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08.19.11

GNU/Linux Desktop Market Share

Posted in GNU/Linux, Site News at 6:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

20 years old kernel finds itself everywhere

Tux in money

Summary: The usage of GNU/Linux on the desktop is not as tepid as the corporate press has some people believe

WHEN this site was a lot younger and well before it required a cache server to offload pressure, monthly “market share” statistics were occasionally posted to show that about 40% of the visitors of the site use GNU/Linux. We have a wiki page about this subject, still. Many actually used SUSE, perhaps because we covered SUSE quite routinely.

After the DDOS attacks of 2009 we needed to move to a server which was not shared. Whenever people attacked the site this impacted some other sites. It was then that we lost cPanel and AWStats. Later in the year we also added server-level cache for handling the load and for protection against attacks (common around December of that year). This was not CMS-level cache, which continued to be used. Varnish basically divided, based on some criteria, requests that could be served from a local file (static) and those that needed to be passed for processing the usual way by Apache and the underlying CMS (with or without the database, depending on cache). The outcome of this was that statistics ceased to be meaningful. The logs contained requests from Varnish rather than from the users who accessed pages. Having said that, it is reasonable to speculate that about 40% of the visitors are still GNU/Linux users, putting Android aside.

What might be worth noting here is that there is a population bias that affects how people perceive the “market share” (usage) of GNU/Linux. Users of this operating system are drawn into niche sites that have a strong privacy policy and would not give away logs for the sake of someone’s business model. Moreover, there are uneven distributions of OS use, typically based on geographical and lingual factors. Those factors are rarely or never accounted for by quick ‘facts’ vendors that just use brute force to output some ‘magic’ numbers, never bothering to study the population in question.

The bottom line is, as far as a site like Techrights is concerned, GNU/Linux as a desktop operating system is massive. It keeps growing, too.

SUSE: A GNU/Linux Distribution From Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 6:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft SUSE

Summary: More allegations against SUSE but also a sense of blind forgiveness despite the patent deal with Microsoft

NOW that SUSE is financially dependent on (and subservient to) Microsoft, we safely make the suggestion that SUSE should be avoided, as we last stated last night.

“FOSS Force Staff” (probably Christine) writes about “SUSE” in relation to the question “Things to Call a Linux Distro from Microsoft”. We find it reassuring that other people recognise the problem with today’s SUSE because Aaron Seigo, for example, is cherishing technical aspects while putting aside the deal with Microsoft which he did complain about several years ago when Microsoft gave $100 million for SUSE to become its patent tax slave. As we demonstrated at the time, Novell's PR team had contacted several influential people -- Seigo included -- to ensure they do not write negative things about the deal with Microsoft. It was akin to censorship.

Where was the community when SUSE sold out to Microsoft last month? There was hardly a cry, but this probably because people don’t care about SUSE anymore. It is already well understood that it’s like Microsoft’s pet distro. As for Novell, it’s pretty much dead. Novell promotional videos from Novell and others [1, 2, 3, 4] still end up on YouTube these days, but many of them are no longer relevant. Novell wiped/took away Novell’s patents and now it takes away its distro, too.

Polish EU Presidency Still Helps American Multinationals Bring Patent Monopolies to Europe

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 6:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Polski

Summary: Bad news from Warsaw, which helps bring the US-style patent system into Europe

SEVERAL weeks ago we showed that some Polish politicians were doing a disservice to their country and to their continent too. Just to give a quick update on this, things are not improving as the push for a potential back door to software patents is being centralised around Warsaw:

“The Future Unified Patent Litigation System in the EU” is a one-day conference which is to be held in Warsaw within the framework of the Polish EU Presidency on 23 September 2011. According to the conference website, the basics are as follows…

[...]

The one-day conference will consist of three panels, in which judges, legal practitioners, academic experts and users of the patent system will be invited to give their perspectives on the following issues:

* The draft agreement on the Unified Patent Court: Effectiveness and flexibility

* Overall architecture of the future Unified Patent Court

* Conformity of the new patent system with the EU Treaties

This needs to be stopped. It’s an ocean of euphemisms that they use to disguise a very bad idea and override the constitution.

