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08.17.11

Boycott Novell Deja Vu

Posted in Site News at 5:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Old site

Summary: A quick look back at nearly 5 years of our work

NEXT month we’ll exceed 14,000 blog posts and probably reach 15,000 some time after our initiatives turn 5. For those who wish to look back through the years, the Internet Archive has a nice new silder-based GUI for navigation (see the top part). We received some very pleasant feedback today from longtime contributors and readers. Techrights will hopefully outlive Apple and Microsoft. This year there are fewer posts in this Web site because I am writing hundreds of pages of technical reports on programs I develop. Recently we assigned more writers who are doing a fantastic job contributing in IRC, the wiki, and the blog. If you are interested in getting more closely involved, please do get in touch with our IRC community. It really is the group’s effort and we always have research that needs doing.

Links 17/8/2011: Linux 3.0.2, KVM 3.0

Posted in News Roundup at 5:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • A Look At How Far Linux Has Come In 20 Years [INFOGRAPHIC]

    Can you believe Linux has been going strong for 20 years now?

    It was August 25, 1991 when Linus Torvalds first announced that he had built his own operating system. He released it as an open source project that’s captured the effort of developers, both professional and casual, ever since.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Legal Basics for Developers

      Bradley and Karen play and comment on a talk recording of Aaron Williamson’s and Karen’s presentation at OSCON 2011, entitled Legal Basics for Developers.

  • Roundups

    • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 160

      The following Linux-based operating systems have been announced last week: Tiny Core Linux 3.8, Gentoo Linux 11.2 LiveDVD, Monomaxos 6.0 and Network Security Toolkit 2.15.0. In other news: Softpedia prepared a Top 5 Ubuntu Alternatives article for newbies in Linux; Canonical announced the it will replace Evolution Mail and Calendar with the Mozilla Thunderbird mail client as default for Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot); Canonical implemented the new login manager for the Ubuntu 11.10 (Oneiric Ocelot) operating system. For this week we’ve prepared an interesting review for the AssaultCube 1.1.0.4 game. The weekly ends with the video clip of the week, the new and updated Linux distributions, and the development releases.

    • Samba Advances and Red Hat Shifts to the Cloud
    • TLWIR 13: C++11, Google Buys Motorola, and Linux No Longer a Threat
  • Kernel Space

    • Two Years With Linux BFS, The Brain Fuck Scheduler

      This month marks the two-year anniversary of the release of BFS, the Brain Fuck Scheduler, for the Linux kernel. While BFS has not been merged into the mainline Linux kernel, the scheduler is still actively maintained by Con Kolivas and patches are updated for new kernel releases. The BFS scheduler has also reached mild success and adoption over the past two years. In this article is a fresh look at the Brain Fuck Scheduler along with a fresh round of benchmarks from the Linux 3.0 kernel.

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 3.1 – Part 1 – Networking

      Among the most important advancements of Linux 3.1 are improvements for all major Wi-Fi drivers and virtualisation optimisations.

    • Linux 3.0.2
    • #LinuxCon : Sessions You Don’t Want to Miss

      This week the Linux community celebrates the 20th anniversary of Linux at LinuxCon.

      With three full days and six concurrent tracks there is no shortage of Linux content to take in. While I personally have often wanted to be in more than one place at the same time, there are certainly some really key presentations that attendees should not miss.

    • Longterm kernel proposal signals ongoing Linux growth

      The Linux kernel development process may be getting a little tweaking if a proposal by -stable kernel maintainer Greg Kroah-Hartman is accepted; tweaking needed to meet growing commercial interest in Linux.

      The proposal is simple, on the surface and all the way down: Currently, the 2.6.32 kernel is maintained as a -longterm kernel, a kernel release that is maintained as a stable release with bug fixes and patches for a relatively lengthy period of time. This is opposed to the official -stable release of the Linux kernel, which is the kernel release most suitable for general use, and is dropped when the next release is moved into the -stable category. (The current -stable release, for example, is the 3.0.1 kernel.)

    • Linux 3.1 Kernel Supports Wake On Wireless LAN

      While Linux has supported WOL (Wake-On-LAN) for wired network adapters, the Linux 3.1 kernel prepares support for WWOL, or Wake On Wireless LAN.

