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08.26.11

Links 26/8/2011: Twenty Years of Linux Celebrated, KDE SC 5.0 Foreseen

Posted in News Roundup at 6:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Getting Connected to Illinois State University ISUNET from Linux

    Me: “I need the manual configuration instructions for ISUNet.”

    Him: “Are you sure? Are you running Windows or Mac?”

    Me: “Linux.”

    I was slightly surprised at this point, normally saying that “L” word to customer support for tech trips them up a whole lot, this guy seemed to know his stuff though.

    Him: “Oh, well the setup will vary with your system – but what you are looking for is WPA2 Protected EAP (PEAP) in your security settings. Once there just use your ISU login for the user name and password.”

  • A Windows user’s guide to Linux

    This is your first step. Linux is not homogeneous like Windows or OS X. Linux comes in a range of different versions, called “distributions”. The majority of the underlying code in each of these distributions is the same with most of the differences being in the interface and some of the management tools. Choosing the right distribution can be tricky, especially as there are literally hundreds of versions of Linux available. Fortunately most of those you can forget about, for now. What you need is an easy to use version of Linux, which leaves you with a short-list of Ubuntu, Fedora, OpenSuse, Mandriva and Linux Mint. Picking one of these will make you life easier as they are all easy to install and pretty simple to maintain.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • As Linux Turns 20, Hopes and Wishes for Its Next 20 Years
    • What We Know For Sure on Linux’s 20th Anniversary

      Today, the Linux kernel is the most pervasive piece of software in all of computing. It runs the world’s stock exchanges, transportation systems, consumer devices, smart grid technologies, 90 percent of the world’s supercomputers and much, much more.

    • March of the Penguin: Ars looks back at 20 years of Linux
    • The history of Linux

      When Linus Torvalds released Linux 0.01 on the internet 20 years ago, his idea of a free Unix clone to which anyone could contribute touched a creativenerve in people. Today, it would be impossible to imagine an IT world without Linux.

      It has been twenty years since Linus Torvalds programmed the first few lines of what would become the Linux kernel. An IT student at the time, Torvalds wasn’t yet thinking of an operating system, he just wanted to explore the capabilities of his PC’s 386 processor. Eventually, his memory management, process switching and I/O experiments developed into something that resembled a rudimentary operating system kernel.

    • Twenty years of Linux
    • Twenty Years of Linux according to Linus Torvalds

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, started the celebration of Linux’s 20th anniversary at the Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit, but when is Linux’s real birthday? Is it August 25th, when Linus announced the project? October 5th 1991, when 0.02, the first public release was made? I decided to go straight to the source and asked Linux’s creator, Linus Torvalds.

    • At 20, Linux is invisible, ubiquitous
    • As Steve Jobs Steps Down, Linux Turns 20: Which Changed the World More?
    • Linux Turns 20 Today—And Shut Up, Yes, It Still Matters

      Your TiVo? Linux. Along with a lot of the other cable and set top media boxes you might have stuffed under your TV.

      The New York Stock Exchange? The whole shebang runs on a cluster of HP Linux boxes. Those boxes are more important than the ones under your TV.

      Google something. Go ahead! That search? Executed on servers running customized Linux.

      That ATM you withdrew cash from last night? An increasing number are using a Linux variant.

      And of course, there is the tremendous number of servers powered by Linux that run the websites you frequent daily.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The Sad State Of GPU Drivers For BSD, Solaris

        Developers on the mailing list and end-users (in the forums) have been largely positive about this move to drop the aging and not actively maintained Mesa code. The only developer actively objecting to stripping out the old code is Luc Verhaegen. Michel Dänzer raises a (minor) interesting point though, “DRI1 is basically the only reason for the r300 and r600 drivers to still live in the light of r300g and r600g, but I believe they (along with radeon and r200) are still pretty far from dead on non-Linux OSs.”

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Five Things the Enlightenment Desktop Does Best

      I am a huge fan of the Enlightenment desktop. The following items in this post are things I believe the Enlightenment desktop (and it’s developers) are doing better than some of the other open source desktops.

