source (News – Alert) Online Video Platform.

  • Why I (still) steer away from Microsoft products

    Recently I was reminded yet again of why I purposely avoid Microsoft products altogether. I wrote a while ago about migrating a relative from Windows 2000 to Fedora Linux 14. The migration went well, and they are still today happily using Fedora 14.

  • FLOSS: Accept no substitutes

    Free-as-in-freedom software is very often free-as-in-beer, too. This is normally a good thing. But one open source project developer is calling out a troubling problem with free software: counterfeit applications.

    The problem, according to VideoLAN developer Ludovic Fauvet, is this: VideoLAN’s highly regarded VLC Media Player, which is licensed under the GPL, is being redistributed by various organizations’ websites, some of which claim that VLC is actually their application to distribute. These websites attract users with paid Google AdWords ads that come up in various media-player related searches.

    Right off the bat, this would be a clear violation of VideoLAN’s intellectual property, but it gets worse. Many of the sites that redistribute VLC have wrapped the binary in installers that also install malware in the form of adware and spyware on unsuspecting user’s computers, too.

    “What bothers us the most is that many of them are bundling VLC with various crapware to monetize it in ways that mislead our users by thinking they’re downloading an original version. This is not acceptable. The result is a poor product that doesn’t work as intended, that can’t be uninstalled and that clearly abuses its users and their privacy,” Fauvet wrote in his blog.

  • Why I’m smarter than an Open Source surrender monkey
  • Web Browsers

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • OpenOffice + Apache = Open Content Innovation

      I will let other people debate Oracle’s motivations, Apache vs. The Document Foundation (TDF), etc. but here are a few interesting facts: OpenOffice is one of the most successful and vast open source projects in the world (1.2 million downloads a week and 135 million known distributions). OpenOffice.org gets 10x the number of unique visitors as the Apache.org homepage itself, according to Compete. By measures of downloads and web traffic, OpenOffice is as relevant as ever.

    • AT: Department of Justice’s migration to OpenOffice a success story

      According to an online magazine aimed at users of the Linux Operating System, since 2008 the Austrian justice ministry has migrated several thousands of desktop PCs to OpenOffice, in a “complete success story” worth highlighting.

    • Status of Establishing the Foundation

      Thanks to the invaluable work of our lawyer, we now finally have a close-to-final draft of the legally binding statutes. The creation of these took a lot of time, because many of the ideas and processes we have outlined in our Community Bylaws are innovative, and implementing them in a legal framework is indeed a challenge. However, all of these ideas are important and show the values and roots of our community, so taking time for legally establishing them is very well spent.

  • CMS

    • Magid on Tech: WordPress still popular despite social networking

      Despite the rise in social networking sites — Facebook, Twitter and the new Google+ — blogs continue to flourish. For example, WordPress.com over the weekend announced that more than 50 million blogs are powered by WordPress.com’s open source software. About half of those blogs are hosted by WordPress.com, while the others are hosted on rented servers or the bloggers’ own servers.

      WordPress.com hosts sites for free, though there are features you can buy, including paying $30 a year to remove ads and fees to increase storage.

    • WordPress Now Powers 50 Million Blogs: How to Start Your Own

      WordPress.com announced that there are now more than 50 million blogs powered by WordPress’s open source software. About half of those blogs are hosted at WordPress.com while the others reside on blog owners own servers or server space rented from hosting providers.

    • The future of WordPress: Q&A with founder Matt Mullenweg
  • Business

  • Funding


    • A Status Update On GNU Hurd: Java, Debian, Money

      The Q2’2011 update for the long-in-development GNU Hurd operating system says that Java is coming to Hurd this summer as part of Google Summer of Code, but in the process of porting Java, the student is also filling in some parts of Hurd’s componentry in order to handle the Java run-time.

      Additionally, the first Debian GNU/Hurd spins with a graphical installer is now available. It’s publicly available here. Debian GNU/Hurd can run within a KVM/QEMU virtualized environment, but it’s hardware support is still shoddy (the network adapter support is limited to what was found in the Linux 2.0 kernel, for instance).