    • Ars at LinuxCon: Ryan Paul at the Media Roundtable panel

      The annual LinuxCon event is taking place this week in Vancouver. The Linux Foundation is taking the opportunity to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Linux kernel. The week will include festivities, serious keynotes from open source industry leaders, and some technical panels with prominent Linux developers.

    • LinuxCon 2011 talks streaming live Aug. 17-19

      All keynote sessions from the LinuxCon 2011 conference held in Vancouver this week are being made available for free public streaming today through Friday (Aug. 17-19). However, the sessions are streaming on a fixed schedule, as detailed in this post.

    • LinuxCon, 20th Anniversary of Linux Celebration Kicks Off

      oday is a big day for the Linux community. I’m writing this from Vancouver, B.C. where Users, SysAdmins, developers and business executives have gathered for the third annual LinuxCon and the official celebration of the 20th Anniversary of Linux.

    • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • The GNOME 3 Meltdown

        Suddenly, many are saying loudly what they have been whispering for several months: GNOME 3 is a desktop that (to put it mildly), they don’t want. For instance, for others in the same thread in which Torvalds held forth, GNOME 3 is “completely unusable,” “a mess” a piece of “brokenness” that “finally pushed me over the edge” and “a killer of GNOME.” You can find similar views wherever Torvalds’ comments are mentioned, and no more than perhaps one comment in four that protests that GNOME 3 is not that bad when you learn it, or can be tweaked until it is tolerable. Only isolated comments show any enthusiasm for it.

      • Brasero The Easy CD Creation Tool For Gnome

        Brasero is an easy to use CD or DVD burning tool created for the Gnome desktop environment. Brasero supports many different CD or DVD formats, as well as disk images. Brasero is excellent for burning data CD’s or music, you can even erase disks that are rewritable. There are a number of unique features that make Brasero one of the best choices for your burning needs. This short guide should help explain the common uses for brasero, how to burn your projects, all about the menu structure, and how to erase your discs.. This is how you can install Brasero on your Linux system from the command line.

      • GNOME-Designer Jon McCann about the future of GNOME3

        William Jon McCann: Yeah, I’m definitely proud of what we accomplished. There’s always things when you look back that you wish you would have had a little more time to finish or polish. But with GNOME 3.2 we have the opportunity to get to some more stuff that we wanted and six months after that as well.

  • Distributions

    • PartedMagic: A Swiss Army Knife for Hard Drive Resuscitation

      PartedMagic does so much more than just partition hard drives. It is a specially crafted Linux distro designed to diagnose and repair broken stuff short of replacing hardware. With PartedMagic as a complete solution to work with GParted, I have a relatively safe and reliable tool to partition a fresh disk or repair a broken partition table on a working computer.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat beta revs KVM hypervisor to 3.0

        Commercial Linux distributor Red Hat is kicking out the first beta of its Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 hypervisors for servers and desktops. This brings the free-standing hypervisor up to par with the KVM hypervisor that was embedded in the company’s Enterprise Linux 6.1 distro for servers , which came out in May.

        KVM is an open source alternative to the Xen hypervisor for x64-based machines, which Red Hat took control of when it bought Qumranet in September 2008 for $107m. Qumranet took the QEMU hardware emulator and paired it with a Linux kernel module to virtualize x86 and x64 machines (with the intent originally being to create virtual desktops) and paired it up with a .NET-based management console that ran on a Windows server called Solid ICE. Since acquiring Qumranet, Red Hat’s customers had to use a Windows-based machine to manage their free-standing RHEV hypervisors, somewhat embarrassingly.

      • Red Hat RHEV Freed From Windows Fetters

        With the next release of its Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) package, Red Hat has finally rid itself of one of its most notorious dependencies, namely the use of Microsoft’s Windows Server and SQL Server.

      • Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3.0 Beta Now Available
    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • The future of Ubuntu

          THE TechCentral Web site recently ran a Q&A with Mark Shuttleworth, head honcho at Canonical and the man behind Ubuntu Linux. The interview was insightful, because Shuttleworth talked, not only about the future of Ubuntu, but also tackled the state of tablet computing as well as the dangers of software patents.

          Amid the backdrop of a flurry of patent lawsuits involving mobile phone software from Apple, Microsoft, Google, Samsung and HTC, Shuttleworth argues that the legal tool originally designed to encourage technology transfer isn’t working the way it should.

          “The patent system is… sold as a way of giving the little guy an opportunity to create something big … when in fact patents don’t really work that way at all,” he says.