    • Linus Ditches KDE and Gnome (so what?)
    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KMail – A Different Kind Of Email Client For KDE
      • Aaron Seigo talks about the KDE SC 5.0 – and more

        Applications and workspaces will follow the frameworks – Plasma Active’s influence and why the traditional desktop won’t be killed by the mobile space

        After years of focusing on further improving KDE4 two weeks ago the developers of the free desktop announced the next big step for their project: KDE Frameworks 5.0. But as long-time developer – and Plasma team leader – Aaron Seigo points out in an interview with derStandard.at/web, the source-incompatible changes shall be held to a minimum, making it easy for developers to port their applications. He goes on to explain that Frameworks 5.0 is only the first step and new Applications and Workspace releases are to follow later, talks about Plasma active and further areas of collaboration with the other big free desktop: GNOME.

      • Testing out Amarok 2.4.3′s Dynamic Playlists

        I’ve spoken about Amarok’s Dynamic Playlists before. Despite my best attempts, I couldn’t quite get it to work correctly. However, Amarok 2.4.3 has revamped the dynamic playlists engine and interface, so I wanted to check it out and see if it worked better as well as testing out some of the new features. For one thing, they changed the interface to more closely match the interface for static playlists. See:

      • Flash 11: It contains a kcmodule for KDE !
  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • IPFire open source firewall improves network throughput

        The IPFire project has announced the release of an update, Core Update 51, to version 2.9 of its IPFire open source firewall. According to Project Leader and developer Michael Tremer, the latest update addresses several security issues in the Linux kernel – Core Update 51 is based on the 2.6.32.45 longterm Linux kernel – and improves the distribution’s overall stability and performance.

      • Arch Linux moves up to Linux 3.0

        The Arch Linux team has released the first new all-in-one update for its minimalist, rolling-release distribution in 15 months. The Arch Linux 2011.08.19 installation media features support for Linux 3.0 and the syslinux bootloader, and offers experimental Btrfs and NILFS2 file-systems, and more flexible source-file selection.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Getting to Gold

        Today, in celebration of 20th birthday of Linux, we totally freezed Mandriva 2011 repository. No more additions, no more fixes, no more anything. We started the final countdown till “copying to gold”.

    • Gentoo Family

      • Digging deeper with Gentoo Linux

        Gentoo is not like other Linux distribution. The Gentoo swims faster than other penguins, and dives deeper. Where more fashionable distributions worry about fast installation and ease of use, Gentoo worries about efficient compilation and degrees of customisation. Richard Hillesley explains its history.

        Gentoo is not about ease of use or making installation easier for the new user. Computers are what you do with them, and most users have little or no knowledge of how their systems are put together, and care even less. Gentoo is for the users who want to reach under the hood, get their hands dirty, and learn.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat and Telstra Partner to Bring Enterprise Solutions to the Cloud
      • Finnish City of Kankaanpää Cuts Project Hardware Costs by 50 Percent with Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization
      • Red Hat will move to downtown Raleigh

        The two biggest corporate and real estate stories in the Triangle converged Thursday as software maker Red Hat agreed to occupy one of Progress Energy’s two downtown Raleigh office towers.

        The deal will bring hundreds of high-paid technology workers downtown and help offset the job losses that are expected to occur as a result of Progress’ merger with Charlotte-based Duke Energy.

      • Fedora

        • Free as in sake: The story of Koji

          Koji is an open source build system. While many are familiar with Koji because of the Fedora Project’s use of it, Koji is a generic system that is used by different groups around the world.

        • Who uses Fedora as a server?

          Is Fedora really not a good choice for a server? I think it all depends on the situation. But first, let’s try to figure out what are the requirements for a distribution to be called server-worthy.

          Some things that servers require are: stability, security updates, mature software, long-term deployment, support, no incompatible changes, point-in-time release, etc. But what do these attributes really mean? Stability means that the server performs well, without unexpected and unknown issues causing downtime. Timely security updates must be provided in forms of package updates, etc. Mature software is one which has been pounded upon by many, many users in different environments and has performed well. Long-term deployment means that if you plan to deploy your server for many years, it should be able to handle the length of time without needing constant attention. Support includes software and knowledge support: can you find people to help you if something does go wrong? No incompatible changes refers to package updates, where no major functionality changes are made. Point-in-time release means fixing the design of your server, from hardware to OS to applications; if a package is at major version 1.2.3 then it should remain at 1.2.3 (it could be 1.2.3.1 or 1.2.3.10 but always 1.2.3) and not become 1.2.5 or something newer when an update is applied.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 11.10 (So Far) Screenshot Tour

            So here we are in the thick of the Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot development cycle, and I am really excited about the progress that is being made. I thought it could be interesting to show off some of the work that is going on with a quick screenshot tour.