This is not the fault of Poland. It the fault of few greedy politicians.

Discussions About the United States Court of Appeals on Software Patents

Posted in Site News at 5:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shield on floor

Summary: Debate over whether or not software patents are dying in the United States and, if so, which ones or what type

Mr. Masnick elaborates (in relation to this) on the demise of the system as we know it (a subject wrote about yesterday) and his analysis makes it into Slashdot. The general theme is software patent potentially dying in the States following an important ruling. The reality is, the ruling is applied to only an unspecified subset and such rulings can be ignored or reversed.

Timothy B. Lee has a less optimistic interpretation. To quote:

On Tuesday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected a patent on a method of detecting credit card fraud. The result was unsurprising, but the court broke new ground with its reasoning. Citing the Supreme Court’s famous rulings against software patents from the 1970s, the court ruled that you can’t patent mental processes—even if they are carried out by a computer program.

Of course, all computer programs implement mathematical algorithms that could, in principle, be implemented with a pencil and paper. So is this the end of software patents? Unfortunately not. The court ruled that the no-patenting-math rule doesn’t apply if the math in question complicated enough that “as a practical matter, the use of a computer is required” to perform the calculations.

Groklaw has a law professor telling us how to read it:

If you can do it in your head or simply with a paper and pencil, simply claiming to perform the mental task on a computer or over the internet or storing it on computer readable media will not make it patent eligible. That is the conclusion of the Federal Circuit in the recently decided case of Cybersource Corporation v. Retail Decisions, Inc. [PDF]

In its decision the Court reaffirmed the use of the “machine-or-transformation test” as one tool for assessing the patent-eligibility of subject matter, and then extended its analysis with the observation that mere mental tasks that are not tied to other patentable subject matter are not, in themselves, patent eligible.

Read on. Fascinating. Are we finally seeing a major breakthrough?

Katherine Noyes has become more active in the fight against software patents. In her second piece on this subject in recent days she quotes a fellow Canadian as saying: “The USPTO has allowed US businesses to descend into a depressing state of paranoia and mindless violence. The USPTO has issued thousands of worthless patents that can do $millions of damages per patent in legal fees and blocking commerce. … [Patents have] warped into weapons of mass destruction in the hands of corporations.”

Moreover, a new article has just been published to highlight the fact that patents are harming small businesses. Mainstream sources are finally starting to get it and they openly discuss the issue without descending to the self-justifying circle of patent lawyers. To quote part of the article:

The United States patent laws are supposed to keep the intellectual property developed by individuals or businesses from being used without compensation to the developer. Instead, these laws are being used to make money for patent owners who have no plans of actually developing the product.

They’re called patent trolls by technology CEOs in Silicon Valley and around the world. Patent trolls purchase patents from inventors and later use those patents to sue other companies who they say are infringing on the patent. Some patent trolls have tens of thousands of patents in their portfolio which can net them a lot of money, mostly from lawsuits that are settled out of court.

This is something which patent lawyers always benefit from. It is increasingly being pointed out that everyone else loses. The patent system as it stands cannot last for much longer. Unless it spreads to other countries, it will falter.

Arguments That Google’s Motorola Move Was Defensive (Amid Bidding War)

Posted in Google, Patents at 5:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shield

Summary: How Microsoft proponents use Motorola to daemonise Google and how patent trolls with Microsoft ties continue to hammer it on Google

THE PATENTS situation appears to be improving as the attacks on Linux become ever more feeble. Microsoft’s booster Matt Rosoff, whom we last mentioned some days ago for his Linux FUD, is trying to make Google seem unreasonable as part of the campaign Microsoft runs to portray Google as a patents zealot. The SD Times, often an apologist for Microsoft, pushes the Microsoft party line along with these big lies The poll from Red Hat’s Open Source Web site seeks to find out how people perceive the Google-Motorola deal. The comments may not surprise anyone.