        • Dash takes shape for 11.10 Unity

          We’ve moved from the idea of “Places” to a richer set of “Scopes and Lenses”. Scopes are data sources, and can tap into any online or offline data set as long as they can generate categorised results for a search, describe a set of filters and support some standard interfaces. Lenses are various ways to present the data that come from Scopes.

        • Unity Contributor Report: So long Feature Freeze!
        • Ubuntu 11.10 Oneric Ocelot Alpha 3 Quick Review

          Ubuntu 11.10 Oneric Ocelot Alpha 3 was released few weeks ago. I decided to properly install Ubuntu 11.10 Oneric in my netbook along with Ping-Eee OS this time around instead of just experimenting it with a USB install. I have been using Ubuntu 11.10 Alpha 3 as my primary OS for almost 2 weeks now and this is how I feel about it. Read on.

        • Interview: Kate Stewart, Ubuntu Release Manager at Canonical

          Kate Stewart: I’m the Release Manager for Ubuntu. I am very fortunate to get to work with the inspiring members of the Ubuntu Release Team, along with all the very talented Ubuntu and upstream project developers, and the testing teams to get images of Ubuntu and the various flavors published and available on timely basis.

        • Why Intel & Canonical Should Make A Deal for Ubuntu MeeGo

          A lot of people have made the assertion that MeeGo could thrive without Nokia’s presence in the collaboration. And, there’s some potential for traction there as Android lawsuits and patent claims mount. However, as they mount, Google has shown their willingness to acquire as many patents as possible to thwart those lawsuits.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Bodhi Linux Is Beautiful & Works On Very Old Computers

            Try a lightweight, beautiful Linux distro that works on very old hardware. Bodhi Linux can run on processors with only 300 mhz so imagine how well it will work on your machine. With the Enlightenment desktop environment, Bodhi looks great and runs light. With the Ubuntu repositories, Bodhi has access to a plethora of quality free software. With a little work, it can become your perfect desktop.

            You’ll need to install your favorite software of course, and you might want to spend some time tweaking things. In many ways Bodhi reminds me of time spent tweaking early versions of Ubuntu to make everything work just right. We’ve shown you visually pleasing Linux distributions that use Enlightenment, and those are worth checking out. Bodhi Linux is different because it’s up to date, completely free to use and compatible with the Ubuntu repositories.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MeeGo IVI becomes fifth Linux distro to achieve Genivi compliance

      The Genivi Alliance says the Linux Foundation’s MeeGo In-Vehicle Infotainment (IVI) project is the fifth Linux distro that has been confirmed as Genivi compliant. Earlier this month, the open source automotive consortium announced a Genivi Compliance Program, listing Canonical’s Ubuntu IVI Remix and Mentor Graphics’ Embedded IVI Base Platform as compliant along with the more established MontaVista and Wind River IVI distributions.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • $80 Android Phone Sells Like Hotcakes in Kenya, the World Next?

          It seems like just yesterday when only the slickest kid on the block had a smartphone, but now, this revolutionary gadget is selling like hotcakes in the developing world. Earlier this year, the Chinese firm Huawei unveiled IDEOS through Kenya’s telecom titan, Safaricom. So far, this $80 smartphone has found its way into the hands of 350,000+ Kenyans, an impressive sales number in a country where 40% of the population lives on less than two dollars a day. The IDEOS’s success in this market firmly establishes the open source Android as the smartphone of the people and demonstrates how unrelenting upswings in price-performance can jumpstart the spread of liberating technologies. Thanks to low-cost Androids, the geographically-untethered smartphone is here to stay, and it simply cannot be stopped.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 67 Open Source Replacements for Really Expensive Applications

    Why spend thousands or even hundreds or thousands of dollars on a closed source application when you can get a comparable open source app for free? Even if you need commercial support, many open source programs now offer paid support that costs much less than the alternatives.

    For this list, we looked for quality, open source alternatives to software that has a reputation for being expensive. Whenever possible, we included MSRPs for the expensive software, though in some cases, the pricing scheme is so complicated that it’s nearly impossible to pin down.

    We published a similar list last year, and we’ve updated and expanded the list for 2011. If you have suggestions for next year’s list, feel free to note them in the comments section below.