            This cycle has been very much focused on integrating GNOME3 into Ubuntu and focusing on fit and finish both at a software and design level on Unity and it’s components. The goal with Ubuntu 11.10 is to build on the accomplishments in Ubuntu 11.04 and to continue refining the experience.

          • Ten things to do after installing Ubuntu (humor)

            There’s nothing you need TO DO after installing a new Linux distribution. Ubuntu, as well as many of its counterparts, offer a complete common experience, with a very decent set of programs, tools, drivers, and aesthetics. In recent Ubuntu versions, you get to install codecs and updates while installing, so there’s even less fuss. A handful of useful applications has been removed from the default installation, like GIMP, but then, it’s not meant for everyone out there. Regressions must never happen, but then again, this applies to every distro out there.

          • Ubuntu Development Update
          • Minimized Window Thumbnails in the Switcher
          • Running Wayland On Ubuntu 11.10

            It’s approaching the one-year anniversary of when Mark Shuttleworth announced Ubuntu is going to deploy Wayland with Unity, eventually. As those know that pay attention to the continual flow of information from Phoronix regarding the next-generation Wayland Display Server and Linux graphics drivers in general, it’s being developed at a brisk pace and with several key open-source projects now betting big on its adoption, but how’s it playing in the soon-to-be-released Ubuntu 11.10?

          • Distro Breakdown in the Netflix/Linux Petition

            Ubuntu 11433 69.2%
            Fedora/RH/CentOS 1600 9.7%
            Mint 1092 6.6%
            Arch 891 5.4%
            Debian 856 5.2%
            SuSE 596 3.6%
            Other 50 0.3%

          • Ubuntu 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot frozen

            Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot” has been frozen: now that the beta and user interface (UI) freezes have been announced, any further changes to the range of new features or user interface will require explicit approval by the release team. However, bug fixes will continue to be accepted so that they can be integrated into the forthcoming Beta 1 of Ubuntu 11.10, which is now being finalised. The first beta is scheduled for release next Thursday (1 September).

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Quick Look at Bodhi Linux 1.1.0

              A lot has been written about Bodhi Linux in its short existence. Bodhi appeared out of nowhere not even a year ago it seems and quickly gained followers aplenty. Usually there’s a good reason for something like this. So much has been written in such little amount of time, I’m not going to go into all the aspects of this little distro, for example that Bodhi means Enlightenment, a nice word play on the default desktop environment of choice E17, just a quick look.

              Actually, mentioning or for that matter running Bodhi without this desktop would make little sense as it is its sole purpose to bring us a nicely customized and integrated Enlightenment desktop that the lead developer and founder Jeff Hoogland evidently is so fond of. This is tightly wrapped around a Ubuntu 10.04 LTS core with an updated 2.6.39 kernel in 1.1.0, a good choice that guarantees utmost stability, at least in Ubuntu terms, and steers clear of potential pitfalls later versions might have introduced with all the upheaval moving from Gnome to Unity. Thus, after almost all earlier releases were test releases, this latest one promises a degree of maturity, which is probably underscored by the fact that it hasn’t been updated for nearly three months, which for the Bodhi project is a long time.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • SKorea building new Open-Source OS for smartphones: report
      • Android

        • Android is on fire

          Because Linux is free software and belongs to no-one, it is often assumed that Linux is “surrounded by legal uncertainties,” but Linux is no more or less prone to legal uncertainties than any other software. Richard Hillesley looks at the latest attempt to cast fear, uncertainty and doubt around the GPL and the Linux kernel…

          The Linux kernel is released under the GPLv2. The GPL was devised as a means of enhancing and protecting the freedoms of the user, the coder, and the code.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • $200 Android tablet features 1.2GHz Cortex-A8 processor

        X10 has begun selling a seven-inch Android 2.3 tablet for $200. The X10 AirPad has a 1.2GHz, Cortex-A8-based Rockchip 2918 processor, 4GB of flash storage, a seven-inch, 800 x 480 pixel capacitive display, a two-megapixel camera, plus an HDMI output delivering 1080p, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • New Options Available for Mobile Open Source Apps on USB Drives

    Are you using a pocket USB drive to store applications and backup data? If not, the time is ripe to do so. You can get entire sets of useful open source applications in one download for free on a USB Flash drive, and the drives themselves offer a lot of capacity now for very little money. Here are just a few good, free resources you can take advantage of with a pocket USB drive and a few minutes to do a download.