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • PT: Consensus among political parties on open source and open standards in the Public Administration

      Gonçalo Caseiro, Member of the Board of the Agency for the Public Services Reform (Agência para a Modernização Administrativa – AMA, in Portuguese), gave a presentation that addressed the issues of interoperability, open standards and open source in the PA, the AMA’s perspective on these issues, and provided examples of actions taken in recent years within the PA.

    • Kenya opens its books in revolutionary transparency drive

      When violence erupted after the 2007 Kenyan elections, a team of activists produced Ushahidi – a digital open-source platform to monitor crises in near real-time. Taking its name from the kiswahili word for testimony, or witness, Ushahidi has since been deployed to monitor unrest in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, track violence in Gaza, and gather global reports about the spread of Swine Flu. Around the same time, a partnership between Vodafone and Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile operator, produced M-PESA, the mobile banking system that has revolutionised the way many Kenyans manage their money.

    • Canberra’s open source policy stumbles on compliance

      The Australian Government’s latest commitment to open source software has been undermined by patchy compliance by the agencies it informs.

      While the Government’s revised guide urged agencies to consider cost, customisation, end-user training, reliability, lock-in and license obligations when choosing between proprietary and open source software options, already there are examples of non-compliance with the policy.

      Despite the guide instructing agencies “to insert a statement into any Request for Tender that they will consider open source software equally alongside proprietary software”, no such statement was published in Austrade’s recent request for tender (RFT) for an Online Recruitment System (C11/0403).

    • United Kingdom’s government to accelerate its use of open source software in public services
  • Licensing

    • AVM Denies GPL Violation Claims

      German router maker AVM says GPL campaigners are backing software which would break the Fritz!Box

      German router maker AVM has defended itself against claims that it is breaking the terms of the GPL licence on its Fritz!Box broadband routers, but GPL creator Richard Stallman has said the firm is in breach of the licence.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • News of the World dead, that’s OK – all press going open source online

      Truism #1 – Newsrooms to face tougher economic challenges and more challenging workflow issues than ever before.

      Truism #2 – Stories now need to be written for a more live, dynamic, potentially changeable publishing medium. So writing from the ground up for paper-based publication is not necessarily good sense.

      Truism #3 – Open source document management and content management tools now exist to bring tangible cost savings to bear.

    • Carnegie Launches Open-Source STEM Network

      Milgrom-Elcott says it’s an approach that worked for cystic fibrosis (CF) research and treatment practices. During the mid 1990s, CF patients at different clinics had wildly different life expectancies and lung capacities. As doctors began to share the best practices for treating patients, the life expectancy gap narrowed, and CF survival rates improved. 100kin10 hopes to mimic this transparency and openness.

    • Data

      • Open source storage is on the march

        From being the poor relation to deployment in pretty much every institution, public and private, open source software (OSS) in the shape of Linux and others has taken over a huge proportion of the world’s servers.

        It was quite a mountain to climb. At first, sceptics — a group that included me — struggled to see how the business model could work. Could the software developers sustain themselves by giving away the software? Could they keep up with commercial developers? Would enterprise users get the kinds of support they were used to? And would the software be robust and as feature-rich?

    • Open Access/Content

      • South Korean schools to go paperless

        But add Open Access/Open Source to the equation, and the long-term savings usually outweigh the costs (here’s an app that lets educational buyers calculate exactly what they stand to save). Clunky hardcover textbooks, constantly in need of repair or replacement, with built-in obsolescence, are a major expense for schools. As soon as decent, curriculum-connected free versions are online, they can be used anywhere. Once forward-thinking Canadian classes take the plunge, it’s unlikely they’ll ever go back.

  • Programming

    • static single assignment for functional programmers
    • Project Euler
    • Python 3.2.1 now available

      The Python developers have released Python 3.2.1, a bugfix release for February’s Python 3.2 with no new functionality. It fixes more than 120 bugs and regressions in the most recent release of the widely used dynamic scripting language, including a fix for a urllib and urllib2 medium severity security issue (CVE-2011-1521) which had been corrected in older versions of Python in recent months.