  • 10 Great Free Open-Source Software Advancements In The Past Year

    With the leap ahead this year of tablets, as well as cloud computing and virtualization, it may be easier to overlook important contributions by the open-source communities of real, production-quality technology and innovations for IT. But developers for platforms ranging from Ubuntu to Libre Office to Android have made broad leaps that will have significant impact moving forward.

  • Research identifies benefits of the open source software market

    A forthcoming paper in Marketing Scienceby Columbia Business School Class of 1967 Associate Professor of Business, Brett Gordon, in collaboration with Vineet Kumar, Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Kannan Srinivasan, Heinz College Professor of Management, Marketing and Information Systems at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University, finds that commercial open source software (COSS) results in high-quality products, and that despite the free-riding that is inherent in the industry due to information-sharing, the market creates spillover benefits for both consumers and producers. The study features a two-sided model of competition between commercial open source software (COSS) firms, which allows the research to determine the benefits of COSS.

  • In a tough job market, your open source experience may be an asset in more ways than one
  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • AppFog Expands Beyond PHP Servers in the Cloud

      Portfland, Oregon based startup AppFog is among those that are trying to grab PaaS share. Until this month, AppFog was known as PHP Fog and focused exclusively on providing a PaaS solution for PHP developers and servers. The company is now expanding beyond just PHP with a PaaS platform for multiple languages including Ruby, and Java. The expansion is being fueled by $8 million in Series B investment led by Ignition Partners. In total, AppFog has raised $9.8 million in funding to date.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice liberation

      Have you made the switch to LibreOffice yet? You really should! The project is going from strength to strength, with versions available for all Linux, Mac and Microsoft users. Most big name Linux distributions have alreeady made the switch from OpenOffice.org, and organisations such as Red Hat, Google, SUSE and the Free Software Foundation are throwing their weight behind the project too.

    • LibreOffice 3.3.4 is Ready for Download

      The Document Foundation announces the availability of LibreOffice 3.3.4, a new release of the free office suite’s 3.3 branch. The new version is available for download at http://www.libreoffice.org/download

  • Healthcare

    • omeopathy multinational sues blogger over statements that its mythological curative had “no active ingredient”

      Samuele Riva, an Italian blogger, is being sued by Boiron, a France-based homeopathic “remedy” multinational. Riva dared to mock the company’s claim that its Ooscillococcinum has no “active ingredient.” The company claims that the product has been made by diluting “oscillococcinum” (a mythological substance said to be present in duck liver, though no evidence supports this claim) at 1:100 dilution 200 times, which “is the equivalent of diluting 1ml of original ingredient into a volume of water that is the size of the known universe.”

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Non-profit Group Releases Open Source Mesh WiFi Network Software

      The non-profit group Geeks Without Frontiers today released open source software based on an upcoming WiFi standard. It lets Linux machines be their own WiFi network, no hardware required.

      The software is based on the not-yet-ratified IEEE 802.11s, an extension to the 802.11 WiFi standard. 11s creates wireless “mesh” networks. Ratification is expected to happen by Q4 2011. 11s allows multiple wireless devices to connect with each other without having a hardware access point between them and to “multi-hop” to reach nodes that would otherwise be out of range.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Launches Agile Track to Speed Web Innovation

      With the launch of Community Groups, W3C now offers a smooth path from innovation to open standardization to recognition as an ISO/IEC International Standard. W3C’s goals differ at each of these complementary stages, but they all contribute to the organization’s mission of developing interoperable standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Police Try To Bring Wiretapping Charges Against Woman Who Filmed Them Beating A Man
    • MI5 called in to find organisers of riots

      The agencies, the bulk of whose work normally involves catching terrorists inspired by al-Qaeda, are helping the effort to catch people who used social messaging, especially BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), to mobilise looters.

    • Global financial looting and the London riots

      I keep hearing comparisons between the London riots and riots in other European cities — window smashing in Athens, or car bonfires in Paris. And there are parallels, to be sure: a spark set by police violence, a generation that feels forgotten.
      But those events were marked by mass destruction; the looting was minor. There have, however, been other mass lootings in recent years, and perhaps we should talk about them too. There was Baghdad in the aftermath of the U.S. invasion — a frenzy of arson and looting that emptied libraries and museums. The factories got hit too. In 2004 I visited one that used to make refrigerators. Its workers had stripped it of everything valuable, then torched it so thoroughly that the warehouse was a sculpture of buckled sheet metal.