  • TransferSummit: Evolving open innovation in software

    In the first of a short series of articles introducing the upcoming TransferSummit in Oxford, Ross Gardler and Sander van der Waal explain the principle of open innovation and how this applies to free and open source software.

  • HP Should Put WebOS into the Open Source Pot
  • Modders offer bounty for HP TouchPad Android port – Update

    Following the recent fire sale of HP’s TouchPad tablet, members of the Hack N Mod hacker and modder community have setup a cash bounty for the first functional port of Google’s Android OS to replace the default Linux-based webOS mobile operating system. The Hack N Mod prize is intended to “speed up the porting process” and is currently valued at a total of $1,500.

  • HP’s webOS Decision Sends Shock Waves Through Developer Community
  • Events

    • Desktop Summit: Claire Rowland on service design

      When thinking about user interface design, many will focus on the application itself, but Claire Rowland, an interaction designer and researcher, looks at things a bit differently. She came to the Desktop Summit in Berlin to describe “service design”, which encompasses more than just the interface for a particular application. Looking at the service that is being provided, and focusing on the “touchpoints” for that service, makes for a more holistic view of interface design. That will become increasingly important as we move into a world where more and more “ordinary” devices become connected to the internet.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Rapid Release Process

        Recently Mozilla implemented a rapid release process, where we release a version of Firefox every 6 weeks. This has involved changing a number of our processes. It’s also raised some new issues. For example, some enterprises find the idea of rapid browser change to be disconcerting at best and potentially unmanageable at worst. Add-on compatibility is another. I acknowledge these issues are complex and difficult. There is work to be done to make the rapid release process smoother and hopefully more useful to more of our userbase. I’d like to describe why I believe the rapid release process is important enough to pursue despite these difficulties.

      • On Second Thought Firefox Will Keep Its Version Numbers
      • reactions, thoughts, comments, etc.
      • That UK.gov Firefox cookie leakage snafu explained

        If you’ve used the latest version of Firefox to visit a UK government website in the last few weeks, you may have noticed something unusual in the browser address bar.

  • Databases

    • Can PostgreSQL pickup where MySQL left off?

      EnterpriseDB, a provider of enterprise-class products and services based on PostgreSQL, today announced Postgres Plus Cloud Server, which the company has billed as “a full-featured, Oracle-compatible, enterprise-class PostgreSQL database-as-a-service for public and private clouds with support for Amazon EC2, Eucalyptus, Rackspace, and GoGrid.”

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Does Some Open-Source Good With TTM

      While Oracle is most often criticized since their acquisition of Sun Microsystems for shafting the open-source community, in particular for OpenOffice, MySQL, OpenSolaris, and other projects, not everything they do is bad for open-source and Linux. They have VirtualBox, various kernel developers, Chris Mason works for them on Btrfs, etc. They also still employ some graphics developers. One of these developers for some time now has been working on improving the GPU memory management situation in virtualized environments.

  • Healthcare

    • Open source continues to thrive in health care

      As the Linux kernel celebrates its 20th anniversary today, the impact of open source and free software in broad areas of technology continues to be felt. A new report from Black Duck Software reveals that in the health care sector, the number of open source software projects has risen by 31 percent since last year.

      According to Peter Vescuso, Executive Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, open source software projects are accelerating the pace of software development in the health care industry, which is typically a slower-moving sector than other technologies, such as mobile.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • New interface for Nagios fork, Icinga 1.5

        The developers behind Nagios fork, Icinga, have released version 1.5 of the open source monitoring package. Icinga 1.5 has a new user interface which includes a pre-installed integrated reporting tool, a guide to which can be found on the Icinga wiki. It is based on Jasper Reports and includes 20 frequently used templates, such as a list of available services and the top 10 problematic hosts or services.

  • Open Hardware

Leftovers

  • Quitting With No Notice

    Apple may or may not change without Steve. Assuming he was OK with suing the world instead of innovating, I won’t miss him. If I were his employer, I would not mind him quitting with no notice. I would say, “Good riddance!” Perhaps his replacement will realize that having half the world hate the company is not good for business. Think of all the people loving Android who see their “fix” in terms of importations from the Far East jeopardized by groundless legal suits. Are they ever going to feel the same about Apple? Nope. Cross Apple off their shopping list forever. How about the suppliers of Android/Linux hardware components? Are they going to want to support Apple when Apple is trying to take away their livelihood? Nope. What about the many distributors of Android/Linux? One even asked the US president to block the ITC on this. What about Google? Is Google ever going to want to cooperate with Apple on anything after 2011? Nope. Apple is sawing off the limb on which it rests, people being comfortable with Apple’s existence.