    • Ruby creator joins PaaS company Heroku

      The creator of the Ruby programming language, Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, has joined Heroku, the cloud application platform provider, where he will work as the chief architect for Ruby. The news release states that Matsumoto will, in close collaboration with the Ruby open source community, continue his work on the Ruby scripting language he designed in the mid-90s. The creator of Ruby will keep his post at Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten’s Institute of Technology, and he will also continue to work as a researcher for the Network Applied Communications Laboratory.

    • Ruby daddy Matsumoto joins Heroku Rails crusade
  • Standards/Consortia

    • RDF in ODF: Abiword & Calligra

      RDF has been slowly making it’s way into Office applications. The ODF standard includes support for shipping RDF/XML file(s) inside the zip file that is an odt file. This RDF can also be linked to particular part(s) of the document text so that you and your computer both know where the RDF is most relevant. For example, if “Fred” in the document has his phone number, location, and cake preference in RDF, that can all be linked just to the four characters “Fred” so that it all makes sense. Strange as it might be, not everybody likes Baumkuchen, and it is fairly likely not to be relevant to a stock quote in another part of the document.


  • Microsoft to Windows XP diehards: Just under 3 more years’ support

    ‘Eventually, there comes a time to give us more money’

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • About ALEC Exposed

      In April 2011, some of the biggest corporations in the U.S. met behind closed doors in Cincinnati about their wish lists for changing state laws. This exchange was part of a series of corporate meetings nurtured and fueled by the Koch Industries family fortune and other corporate funding.

      At an extravagant hotel gilded just before the Great Depression, corporate executives from the tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds, State Farm Insurance, and other corporations were joined by their “task force” co-chairs — all Republican state legislators — to approve “model” legislation. They jointly head task forces of what is called the “American Legislative Exchange Council” (ALEC).

    • ALEC and “Tort Reform”

      The Regulatory Compliance Congruity with Liability Act is part of a set of “tort reform” bills from ALEC that limit corporate responsibility at the expense of average Americans. ALEC, the corporate-funded national organization that lets Big Business hand state legislators “model bills” to introduce in their state, has been pushing “tort reform” since about 1986 with the support of Big Tobacco, the insurance industry, and other major corporations.

  • Censorship

    • No Net Filtering in the Name of Consumer Protection!

      Having just pushed a draft executive order to establish total administrative censorship of the Internet, the French government is now attempting to extend Net filtering, this time through a bill on consumer protection. Tonight and tomorrow, the bill will go through the French Parliament’s Committee on Economic Affairs. The latter must absolutely reject this new attempt to control the Net. French citizens can help defend the Internet by calling the members of the Committee.

    • Open Internet: how to be open about how closed you are

      Today, the Broadband Stakeholder Group had the second meeting discussing what to do to protect the Open Internet: a process started after Ed vaizey’s meeting including Sir Tim Berners-Leee.

      Today was what should have been the easy part: talking about transparency of ISPs over network discrimination, or “traffic management”. You can see that all major ISPs have now published a standardized policy such as this from Sky or this (sigh) jpg from Virgin

    • Indian Govt Goes Open Source, America Should Learn From It

      Governments across the globe are going open source, other than those who are either close to Microsoft or who have been bought by them. Emerging economies such as India and Brazil know the value of open source It boosts local economy instead of filling the pockets of multi-national companies who have little or no interest in the development of the region.

      The government of India, despite desperate measures from companies like Microsoft has always been pro-free software or open source. The government has prepared a draft for the “Policy on Device Drivers for Procurement of Hardware for e-Governance”.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

    • Copyrights

      • IPRED: the European Commission Must Listen to the Citizens!

        Paris, July 11th, 2011 – The European Commission just published the synthesis of the responses to the consultation on the revision of the anti-sharing “IPRED” directive. Among these are a large number of responses from European citizens worried about the transformation of Internet technical intermediaries into a private copyright police. La Quadrature du Net congratulates all citizens for their watchfulness and their responses. The Commission can no longer ignore the citizens’ opposition to its project to reform the IPRED directive.