    • 8 Trillion on Our Military Addiction? Why the Price Tag of the National Security Complex Should Scare the Hell Out of You

      As with all addictions, once you’re hooked on massive military spending, it’s hard to think realistically or ask the obvious questions. So, at a moment when discussion about cutting military spending is actually on the rise for the first time in years, let me offer some little known basics about the spending spree this country has been on since September 11, 2001, and raise just a few simple questions about what all that money has actually bought Americans.

    • Fighting China’s Golden Shield: Cisco sued over jailing and torture of dissidents

      Cisco, one of the world’s largest technology companies, is being sued by Chinese political prisoners for allegedly providing the technology and expertise used by the Chinese Communist Party to monitor, censor and suppress the Chinese people.

    • China cracks down in Xinjiang following ethnic violence

      Chinese security forces have launched a two-month “strike hard” crackdown against violence, terrorism and radical Islam following renewed ethnic violence in the restive western region of Xinjiang, the regional government has announced.

    • Met officers cleared over hacking misconduct claims

      The former Metropolitan Police commissioner has been cleared of misconduct in his handling of the phone hacking inquiry by the police watchdog.

      The Independent Police Complaints Commission said Sir Paul Stephenson had not committed any criminal acts.

      An independent inquiry will examine claims former assistant commissioner John Yates secured a job for a News of the World executive’s daughter.

  • Finance

    • We’ve been warned: the system is ready to blow

      Only a new way of managing the global economy can prevent more mayhem in the markets and on the streets

    • Inequality is bad for business

      The cautions are getting more numerous and blunt. Since January, heavyweights who have spoken out include Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank, Chrystia Freeland, editor of Thomson Reuters Digital and former managing editor of the Financial Times, and even America’s staunchest defender of laissez-faire economics, the five-term former chair of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan. Here in Canada, the Conference Board of Canada has recently released two studies on inequality, funded by 24 influential corporations. The studies warn, “High inequality can diminish economic growth if it means that the country is not fully using the skills and capabilities of all its citizens or if it undermines social cohesion, leading to increased social tensions. Second, high inequality raises a moral question about fairness and social justice.”

    • Ending the Moral Rot on Wall Street, Part 2: William D. Cohan

      Can it be true that the trillions of dollars we spent bailing out Wall Street only restored the deeply flawed status quo, instead of bringing about the fundamental system overhaul we needed?

    • Allstate Sues Goldman Sachs Over Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) was sued by Allstate Insurance Co. over the sale of more than $100 million worth of residential mortgage-backed securities that the insurer claims the bank itself called “junk” and “lemons.”

      Allstate asked for damages including the lost market value of the securities, plus principal and interest payments in the complaint filed today in New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Damning 2007 letter asserts that phone hacking was an open practice at News of the World

      Clive Goodman, the News of the World royals reporter who resigned in disgrace, wrote a letter to News International’s HR department four years ago asserting that the editorial staff of the NoTW knew about the phone hacking, that it was discussed at editorial meetings, and that Andy Coulson — UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s ex-media advisor — was active in these discussions. It also calls into question Rupert and James Murdochs’s testimony to Parliament that they hadn’t been aware of the practice.

  • Censorship

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Waffle House Shoots Down Rapper’s ‘Waffle House’ Hip-Hop Song

        J.R. Bricks recently signed with Block Starz Music LLC, a German-American digital imprint that was reportedly bought by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation in April.

        This single, previously titled “Waffle House,” drew the unwanted attention of the legal counsel for WH Capital, LLC and Waffle House Inc., the owners and licensee of the Waffle House trademarks.

        The lawyers sent off a cease and desist letter, claiming J.R. Bricks was improperly using the restaurant chain’s image without proper permission.

    • Copyrights

      • Righthaven CEO Explains Losses: ‘We’ve Blazed Some Trails; There Are Differences Of Opinion’

        With Righthaven being told to pay attorneys fees yet again, we were curious if Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson would stand behind his earlier claims that judges mostly supported Righthaven, but were just providing “guidance” to less careful competitors. While he isn’t going that far, in an interview with Joe Mullin at PaidContent, Gibson continues to pretend that Righthaven hasn’t been beaten up nearly as badly as it has.