Wired has this new piece which says: “We’ve already seen this play out once with Motorola. It’s easy to forget now that just a few weeks before Google stepped in to buy the company, investor Carl Icahn publicly and privately urged Motorola to sell off its patents, either for cash or by (again) splitting up the company.

“This put both Motorola and Google in an awkward spot: If Motorola couldn’t find a buyer, the company could be torn apart; if Google didn’t step in, they risked losing another patent bidding war. In the end, Motorola was able to negotiate a premium price, and Icahn now stands to pocket millions of dollars.”

It was arguably defensive.

Well, Icahn the bully was part of the problem and it is alleged that Google overpaid for the deal so as to prevent Microsoft and Apple, for example, from getting Motorola’s mobile patents. We might never know the full story, but there was mostly likely a bidding war.

Speaking of bullies, Niro the bully is said to be back as well, but he is hiding behind a new name. “Patent Troll’ is Back After Long Hiatus, With a New Name and New Patents,” says this headline of an article which states: “The Litigation Daily [a CorpCounsel sibling publication] can attest from hours of mostly-wasted research that “non-practicing entities,” or patent trolls, like to stay in the shadows—at least until they emerge to file an infringement suit. NPEs never have Web sites linking to critical articles about the origins of their business model. Their founders never pick up the phone and chat with reporters.

“Make that almost never.

“For Anthony Brown, CEO of a new NPE on the block called Cascades Ventures, notoriety may be an asset. The one-time Jenner & Block partner inspired former Intel in-house lawyer Peter Detkin to coin the term “patent troll” a decade ago, referring to Brown, his company TechSearch, and their lawyer, Raymond Niro of Niro, Haller & Niro. From the late 1990s until about six years ago, TechSearch helped to pioneer the art of buying up patents and using infringement litigation as a club to win licensing deals. In 2006, IP Law & Business dubbed TechSearch and Niro “the original patent troll.””

Detkin is now himself a patent troll (part of the world's biggest patent troll) and the problem with these entities is that they are like terrorists (also a term used sometimes in this context) in the sense that they have no home state and there is no obvious way to counter them geographically.

The world’s largest patent troll is said to be the company behind Lodsys and Google deals a blow to it. Quoting Groklaw:

On Friday, August 12, Google filed inter partes reexamination requests with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on the two patents asserted in patent infringement claims by Lodsys against, among others, several Android developers. The patents subject to these requests are U.S. Patent Nos. 7,222,078 and 7,620,565.

We have had a chance to review the reexamination requests, and after that review we believe Lodsys is in for a rough time. We have seen reexam requests before, but when we saw these, the above quote came to mind. Lodsys, you shouldn’t have brought a knife to a gunfight.

And for all of those naysayers who have shouted Google is not doing enough to protect Android app developers and that Android app developers should cave to the Lodsys demands, you need to reconsider your position.

Lodsys is attacking Android developers while Google is trying to abolish Lodsys’ patents. It was a pro-Microsoft lobbyist who not so long ago used the Lodsys lawsuits to daemonise Google, the victim. How typical.

Links – Microsoft Partner HP Exits the PC Business, Bilski Takes a Bite

Posted in Site News at 11:11 am by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

  • HP to Spin Off PCs, Eyes Software Purchase

    Hewlett-Packard Co., the world’s largest computer maker … has been aiming to lessen its dependence on lower-margin PCs, where growth has stalled as consumers flock to tablet-style computers like those made by Apple Inc.

    Microsoft dominates the low margin pile.

  • HP: Big Changes

    HP has proven there’s not much money in being M$’s partner in Wintel. Perhaps the next owner of the business will drive a harder bargain or even run GNU/Linux straight away… Either way this could cost M$ money or share.

  • HP Investor Relations

    HP will discontinue operations for webOS devices, specifically the TouchPad and webOS phones. The devices have not met internal milestones and financial targets. HP will continue to explore options to optimize the value of webOS software going forward.