  • Apple’s Jobsless Future

    As a FOSS supporter, I’ve often found myself POd by actions taken by Steve Jobs, especially in recent months as he’s pulled out his patent portfolio and declared war on Android. However, I’ve never viewed his actions through the same lens I’ve used to see the anti-FOSS moves made by the likes of Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer or Larry Ellison. Indeed, I’ve always viewed Jobs as something of a kindred spirit and have understood that his commitment to protecting Apple has been brought about because he knows what it’s like to be ripped off by the likes of Microsoft. It’s happened to him in the past and he’ll be damned if he’s going to let it happen to him again. I like Jobs. I admire him. But he still pisses me off sometimes.

  • Mac Lion blindly accepts any LDAP password
  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Secrecy, leaks, and the real criminals

      Shane notes that the government’s censorship effort “amounts to a fight over who gets to write the history of the Sept. 11 attacks and their aftermath,” particularly given the imminent publication of a book by CIA agent Jose Rodriguez — who destroyed the videotapes of CIA interrogations in violation of multiple court orders and subpoenas only to be protected by the Obama DOJ — that touts the benefits of the CIA’s “tough” actions, propagandistically entitled: “Hard Measures: How Aggressive C.I.A. Actions After 9/11 Saved American Lives.”

    • Why IP Addresses Alone Don’t Identify Criminals
  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • Rothschild Is Now In TBTF Plunge Protection Business

      Following the already failed attempt by captured pan-European regulators to stop the local bank Friend-o treatment by instituting a short-selling ban, whose effectiveness as we pointed out lasted, oh, about 7 days, we find just what Plan B is. And, yes, Rothschild is involved. From the WSJ: “Societe Generale SA, whose shares have come under severe pressure in recent weeks, said Tuesday that it had signed a liquidity contract with Rothschild & Cie. to prevent excessive volatility in its stock price.” That’s right: Rothschild is now in the Plunge Protection business. And they all have the ECB to thank for it: after years of not learning from the New York Fed-Citadel Joint Venture, which “never” steps in at precisely the right time (wink wink), they have opened the market for third party PPT incursions. It only seems fitting that the bank that started it all, would step in and fill the void. Because after all if SocGen falls, Rothschild will sooner or later follow. That said, the official explanation is worth its weight in laughter: “The idea is not to keep the stock price high, but rather to keep it steady” a representative for Societe Generale said. After hearing such… brilliance… what really is there to say?

    • What’s Really Bugging Goldman Sachs Investors: The Ticker

      Late Monday afternoon, after word broke on Reuters that Lloyd Blankfein, the chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., had hired Reid Weingarten, the criminal defense attorney with an especially scary list of white-collar clients, Goldman’s stock plunged and the firm went into damage control mode.

    • Goldman Sachs VP Moonlighting as Issa Staffer, Working Hard to Make Elizabeth Warren Look Bad

      Think Progress had a fun story last week about Peter Haller, a former Goldman Sachs VP now working for Darrell Issa on the House Oversight Committee and advocating for the interests of the banks. Haller changed his name shortly before moving to work for the Oversight Committee.

      Now we learn that Haller was involved in the weak attempt by Patrick McHenry to embarrass Elizabeth Warren. Back in May, McHenry chaired a hearing with Warren and rescheduled the date several times, leading to Warren having to leave the hearing early. McHenry accused Warren of lying about the scheduling of the meeting.