      • Lobbyists Ramp Up Pressure To Get PROTECT IP Passed

        The world’s largest lobbying organization, the US Chamber of Commerce (which thrives off the fact that many people mistake it for a US government body), along with the biggest lobbyists representing the recording and movie industry, have ramped up their efforts to get PROTECT IP approved as quickly as possible. The groups held a conference on Capitol Hill and then began visiting Senators to talk about how much they needed this protectionism, because they’re unable to adapt to a dynamic internet where they’re no longer the gatekeepers. Who’s doing this? Well, along with the Chamber of Commerce, we have NBC Universal, Sony Music and Pictures, Walt Disney Company, the MPAA, the RIAA, News Corp. (watch your voicemails, senators), the National Association of Theater Owners, Warner Music and the American Federation of Musicians.

Reader’s Picks

IRC Proceedings: July 12th, 2011

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IRC Proceedings: July 11th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




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IRC Proceedings: July 10th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




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IRC Proceedings: July 9th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




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Regulators in the US/Canada Authorise Linux-hostile Patent Cartel, Google Must Help Abolish Software Patents Now

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 3:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Google’s Rivals Accused of Colluding Against Android” ~Forbes.com headline (this week)


Summary: As the patent assault on Linux/Dalvik/Java (Android) becomes ever more intense, calls are made for Google to get its act together and join the side of the public, liaising with those seeking to put an end to all software patents

MICROSOFT THINKS it has got it all figured out. It promoted Horacio, the key patent racketeer, not so long ago, whereas Apple is said to have let its chief patent lawyer go (maybe he left on his own, but it does not seem so because IDG says that “Apple’s current chief patent lawyer is reportedly leaving the company after failing to block Android manufacturers from using iPhone-like features”).

So anyway, major changes at Apple are evident after failing to harm Android with the patent attacks. HTC has not surrendered (Apple is retrying) and Samsung dealt a major blow to Apple following Apple’s impulsive lawsuit. The branding company, Apple, cannot quite manage to transform into an extortion company. Neither can Microsoft though, as it has tried since 2006 (with Novell). Microsoft’s ‘progress’ mostly involves small companies that nobody cares about, not Red Hat or even Canonical. Here we see the nuisance called Tuxera finding another place to put some Microsoft patent tax, but again, who ever heard of Rockchip? Wikipedia barely even mentions it. As we explained recently, whenever Microsoft strikes against a medium- or large-sized company, it faces blowback, so now it just plays ‘safe’ by attacking the feeble ones in the school yard. That’s just Microsoft’s game. Pathetic. Why won’t Microsoft sue Google and see its patents invalidated one by one, jin the same way Oracle does? Just watch the latest from Groklaw:

  • Oracle v. Google – The Court Questions Oracle’s Damages Report

    Judge Alsup clearly believes the Oracle damages report provided by Prof. Iain Cockburn has failed to provide a basis for applying the “entire market value” theory of damages. So what is the “entire market” theory of damages?

  • Oracle v. Google – Google Moves to Supplement Its Invalidity Defenses

    In another instance, the court’s claim construction opened up prior art that was not usable before (see Sec. A under Argument in the Motion). In their obviously very thorough search for prior art, Google also found references that it says demonstrate obviousness. (See Sections E, G and H under Argument in the Motion) In a fourth instance Google says that Oracle’s JavaOS itself is prior art, and JavaOS was publicly available for more than a year prior to the asserted patent.

“Google recently made very large bids for the Nortel patents,” wrote to us a reader this morning. “What Google can do with the approximately $4B USD that they would have used for the Nortel patents would be to jump into US politics with both feet and get software patents banned again. There are several options ranging from direct campaign financing (due to new rules) or regular lobbying.

“Such a law would ultimately save Google more than it would do by fighting each case separately. There is an increasing number of “non-producing entities”, often referred to as patent trolls, and fighting them one at a time or one patent at a time isn’t going to help anyone except the patent lawyers. In the example of Android, they may ask for smallish sums per handset, but 5 or 10 dollars multiplied several times will quickly price the devices out of the market. Best to focus at the heart of the problem and go directly after the patentability question.”

