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09.24.11

TechBytes Episode 61: Sebastian on Mageia and the GNU/Linux Desktop

Posted in TechBytes at 7:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

TechBytes

Direct download as Ogg (3:23:48, 44.1 MB) | High-quality MP3 (75.8 MB) | Low-quality MP3 (23.3 MB)

Summary: Techrights’ Sebastian and Roy talk about GNU/Linux distributions, Identi.ca, and Mageia’s 1-year anniversary

LAST night’s show covers GNU/Linux on the desktop with focus on Mageia. Sebastian joins us from the IRC channels, where he is a regular contributor.

We talk about what Mageia is, its relationship to Mandriva, Sebastian’s experiment moving from Ubuntu to Mageia, and then we play “Klezmer” by La Santa Cecilia. We talk about moving to/from GNOME 3 and Unity, noting Roy’s prior experience with Mandriva. “The Way It Is” by Kristyna Myles is then played and later begins a discussion about Mageia’s GUI and installer, the 1-year anniversary, and Identi.ca group (including something about polls). “Impossibly Beautiful” by Julie Feeney is played and then comes a long discussion about PCLinuxOS, Mandrake, Gaël Duval (and Ulteo), UnityLinux, etc. “I am” by Jones Family Singers closes this long show.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

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Links – Wintel OEM Revolt., Various Environmental and Civil Issues.

Posted in Site News at 4:50 pm by Guest Editorial Team

Reader’s Picks

Links 24/9/2011: Linux 3.1 RC7, Plasma Active OS

Posted in News Roundup at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux the harlequin.

    Meet Linux, Linux the harlequin. Linux wears a coat of many colours, is depicted as a bumbling fool and people love to laugh at it. This harlequin is called a clown, a fool, an idiot and looked upon with derision by people of “class”. This harlequin is ignored and just treated and thought of as simply background entertainment. In other words Linux the harlequin is not thought of as important at all and is generally underestimated.

  • Microsoft of old on Linux desktop, mobile and users

    I wrote recently about how Microsoft is now among the broadest supporters of enterprise Linux server, but when it comes to desktop PCs and laptops, mobile and converged devices and end users, Microsoft’s Linux support is a time warp back to 1998 when computers and their software were fused by proprietary sodder.

    Though probably not intended as one of the new Windows 8 features to be highlighted, recent reports indicate a boot requirement in Microsoft’s latest Windows 8 OS prevents booting of Linux.

    As a Linux user who has installed several different distributions on several different failed Windows machines, I’m concerned for a few reasons. One, it can be difficult to impossible to avoid the so-called ‘Microsoft tax,’ whereby Windows machines are purchased with the intention of installing Linux. Two, this is a serious limitation to the growing segment of users that like a dual-boot option with Linux. Three, what will happen to all of those PCs, laptops, netbooks and other devices after the Microsoft software becomes buggy, broken or outdated?

  • Supporting UEFI secure boot on Linux: the details

    An obvious question is why Linux doesn’t support UEFI secure booting. Let’s ignore the issues of key distribution and the GPL and all of those things, and instead just focus on what would be required. There’s two components – the signed binary and the authenticated variables.

  • UEFI secure booting (part 2)

    Microsoft have responded to suggestions that Windows 8 may make it difficult to boot alternative operating systems. What’s interesting is that at no point do they contradict anything I’ve said. As things stand, Windows 8 certified systems will make it either more difficult or impossible to install alternative operating systems. But let’s have some more background.

  • Delusions of M$

    The same will happen with tablets. A small, number about 60million will be shipped in 2011 but in 2012, the number could increase dramatically, about 300%. That means when “8″ is released, the installed base of GNU/Linux or Android/Linux or iPad tablets could be about 200 million. OEMs are not going to shift to the “tight margin” model that M$ imposes on PCs in the smart thingies. The newcomers will be making more than M$’s partners on small cheap computers than on “PCs”. By the end of 2012, consumers and businesses will know and love the small cheap computer and will turn up their noses at M$ offering small expensive computers.

  • Desktop

    • My minimalist setup

      My laptop is just a plain old Thinkpad W510 with a 15” screen running 1920×1080. I don’t have another monitor, I don’t have a desktop or a second laptop, this is it.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 3.1 (Part 4) – Drivers
    • Is Tux Still the Right Mascot for Linux?