    • USDA Signs MOU with Rockefeller’s Council on Foundations to Exploit Rural America
    • Inquiry over prisoners who painted home of ex-minister

Microsoft/Novell Software Patents Strategy Failed to Submerge Red Hat, Patent Trolls Do the Job Better

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Red Hat at 11:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ron Hovsepian and Steve Ballmer with red hats

Summary: Software patents pressure on Red Hat and how the strategy shifted over time; a fresh report that is hostile towards patents gets published by NPR, which recently exposed Microsoft’s patent troll

THE problem with software patents is being realised by many news avenues, even the ‘Microsoft press’ which at least raises questions in a new column stating: “I’m struggling with my feelings about software patents. Although software patents might not seem directly related to your career as a SQL Server professional, software and technology are the bedrock of everything we do and that SQL Server is based on. The future direction of software and patents has the potential to have a profound affect your life and career. Every technology professional should be exploring this topic and forming your own opinions so that you can participate in shaping the future of this debate. (I encourage you to make those opinions known to your elected officials.) Aggressive use of software patents, often on questionable claims, is beginning to have a negative impact on the technology business.”

And this comes from a person who makes a living from Microsoft, which is a strong proponent of software patents not just in the US; it hires lobbyists to spread such bad policies in other countries too. People who carry water for Microsoft ought to come to grips with it. Another fairly FOSS-hostile source at least raises the question, “Are Lawyers Destroying Software?”

“The general premise was, as both companies had software patents they could work together to exclude the competition, mainly Red Hat.”It is rather apparent that Microsoft and patent lawyers are not interested in the benefit to their surroundings. It is very much the opposite in fact as they strive to gain at the expense of their surroundings. In light of this, consider what Novell chose to do when it liaised with Microsoft on software patents. The general premise was, as both companies had software patents they could work together to exclude the competition, mainly Red Hat.

Although there are still people who carry water for Novell, the company is dead (this one YouTube upload still promotes a product/project that was already killed by Attachmate) and Microsoft has found a ‘new’ Novell over in China [1, 2, 3]. It ought to be emphasised that it’s all about proprietary (taking something free and sticking blobs in it), but Adrian Bridgwater asks: “Is Microsoft trying out this much more open stance in the Chinese market where the rest of the world won’t see it happen (just in case the company doesn’t like it) perhaps?”

It is not an “open stance”. There is nothing “open” about Hyper-V.

Sean Michael Kerner does a good job explaining that Microsoft’s patent deal with Novell did not hurt Red Hat (he also rightly calls this a patent deal). To quote:

In November of 2006, Microsoft entered into a patent covenant and interoperability deal with Novell. In 2011, Microsoft has renewed and extended that deal to SUSE Linux, which was spun off from Novell as part of Attachmate’s $2.2 billion acquisition of the company.

Across the last five years, Microsoft has acquired over $300 million worth of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) subscriptions for resale and now has the option for an additional $100 million with SUSE. The Microsoft Novell deal shocked the Linux world at the time it was announced and potentially represented a risk to others in the Linux market.

As it turns out, five years later, it’s a risk that hasn’t affected SUSE Linux’s rival, Red Hat all that much, if at all.

“Patents always come up in the same way that it always comes up for any piece of proprietary software,” Jim Whitehurst, CEO of Red Hat told InternetNews.com. “I don’t think it’s any different for us than it is for any other software company.”

Whitehurst explained that Red Hat provides patent indemnification to its customers. He added that Red Hat has also defended itself in lawsuits as have others in the software industry.

“The thought that it (patents) were somehow different for open source than regular software, that has gone away,” Whitehurst said. “I don’t ever hear from customers that there is some differential and they need to be more worried because the software is open source.”

[...]

Whitehurst said that he never hears from customers that they will choose SUSE over Red Hat for interoperability issues. Going a step further, one of the Novell Microsoft partnership customer wins that the two companies announced back in 2007 was a win with Walmart.

As we explained at the time and on other occasions, Microsoft’s COO Kevin Turner (very Linux-hostile) came from Walmart and Microsoft distorted this story about the Walmart deal. The FUD against Red Hat carries on as more patent trolls (some with Microsoft connections) carry on suing the company, e.g. Acacia a year after the Microsoft-Novell deal. One of the latest is MOSAID. We covered this at the time, but Professor Webbink looks at it more closely now. To quote his early analysis:

MOSAID Technologies, Inc. filed a patent infringement complaint [PDF] against Red Hat, IBM, Adobe, Alcatel-Lucent, Juniper Networks, NetApp and VMWare on August 10. The interesting thing about the complaint is that all of the defendants, except Red Hat, are sued under one patent, while Red Hat is the only defendant under the other patent. Why the actions under these different patents should proceed as a single action is beyond me, and I will be surprised if Red Hat doesn’t look to sever the complaint and proceed alone.