Techrights made a similar suggestion yesterday. The Star has this new article which says:

Google’s loss in bidding for the $4.5 billion (U.S.) portfolio of Nortel Networks Corp. patents last week means the Internet-search company will be looking to buy other inventions to build a bulwark against lawsuits targeting its Android system, patent brokers say.

“There are a lot of phenomenal portfolios for sale,” said Dean Becker, chief executive officer of ICAP Patent Brokerage in Palm Beach, Fla., the world’s largest patent seller. “Every operating company is in the market because of the expense, distraction and the potential financial risk of patent litigation.”

Some days ago we noted that Canadian and US regulators were potentially stepping in, but after an unfortunate breakthrough and then authorisation of the sale [1, 2, 3] we are left assuming that the government once again sidles with corporations rather than with public interests. The courts give a go-ahead:

Apple Inc(AAPL.O), Microsoft Corp(MSFT.O), Research in Motion Ltd(RIM.TO) and three other leading tech companies received court approval on Monday to buy wireless patents from bankrupt Nortel Networks Corp for $4.5 billion.

Judges in the United States and Canada approved the sale of 6,000 patents and applications, which fetched three times what some analysts expected from the four-day auction in June.

Nortel Networks Corp (NRTLQ.PK) filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors in January 2009 and courts in the two countries are overseeing the disposal of the company’s assets as the former telecommunications giant winds down its operations.

Jack Wallen says that “the Microsoft bully is back” in his new column:

The Microsoft bully is back


Well, color me surprised that the tyrant known as Microsoft has taken to doing everything it can to chip away at the competition — no matter what the cost, what the stakes, or what the perception of the public at large. Here’s the deal: Back in April, Microsoft struck a deal with Samsung wherein Samsung would pay the software giant an undisclosed sum for every Samsung handset sold — get this — powered by the Android OS. That’s right, MS made it’s usual claims that Android (along with every company on the planet — regardless of what they produce) infringed upon patents held by Microsoft. Would they disclose the said infringed patents? Of course not. After all, it’s been Microsoft’s modus operandi for decades to obfuscate the real truth for fear of looking like a spoiled baby taking its toys and going home.

So there the public was (the public that cared about Samsung and Android) wondering what the sum and the patents were. Well, we now know that Samsung is to pay a whopping $15.00 per Android-based handset sold. Let’s do that math:

Samsung sold over 19 million Android-based handsets in the second quarter of 2011. At 15 smackers a pop, that equals $285 Million Dollars.

“The FUD gets a lot worse,” argues Jonathan Angel in Linux For Devices (eWEEK). Quoting the relevant parts: “As far as we’re aware, there has been no public explanation of what Microsoft patents Android devices infringe. Nor is it clear whether, ultimately, it will be possible for any manufacturer to create an Android devices without paying a tithe to Redmond.

“What we do know is that the FUD just got a lot worse. As we reported last week, Microsoft joined Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Research in Motion (RIM), and Sony in a consortium termed Rockstar Bidco LP — which successfully gained more than 6,000 Nortel Networks patents and patent applications at a bankruptcy auction. The $4.5 billion Rockstar bid beat out Google’s own, which could have purchased some protection for Android, by more than $1 billion.”

“Google’s Rivals Accused of Colluding Against Android,” says this headline from Forbes Magazine blogs:

The American Antitrust Institute is asking regulators to investigate Nortel’s patent sale, suggesting the winning bid to Google’s biggest rivals may imply collusion against Android.

The group calling itself Rockstar Bidco, which include Apple, Microsoft and Research in Motion, bought Nortel’s trove of patents for $4.5 billion, possibly the biggest intellectual property auction of all time. The sale immediately raised concern from antitrust advocates, since the members of the coalition, mainly Google’s rivals, may use the patents to attack Google’s Android operating system.

Some lesser-known blogger from CNET did the right thing for a change by going with a more pacifying title, “Android users: Don’t fret over Google’s fee battles” (that’s a defence in principle).

Handset makers using the Google Android mobile operating system may be slapped with additional licensing fees if Oracle and Microsoft have their way. But what might that mean for the average cell phone consumer? Would the price of Android devices go up?