      Apple has its self-explanatory fruity logo, Microsoft has its stained-glass banner, and Linux has its floppy, friendly, ever-cheerful penguin Tux as its team mascot. But after 20 years of existence, does Linux benefit from the Tux logo? Some say Tux is a perfectly fine way to represent Linux as a whole; others call it “cartoon-y” and prevents people from taking Linux seriously.

    • Linux 3.1-rc7

      I was supposed to do this on Monday, but it didn’t seem to be hugely pressing.

    • Linus releases dive tracking application

      If you have ever wondered what the creator of Linux does in-between working through the thousands of changes, corrections and new features for the next Linux release, the answer is simple: he writes software. Linus Torvalds has just released subsurface, a dive-tracking program designed after he found that “none of the dive log software worked for me”. The subsurface application runs on Linux and uses gtk2 for the GUI. It can process xml dive files or work directly with any dive computer supported by libdivecomputer.

    • Graphics Stack

      • XDC: How to bring in more contributors

        In my talk (or rather: structured discussion) “Methods of Attraction: How to bring in new contributors” on this year’s X.org Developer’s Conference I brought up reasons why open source projects often fail to attract new contributors, and some changes to help this.

      • A Major Rework To The X.Org Video Driver ABI

        One of the mailing list threads I’ve been trying to catch up on this week while at Oktoberfest is the heated discussion about merging video/input drivers back into the X.Org Servers. This discussion was started at the XDC2011 conference, but there’s many e-mails being exchanged from more parties not in favor of merging the drivers into the xorg-server tree or wishing to see other developmental process changes.

      • Last Call For The X.Org/Linux Graphics Survey

        Originally this annual survey was set to end on 20 September, but due to being busy with Oktoberfest, that deadline was forgotten about. As a result, there’s still time to participate.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Beta Testing Phase Beginning for Plasma Active OS

        The Plasma Active OS has been on Desktop and Netbook interfaces for quite awhile now. The exploration into a much wider range of devices that can utilize the Plasma interface is the goal of the current beta testing. By displaying the possibilities of Plasma OS to other devices through a beta run, the developers at KDE are targeting the largest pool of users possible.

      • Qt 5, KDE 5 To Be Written In C++11 (C++0x)?

        C++11, the new C++ ISO standard that was approved last month and formerly was known as C++0x, has been called to be employed by Qt and KDE as quickly as possible.

      • Developer and User Interaction

        A free software project such as the many projects under the KDE umbrella do not need users, they only need more developers. A user which is not able to develop is useless. Because of that it is totally acceptable that you demand that user’s should start learning programming to fix the bugs they report.

      • plasma active workshop: day 0

        The last couple of weeks have been ridiculously busy. Or, if you prefer (and I do): ridicubusy. On the personal side of life, I managed to squeeze in a two day paddle-and-camping trip the other weekend, played dinner host to Lawrence Krauss (made some of my favourite dishes, and one new one (for me, anyways): egg yolk ravioli), co-hosted a “Ready, Steady, Cook!” evening at the house along with S. All of that was enjoyable, and great breaks between the long hours of working on Plasma and general KDE “stuff”.

      • plasma active workshop wrapup
    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat signs giants to anti-VMware open-source project
      • Red Hat Puts On Its Growth Hat

        That was the takeaway from my exclusive phone interview with Red Hat (NYSE: RHT ) CEO Jim Whitehurst after the company reported second-quarter earnings last night.

        Revenue for the quarter tallied up to $281.3 million, up 28% year over year, while non-GAAP net income was $56.5 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, rising 53% from last year. Non-GAAP operating income jumped 41% to $76.4 million, resulting in an 18.7% operating margin. The company’s total deferred revenue balance, an important precursor to sales, rose 25% to $813.2 million and billings grew 30%.

        [...]

        Even Samsung is considering taking its mobile OS, Bada, open source next year.

      • Red Hat Shares — 3 Pros, 3 Cons

        In yesterday’s ugly market, only a few stocks were able to eke out gains. One of the standouts: Red Hat (NYSE:RHT). Its price was up 3% to $41.49.