        First, Gibson claims, as Righthaven has been arguing in court lately, that if a court rules (as they have been) that Righthaven didn’t have the copyrights in question when it sued, then it’s “just” a “jurisdiction issue” and, therefore, the court cannot then rule on the further merits of the case and should not award attorneys’ fees. That’s a rather interesting way to avoid acknowledging what appears to be a form of fraud. It seems pretty damn clear from multiple rulings that the courts do not consider this merely a “jurisdiction” issue, but rather an attempt to deceive the court system and use it to force people and organizations to pay up. Either way, Righthaven seems to be gearing up for an appeals court challenge on this issue.

Techrights in the Mainstream

Posted in Site News at 2:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Recognition of the impact of this Web site

EARLIER this week I was retweeted by Wikileaks, last night the Wall Street Journal approached me for a comment having gathered information from Techrights (regarding a patent troll), and this morning we were cited by this investigative piece from Oxford University Press about the Gates Foundation, concluding that: “Perhaps the lack of criticism by public health professionals is due to conflict of interests arising from the ubiquitous and large amount of foundation funding for public health programs and researchers. Public health professionals and organizations may be fearful of loss of funding or denial of application for funds for criticizing the foundations. Because foundations are sometimes in partnership the reaction to such critical analysis could easily diffuse across foundations and put a critic at risk at multiple foundations. Some philanthrocapitalists are sensitive to criticism and find it incredulous that anyone would consider them anything other than heroes whose financial and technological innovations they believe represent the future. They isolate themselves and become more closely associated with the other wealthy around the world than they are to average members of society and to their own country, and seem to scorn the middle class.”

We are going to return to covering the Gates Foundation in months to come. Even When Microsoft is virtually gone, the sociopaths remain out there in the wild (see Elop for example). If we stop caring, they win.

A Demise of the Patent Plot Against Linux

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 1:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apples in basket

Summary: As misconceptions about the patent systems get removed and Google’s patents heap expands massively, a ban of Android devices proves counter-productive to Apple and there appears to be a growing push for reassessments, even from Google

JUDGING by the news, patent unrest has become part of the national debate and agenda. As always, lobbyists try to reverse this trend.

Microsoft Florian is still up to old tricks (see the comments too) and his lobbying agenda provides new distortions from a former Microsoft lawyer who helps distract from analyses of the Motorola deal. A known foe of the patent systems writes:

So let’s get this straight. Apple and Samsung are suing each other, while Apple relies on another division of Samsung for key parts. Apple and Microsoft–and apparently RIM–are using patents aggressively to stop competition, despite each having been hammered hard by others (including patent trolls) for patent infringement. Google, who seems to want patents for defensive purposes, lost out on the Nortel patent shield (acquired by its competitors Apple, RIM, Microsoft, etc.), but has paid billions of dollars now for patents from IBM and even from Motorola (recently its patent enemy), and may pay more for Interdigital’s patents–in a continuing escalation of the patent war in the smartphone segment of the market.

It all helps substantiate calls for a fix to the patent system, which has become a tool for Apple’s litigation and blocking of competition. Giga Om indicates that Apple’s embargo attempts are failing because the claims are weak and Apple’s fabricated 'evidence' can only make matters worse. Glyn Moody’s latest analysis goes along the following lines:

In the present case, that Community design [.pdf] consists of a drawing of a rectangular tablet with rounded corners and a border. That’s it: it’s as vague as a very vague thing can be, but apparently it’s enough to get Samsung’s tablet blocked in Europe because they, too, are rectangular with rounded corners and a border.

“The European Commission has created a monster here,” explains Moody, “one that most of us (myself included) didn’t even know existed. Clearly, this horror needs slaying before it starts marauding through the entire European economy, wreaking havoc on a scale that makes today’s patent litigation look like playground fistifcuffs.”

The Inquirer says that the ban has already been partially lifted and one GNU/Linux advocate notes that “[e]ventually Apple will have gained nothing from this litigation except some hefty legal bills.”

“The Android army marches on….”

Peter Köhlmann, a German GNU/Linux advocate, says: “The whole thing is a riot. It has been the *wrong* court from the start. If apple wanted to ban the device in Europe, there is exactly *one* court which is applicable: The Trade court in Alicante / Spain

“And for Germany the Düsseldorf court was also the wrong one, they must use the one in Frankfurt, because that is where Samsung/Germany is located.

“So expect a *very* costly decision for apple to chose the wrong court and, to top it a little, use manipulated evidence.”

With over 650,000 activations a day, Android is now making Linux very prevalent on mobile devices while the Microsoft-boosting cult promotes Microsoft’s patent propaganda book. How shameful. They just cannot advise people to buy Windows phones, so they try to assure Microsoft tax on Linux.