It’s not likely, say experts. There are several reasons to think that legal victories from Oracle or Microsoft would do little to move the needle in terms of pricing for consumers. What’s more, whatever additional costs might be added to the phone would likely be offset by savings elsewhere, still guaranteeing that handset makers generate decent margins on these products as the cost of making them also goes down.

There is no reason to assume increased costs just yet. We wrote about this yesterday. It’s part of the FUD campaign which Android foes like Microsoft are coordinating.

Chris DiBona from Google gave a good interview yesterday and he is widely quoted for saying that Android is a realisation of the Linux dream ([1]-[3] below). Google has in fact just released some GPL-licensed code for the latest Android version, although not all of it ([4]-[5] below). We really ought to defend Android and also attack software patents, which Microsoft and Apple will increasingly try to use against Linux because it’s the only weapon these gorillas have left, except marketing and FUD. If we manage to defeat software patents, hopefully with Google’s support, Linux will definitely win. We gave DiBona’s address (cdibona@google.com) hoping that people can write to him politely as he usually replies to E-mails. Let’s hope that idiotic press releases like this new one which says “[w]e recently filed an exciting new software patent” will come to an end. The US economy has enough problems even without the patent cartels. Every patent filed only makes matters worse, although not to those who see the cartels as inclusive and ignore the externalities. Google must fight those cartels, not find a way to buy a membership (with massive patent acquisitions).

  1. Google: “Android is the Linux desktop dream come true”

    Chris DiBona, Googles Open Source Boss talks about the role of Linux inside the company and why Chrome and Android use so fundamentally different release models

    Right from the start Open Source has been playing an important role at Google. Nowadays it’s used nearly “everywhere” inside the company. From server to the engineering desktops and smartphones as Chris diBona, Googles “Open Source Manager” points out in an interview with derStandard.at. He goes on to talk about Android as the “Linux desktop dream come true” and explains why the release model of Chrome and Android are so fundamentally different.

  2. Google Open Source Manager: Android Is The Linux Dream Come True

    With half a million Android devices being activated everyday, there is no doubt that Android is one of the most popular operating systems today. Not many users realizes this but Android is based on Linux.

    Android is without any doubt the most popular Linux-based operating system in the world. In an interview with German website derStandard.at, Chris DiBona, who is the Open Source Manager at Google, has said that Android is the Linux dream come true.

  3. Google’s Open Source Chief Talks Shop in Interview
  4. GPL source code for Android 3.2 available in AOSP
  5. Google is not releasing all the source code for the latest version of the operating system

    Google is not releasing all the source code for the latest version of the operating system.

Microsoft Gives Money to EU Politicians, Gets Supporters for Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Patents at 2:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Poland the way Microsoft likes it

Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office Polish version

Summary: Poland’s presidency is yet another presidency which Microsoft gives money before it becomes a booster of policies that usher in software patents

TECHRIGHTS wrote a lot about Poland in relation to Microsoft’s OOXML-related corruption [1, 2, 3] and also in relation to alleged racism at Microsoft's Polish component which conveniently masquerades as not American (good for lobbying and tax reasons). A few days ago we noted that the Polish Presidency started lobbying for a back door which would facilitate software patents in Europe and now we discover, thanks to the president of the FFII (Benjamin Henrion), that the “Polish Presidency is sponsored by Microsoft”. The evidence is in this page which explains:

By virtue of the resolution of the Council of Ministers of June 23, 2009 r. no. 113/2009, a long-term programme entitled “Preparation for and holding of the Polish Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the second half of 2011″ was adopted.
The programme aims at providing financing for the years 2010–2012, which includes the preparation for and holding of the Presidency of the Council of the EU by Poland in the second half of 2011.

Why does a European government need to receive money from a corrupt company in another country? This makes no sense whatsoever and we found that the same thing happened in the Czech Republic's presidency, which lobbied for the same suicidal policies after it had received money from Microsoft.

In other related news, explains Henrion:

Spain and Italy did not raised the language discrimination issue in their ECJ complaint. I doubt that they will succeed without that.