    Was the purchase of Palm just to shut down webOS because it could have been a Wintel beater? The scant two years from Palm launch to HP trash can is suspicious and should attract anti-trust investigation. Apple made a ton of money off their non free mobile OS, HP might have too. Perhaps the final lesson, with Android taking over, is that non free software is just not profitable. Who knows, HP might go back to being an instrumentation company. The Pee Cee gig did not last very long.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • How Safe Are You? What Almost $8 Trillion in National Security Spending Bought You Really $11 trillion.

      Does anything remain of the international goodwill toward our country that was the one positive legacy of the infamous attacks of September 11, 2001? Unlikely.

      I’d say that the US has squandered most of its cold war good will too by attacking civil rights, torturing and spying on everyone, abandoning technical pursuits and free market competition in favor of patent colonialism and the big sell out to Communist China, all of which has wrecked US standards of living. Chernobyl was the beginning of the end of the USSR because it demonstrated deadly incompetence and criminal face saving. The even bigger bank “bail outs”, Deepwater Horizon and Fukushima are similar blows to US corporate influence. US government influence has been a joke for years because it is clear that the US government exists to please it’s biggest corporations.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • SEC shredded evidence of fraud.

      The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission violated federal rules when it destroyed investigative records over a 17-year period … Darcy Flynn, a 13-year-veteran of the SEC, decided to blow the whistle after learning the SEC had destroyed over 9,000 so-called “matters under inquiry,” [preliminary documents the SEC compiles when it receives evidence of possible securities violations] … the SEC destroyed files on important, high-profile cases, including Bernard Madoff, Goldman Sachs Group Inc, trading in American International Group Inc credit-default swaps, alleged frauds at Wells Fargo & Co and Bank of America Corp and insider-trading probes at Deutsche Bank AG, Lehman Brothers and hedge fund SAC Capital.

      This is one of those reasons we need sunshine laws and electronic public libraries. Copies of these records should be widespread and verifiable.

    • Warren Buffet has a nice essay about taxing the rich but he has his money sheltered unaccountably in the Gates Foundation
    • Ethanol subsidies a bust.

      For farmers like Schipper, and ethanol refiners, there will be little reason to mourn the end of the subsidy, arguing that the money went directly to the oil industry anyway.
      But campaign groups estimate it could lead to a slight drop in corn prices. “It won’t make a big difference for American farmers but it could make a huge difference for impoverished countries,” said Marie Brill, an analyst at ActionAid.

      Laws protecting markets against speculation have been undermined so the ordinary relation between supply and demand is broken. Thanks to GM, most corn contains insecticides that can’t be washed off so it might be better to burn it.

  • Anti-Trust

    • The CEO Which Turned Nokia From Master To Mistress Warns Of Google-Motorola Deal

      According to my observation the message Mr. Elop seems to be giving is: Nokia’s shutdown of MeeGo is OK, Microsoft’s repeated attack on Android players it OK, Spreading FUD via proxies (Edward J. Naughton, Florian Mueller) is OK, But if Google acquires Motorola to protect itself from the attacks of Microsoft that is not OK.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • How the Koch Brothers Funded Public-School Segregation

      Local reporters, some of whom are interviewed in the film, connected the push to eliminate busing with the philosophies of AFP and its funders. “They’re definitely pushing an agenda to resegregate these schools, but there’s also a real push toward privatization,” … The fact that millionaires can put hundreds of thousands of dollars into a local election and essentially deprive people of their rights, in many ways, and mess with their school system,” he [a film maker] says. “It seems to us one of the strongest examples of the really incredible way money takes away our democracy.”

    • Getting him to write a story about it … priceless.

      The reporter should not have mentioned brand names.

  • Censorship

    • BART Pulls a Mubarak in San Francisco

      BART said today that it had instituted the following rules, including: “No person shall conduct or participate in assemblies or demonstrations or engage in other expressive activities in the paid areas of BART stations, including BART cars and trains and BART station platforms.” What does that mean? We can’t talk?

      University and protest “free speech areas” which kettle up dissent effectively banned free speech outside of the areas. Now we see explicit violations of the right to assemble.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

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