        [...]

        So might the tough macroeconomic environment hurt Red Hat? Perhaps so. Yet the company has the advantage that its software is free. Consider that some of the hardest-hit sectors — such as financial services and the government — have shown continued demand for Red Hat’s services.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 16 Verne Beta Wallpapers

          Next, I’d like to remind you that in Fedora 16 we again have supplemental wallpapers and what’s more: since Fedora 16 all the supplemental wallpapers appear not only in GNOME’s and KDE’s wallpaper choosers but also in XFCE’s.

        • Taking the plunge!

          This post is exactly what it prommised. I have decided to take the plunge and install Fedora 16 Beta RC1 on my Desktop. (Before anyone starts on me I have the experience to run a beta on a production machine and have a backup O/S RHEL 6)

        • Fedora 16 Delayed by Two Weeks Too

          In his blog post referencing Wednesday’s Go/NoGo meeting, Williamson detailed some of the bugs causing another slip in the Fedora 16 release schedule.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android and Users’ Freedom

          To what extent does Android respect the freedom of its users? For a computer user that values freedom, that is the most important question to ask about any software system.

          In the free/libre software movement, we develop software that respects users’ freedom, so we and you can escape from software that doesn’t. By contrast, the idea of “open source” focuses on how to develop code; it is a different current of thought whose principal value is code quality rather than freedom. Thus, the concern here is not whether Android is “open”, but whether it allows users to be free.

          Android is an operating system primarily for mobile phones, which consists of Linux (Torvalds’ kernel), some libraries, a Java platform and some applications. Linux aside, the software of Android versions 1 and 2 was mostly developed by Google; Google released it under the Apache 2.0 license, which is a lax free software license without copyleft.

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Open Source Angles To Adobe’s Flash And Flex

    The recently launched Adobe’s Flash Builder 4.5 and Flex 4.5 have become an attraction for the developers. Although this version of the development tool is recently launched with an updater for multiscreen mobile support, the rave reviews of the product bear testimony to the fact that developers are willing to make the most of it. With Adobe Flash Builder, developers now have a single platform for developing highly expressive mobile applications that can be distributed via Android Market, Apple App Store and BlackBerry App World. Flash Builder 4.5 enables the creation of applications that work seamlessly across leading mobile devices platforms. These products provide developers with an opportunity to reach more than 80 million Android devices, BlackBerry Playbooks, iPads and iPhones.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Proposes 42-Week Release Cycle For Firefox in Businesses

        Mozilla has published a proposal for an extended support release (ESR) version for Firefox versions that are deployed in business environments. The extended release cycle is designed to alleviate the burden of the 6-week rapid releases and respective support cycles by replacing them with 42-week versions.

      • The biggest version number?

        There’s a lot of talk about Firefox’s ever-increasing version number, and it made me wonder: what piece of software has the biggest version number of all? A brief scan of my Xubuntu 11.04 box suggests than XTerm, at version 268, has the lead, although I’m sure there’s something bigger out there. And in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter – how good the software is, and for how long it is supported, is a bigger issue.

  • SaaS

    • A wise user judges each Internet usage scenario carefully

      Businesses now offer computing users tempting opportunities to let others keep their data and do their computing. In other words, to toss caution and responsibility to the winds.

      These businesses, and their boosters, like to call these computing practices “cloud computing”. They apply the same term to other quite different scenarios as well, such as renting a remote server, making the term so broad and nebulous that nothing meaningful can be said with it. If it has any meaning, it can only be a certain attitude towards computing: an attitude of not thinking carefully about what a proposed scenario entails or what risks it implies. Perhaps the cloud they speak of is intended to form inside the customer’s mind.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Bad-mouthing the Free Software Foundation

      What disturbs me is not the fact of the criticism, but how it is made. For one thing, it seems unrealistic. It’s all very well for Proffitt to say, as he did on Google+, that “I would hope that they would advocate the benefits of free software (of which there are many) without feeling the need to tear down everything else. Again.”

      But how, in practice, is the FSF supposed to approach subjects like Android in a positive light? While Stallman concedes that “the Android phones of today are considerably less bad than Apple or Windows smartphones,” Android obviously isn’t free software, although many people I talk to have the vague belief that it is.