Google is meanwhile exploring routes to defanging patent trolls, which Motorola’s patent portfolio cannot be effective against. Katherine Noyes uses the whole case to say that this is why we need to kill all software patents. “If there’s any lesson to be learned from Google’s news-making activities these past few days,” she explains, “it’s that software patents are a problem.”

“The most recent illustration, of course, is Google’s $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola Mobility, clearly a strategy for gaining the latter’s considerable catalog of patents.”

Mike Masnick adds that startups needing patents is a myth too:

While I’m not as much in agreement with the crew of folks who likes to separate out “software patents” from the rest of the patent system (the whole system is broken), I can see serious problems with the way that “software” is patented these days. I tend to think that the fix isn’t to carve out software patents, but to fix the whole system itself. Still, if we look at what are generally considered software patents, it does seem clear that they are doing tremendous damage to the industry and innovation as a whole — and thus are very much in violation of the Constitution’s patent clause which only allows for a patent system if it “promotes the progress.” Tim Lee points us to James Besson’s most recent paper, in which he analyzes a generation’s worth of software patents and shows how such little most in the software industry actually seem to want patents. In fact, it’s mostly those outside of the industry who obtain software patents.

Patently-O joined this debate about software patents by pointing out that:

In an important decision, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has rendered many broadly written software patents invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 as interpreted by Bilski v. Kappos, 130 S. Ct. 3218 (2010). Most patent decisions involve questions of whether an invention is obvious under 35 U.S.C. § 103(a) or sufficiently described under 35 U.S.C. § 112. Section 101 asks a slightly different question – whether the patented invention is the type of innovation that properly fits within our patent system. In language virtually unchanged for over 200 years, Section 101 indicates that a patent should be awarded to the inventor of “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.” Over the years, courts have repeatedly held that Section 101 bars the patenting of ‘laws of nature, physical phenomena, and abstract ideas.’

So that ought to exclude mathematics, which is what a lot of software essentially implements at a lower conceptual level.

The USPTO says it has granted 8,000,000 monopolies on ideas so far. Does that actually promote progress or only an illusion of advancement? At Microsoft, patents used for vapourware is still the modus operandi, perhaps for PR purpose. Everything for mobile patents blackmail and Windows 8 hype. Hopefully the next version Windows will emulate the mobile platform and suffer a similar fate. It seems like neither Apple nor Microsoft could face Android without some legal harassment, and that too is ultimately failing because Google found armament opportunities. Interesting times ahead.

Ignorance Impedes Free Software Adoption

Posted in Europe at 1:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Romania

Summary: Short update from Romania regarding its procurement mistakes

EARLIER this month we wrote about procurement issues in Romanian authorities, which were later acknowledged and explained by Glyn Moody who now adds:

This is ridiculous – whoever put this together clearly doesn’t understand free software. As I noted before, since this system would not be distributed, there is no requirement to release the source code. This means that it would be no different from closed-source software, with no “risk” of code being altered.

Whatever the real reason, the excuses being offered for Romania’s bizarre behaviour are simply unacceptable.

Read the whole post and see what one might think. This is an important systemic problem which applies to many countries.

OpenSUSE Watch: Not Much Amid Linux Events

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenSUSE, SLES/SLED at 1:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft’s mule

Mule

Summary: A brief progress report about SUSE’s pet project, which helps sell Microsoft-taxed GNU/Linux

OPENSUSE is the child of SUSE, the dependent partner of Microsoft. There has been very little news about the project recently, maybe half the amount of news compared to the same period last year. Someone asked us in IRC this week whether OpenSUSE was going to die. The answer was “no” because OpenSUSE is mostly a trademark for SUSE to organise developers around and rally volunteers with.

Among the latest blog posts about OpenSUSE there’s this remark on the project’s KDE leaning. An approaching release is still in the works and ‘flavours’ are officially released. The latest release is “a Linux distribution that provides parents, students, teachers as well as IT admins running labs at educational institutes with education and development resources for their needs. Edu Li-f-e is based on openSUSE 11.4.”

Michal Hrušecký writes about the OpenSUSE conference which is coming quite soon. There is also this OpenSUSE summary of the Desktop Summit which is now finished. On the technical side, nothing is new. There is not even marketing.

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