MOSAID is a Canadian company and a non-producing entity (yes, go ahead and call them a troll if you would like). Its sole business is to acquire and enforce patents, although it does claim to have developed some of its own patented inventions.

The patent asserted against Red Hat is U.S. Patent No. 5,892,914, entitled “System For Accessing Distributed Data Cache At Each Network Node To Pass Requirements And Data.”

As Pogson puts it:

I trust the judge will laugh this one out of court and send the troll the bill for cluttering up the court system.

The problem is, there are cases in the past where Red Hat paid patent trolls to just go away. NPR exposed Microsoft's network of patent trolls some weeks ago (over 1,300 proxies circling IV) and it’s not quite over yet because now comes the new report “Patent Wars Could Dull Tech’s Cutting Edge”. It says:

Some call it an international patent arms race: Tech companies like Apple, Samsung, Nokia and Google are launching lawsuits over competing patent claims related to smartphones and tablets.

As NPR’s Laura Sydell tells Morning Edition co-host Renee Montagne, companies are mounting takeovers aimed at gaining control of thousands of patents.

Google recently spent $12.5 billion to buy Motorola Mobility, a cellphone manufacturer with more than 17,000 patents. And as Sydell has previously reported, “patent trolls” are on the lookout for potential infringements and the payday that a lawsuit might bring.

They are doing a good investigative job despite Bill Gates putting money on their table for self-promotion (which they give him). The most major patent attacks on Google come from Microsoft’s cartel, alleges Google. I’s not a mere theory as there is far too much evidence, including leaked strategic documents.

Tomorrow’s Windows is Yesterday’s Computing, a GNU/Linux Catchup Job

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 11:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft copies more of KDE4, even several years after KDE 4.0 was released

IN ORDER to push aside discussions about the declining sales of Windows, Microsoft likes to bring up Windows 8, which we sometimes refer to as “Vista 8″ because it’s merely a succession of Vista, just a better-looking version of it. Technically, it is more retarded than predecessors (like a phone). It’s also a catchup job based on this Microsoft booster who admit that Vista 8 “will combine file download dialogue boxes into a single box, you’ll be able to stop and pause downloads, and rather than trying to estimate how long a download has left to run, the new operating system will instead feature a graph that shows the data transfer speed, transfer rate trend, and how much data is left to transfer.”

So basically, Microsoft copies KDE 4 about 4 years late. Back in 2005 or 2004 I found in the KDE sites (maybe KDE-Look) a suggestion for this in the form of a mockup, so the idea goes a long way before KDE4 development, even before KDE 4.0 was out.

Vista 8 will be little different above the surface (still mimicking GNU/Linux) and mostly the same under the hood, i.e. a slow piece of junk, especially for file transfers (I/O in Windows is notoriously poor). Some time in the future there will be a poor man’s (or woman’s) GNU/Linux and it will be called “Windows 8″. Can anybody explain what Windows can do that GNU/Linux cannot? We are talking about operating system features here, not applications. Real innovation happens in GNU/Linux; neither Apple nor Microsoft, which mass-market and take credit for other people’s work.

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Romania Under Pressure to Allow Free/Libre Software

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software at 10:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Romania scene

Summary: People of Romania stand up against corrupt procurement and the press is paying attention

FOLLOWING many complaints about rogue policy in Romania (Techrights motivated more exposure [1, 2, 3] as it may also be illegal), there are some news reports that apply more pressure for the Romanian government to get its thing together.

Fresh doubts have been cast over the Romanian government’s position with regard to open source. The minister for Communication and Information Society, Valerian Vreme, announced back in May that the government would recommend open source “wherever appropriate”; however, a tender from the government emerged in August that specifically prohibited the use of open source software in any offer made in response. Now, a report from OSOR.EU quotes several authoritative sources doubting the validity of the prohibition and whether “it would stand in court”.

The August tender concerned the development of an “Information System of Romanian Criminal Records (Rocris)”; this is in response to the EU initiative for the development of a European-level interoperable system, enabling the exchange of information on criminals’ previous convictions. The Romanian ministry maintained that it was this interoperability requirement that had forced it to ban the use of software published under a free software licence. It also stated that its own internal security policies “prohibit the existence of the possibility to amend the source code”.

Unacceptable policies cannot stand provided enough people know about them.

Someone from Romania sent us this bit of news a short while ago, saying that money for Romanian public IT projects does not go where it ought to. Let’s keep the pressure up.

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