Watch what happens to the phone giant from Finland

Helferich Patent Licensing has sued Nokia in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for patent infringement. Helferich Patent Licensing has alleged that Nokia is infringing on 7 patents of Helferich Patent Licensing in the domain of push messaging and user interfaces.

Helferich Patent Licensing’s patent portfolio, comprising 25 US patents and 10 pending US applications, mainly relate to mobile wireless communication devices and delivery of content and media to such communication devices. Helferich Patent Licensing has asserted that Nokia’s devices, specifically, N8, X6, E72, E73, 2320, 5800 and 6350 are infringing on the following 7 patents assigned to Helferich Patent Licensing…

Here in the UK it has been mostly quiet on the patent front, but Dr. Glyn Moody warns about this MPs debate, noting that in the absence of studies like Bessen's very recent one, the claims regarding so-called ‘IP’ are based “*not* [on] evidence unless it’s backed up by reliable methodology & data: industry figures never are” (IDC is among those who work with the BSA to generate bogus numbers).

Ken Muir (Vice President) Leaves Novell

Posted in Mail, Novell at 1:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Leaving Novell in droves

Busy people

Summary: Ken Muir moves from Novell to GWAVA where he will serve as CEO And CTO

THE OTHER day we asked readers whether we should leave Boycott Novell aside while dealing with more important and pressing issues (mostly software patents). Well, although Linux Today chose this article for its front page, we have not received sufficient feedback on it, except from Steve Stites who wrote:

We are nearly finished

Roy Schestowitz has put the most time and effort of anybody into the effort to break the Microsoft-Novell agreement so he is the most likely voice to declare the boycott Novell movement finished. My thoughts on the status of the boycott are:

When Attachmate killed the Mono project that removed one of our two principle problems with Novell. Mono is a dead issue.

Our other principle problem with Novell is the Microsoft-Novell agreement, especially as it dealt with software patents. Attachmate has issued a general statement that they would honor all of the Novell commitments so that agreement is still in force and still applies to software distributed by SuSE. I think that we should continue the boycott until SuSE issues an acceptable statement that they are no longer bound by the terms of the Microsoft-Novell agreement, especially the terms relating to software patents.

All of the bad things that have happened to Novell, Ron Hovsepian, and the others are merely collateral damage to the boycott (and in all honesty the boycott was only one of several factors that brought Novell down). We would have been quite satisfied with killing Mono and destroying the Microsoft-Novell agreement without any personnel changes at Novell or monetary punishment for Novell.

I think that we should continue the boycott, marking time so to speak, until SuSE issues an acceptable statement that they are no longer bound by the terms of the Microsoft-Novell agreement, especially the terms relating to software patents. But yes, we have won and we are only marking time until SuSE figures out a way to get rid of the Microsoft-Novell agreement.

While Novell is still around and amid transformation (there is still emission of new adverts in YouTube) we will keep track of its staff, for example Ken Muir who has just become CEO And CTO of GWAVA. Any future for Groupwise at all? Not based on Attachmate’s actions thus far. The press release says that “Muir, 41, a former Novell executive, most recently served as CTO and Vice President of Novell’s Collaboration business where he was instrumental in building Novell’s collaboration strategy and products. Prior positions include Chief of Staff to the CEO and various engineering and product management leadership positions. Muir has over 15 years experience in the software industry ranging from engineering and development to product strategy and technology management. He brings to GWAVA strong executive leadership and extensive knowledge of enterprise messaging systems, security and compliance.”

It sure seems like The Register got its news 2 months late regarding layoffs at Novell. For those who wonder about SUSE, the OpenSUSE Conference is being handled almost single-handedly by Jos Poortvliet, based on whoever almost always blogs. The other bits of news arrive from the very few volunteers who are left. Quoting Poortvliet:

Over the last month the conference team has received a large number of proposed sessions for the openSUSE conference. However, we also realize we have not entirely capitalized on the potential for especially the ‘interactive’ sessions we wanted. So we extend the deadline with two weeks to allow more BoF, Workshop and Hack sessions to be submitted. And we’ll release some more articles to explain what we want!

OpenSUSE sought funding for this event from some unexpected sources. Will it work out?

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