      Obviously, a debunking is in order, but by definition a debunking is negative. In fact, how is the FSF supposed to discuss the matter at all, especially when any free software alternative to Android is so small and so unknown that any attempt to advocate it would automatically discredit itself?

    • Free Software’s Smelly Underpants

      In his “Off The Beat” blog at LinuxPro Magazine, Bruce Byfield wrote about what he called a “disturbing trend”, namely to criticize and otherwise bad-mouth everything that comes out of the Free Software Foundation. He mentioned other pundits and journalists like Brian Proffitt and Joe Brockmeier.

      For the record, I know and like everyone of these guys (Bruce, Brian, and Joe) and I really hate to see them fighting.

      Where was I? Oh yeah, the Free Software Foundation. The FSF has, as its founder and figurehead, the legendary Richard M. Stallman. Richard is a very smart guy with some strong feelings about what constitutes Free Software. He’s also the guy behind the GPL, the license under which the Linux kernel was released. That document, the GPL, deserves to be called ‘visionary’, helping to shape the world of FOSS as we know it.

  • Project Releases

    • Lightspark 0.5.1 released

      After over two months of work since 0.5.0 by a handful of developers, there’s finally a new release of Lightspark, the (other) open source Flash player. Unlike Gnash, Lightspark supports the AVM2 virtual machine and the newest versions of SWF files, while falling back to Gnash when it encounters SWF8 or earlier content.

  • Open Hardware

    • Ford Gets Geeky With Apps For Open Source Platform

      To realize this, the car company announced a partnership with Bug Labs to develop a new in-car research platform named OpenXC, earlier this week. [1] Ford also plans to introduce a socially-networked in-car fuel economy monitor connected to the Internet via Bug Labs’ cloud-based service, BUGswarm.

Leftovers

  • User influence on gigantic corporations

    It has come up many times, that the users of software products have the most influence over how these greedy and gigantic companies operate. Why? Because if users do not use and/or buy products, these companies could not and would not exist.

    Microsoft is probably one of the worst abusers of its consumers. Complex licensing programs are designed purposely to make customers overpay for licenses. Little to no discounts have been offered for upgrades, even for users that had already purchased Windows Vista for example, despite Microsoft’s declaration that Vista was a “mistake”. Secretly undermining the competition, using legal devices like software patents, so that users must go to Microsoft and pay royalties to Microsoft if they use non-Microsoft software. Vendor lock-in, where current customers are unable to use non-Microsoft software because their Microsoft products are incompatible and too expensive to migrate away from. Closely monitoring the software that its customers use, in order to keep them from installing the software on too many computers without paying more. And the list goes on.

  • Security

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • With ACTA, manipulation returns to the European Parliament

          A few years ago, an amendment making sure that parallel importation was not criminalised in the EU disappeared after it was adopted in the European Parliament. This summer, the Chairman of the International Trade committee (INTA), Mr Vital Moreira, rewrote a question the INTA committee asked the Parliament’s Legal Services regarding ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement). The INTA Chairman among others things left out a reference regarding parallel importation. Up until now, no member of the INTA committee questioned the behavior of the INTA Chairman. (See update below.)

With Failure to Reform USPTO, Grim Future for Patent Systems Worldwide

Posted in America, Microsoft, Patents at 9:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gearing up to patents on mental processes everywhere

Gears

Summary: How the powers-that-be keep pushing for patent tyranny of global scope and almost limitless scope for patenting, including very fundamental ideas implemented in code and in mind

BEFORE globalisation brings us all a US-style patent system we must prepare for a NAFTA-like stage where Europe tries to consolidate its patent offices and set up a centralised courtroom or court system, then merging it with the trilateral systems which already accepts software patents (the US and Japan). Unless people stand up and resist this, the process often seems inevitable and irresistible. Once passed, it will be irreversible too. Earlier this month we showed many cables about the diplomatic endeavours to make the global patent system an imminent reality (see our Cablegate page). Based on this post from patent lawyers: “That Unified Patent Court which has so divided opinion in Europe has been very much in the IPKat’s mind in recent days. The problem is that, while most people are either enthusiastic or at least accepting of the idea of having a Unified Patent Court for the European Union’s 27 Member States, many experts are anxious about the actual details and a simple Kat could be forgiven that everyone seems to want a different one.

“Anyway, the Draft agreement on a Unified Patent Court and draft Statute of 14 June 2011 has now been examined, weighed, measured, pondered, praised, criticised, printed out and converted into fleets of paper darts — and there is no doubt that there are some serious problems which remain to be resolved.

“Here in the United Kingdom, the grandly-named EU Patent Reform Consultation Group (concerning which see CIPA, August 2011, pages 488-490) formed a sub-group to examine the Draft Agreement. The sub-group did not consist of a bunch of conscripts who had been dragged from the drinking houses of Holborn, sobered up and then instructed to moan about the Draft Agreement; rather, it was a select gathering of some of the finest patent experts on this part of the planet — academics, practitioners, patent owners and even a blogger — most of whom are, it may gratifyingly be said, friends of the IPKat even if, as indicated, none of them has [recently, says Merpel] been dragged from any of the drinking houses of Holborn.”

Benjamin Henrion summarises the above as:

Comments on the Unified Patent Court by the patent microcosm, Tim Frain of MS/Nokia, LJ Jacob and al http://t.co/HVWmGWUX

“Unified Patent Court” would be better off called the “No-Escape Patent Court”. It’s a mechanism for filing lawsuits internationally with no safe haven and sovereign independence to separately evaluate legal cases. As long as the USPTO is a sordid mess, it will be a problem to every citizen of the world (either a customer or a producer).

Good ol’ Stephan Kinsella is preparing to hold an event about Obama’s so-called patent ‘reform’. We always use scare quotes because it is ‘reform’ that serves Microsoft, which already abuses the patent system to behave anti-competitively and according to this Microsoft-oriented view by Kurt Mackie from the ‘Microsoft press’:

Microsoft is among several larger tech companies who pushed for the change to “first to file” — but what will the Act’s passage really mean for the tech industry (and patents in general)? Patent attorney Carlos A. Fisher walks through the potential impact.

Patent lawyers probably like this new ‘reform’, whereas patent trolls might like it a lot less in the long term. “Innovation’s down, but patent trolls are thriving” is how the Washington Post summarised the situation and quoting the article, Benjamin Henrion (FFII) rewrites this as “Paul Marks catches IBM moving to patent the “well-known” idea of partitioning software to protect against malware”. This is not innovation. Microsoft is patenting password/authentication ideas right now, proving yet again that making something more secure is now a patent violation. How is that a good thing?

Microsoft is permitted to keep its extortion deals against Linux (making money from other people’s work) which Mr. Masnick criticises as follow:

So just what are the benefits of paying Microsoft a licensing fee for free software, especially when said software was not developed by Microsoft? If these quiet settlements are any indication, the sole benefit would be to avoid being dragged through the courts by one of the largest software developers in the world. Seriously, what other benefit is there? Is there a collection of patent trolls jumping at the chance to sue companies using Linux that have yet to surface thanks to Microsoft’s cradling licensing deals? Not that I have read about. The only patent holder jumping at the chance to sue over Linux is Microsoft itself.

Microsoft is going after embedded Linux, which is massive. John Dvorak chooses to mischaracterise Linux by pretending it’s just a desktop platform, but he does slam Microsoft for this behaviour:

This strategy needs to be stopped. Microsoft should immediately sue IBM, Red Hat, and other major Linux distributors. It should establish its supposed rights and stop playing games.

Microsoft has accumulated so many patentable ideas regarding its OS designs that it might be impossible to abide by all of them. However, there are ways to code around a patent, if someone actually knows what patent to code around. Microsoft has not exactly rolled out the portfolio for people to debate because it knows that this would be a bad idea. So instead, it uses its ability to act the bully and threaten the schoolyard kids.

To me, these dubious business practices follow those that got the company in trouble with the U.S. government during the Gates era. It seems as if nothing has changed.

Microsoft and its patent trolls very much like the status quo and as Groklaw points out, this whole ‘reform’ led to “A Rush To The Courthouse By Trolls”. To quote Professor Webbink:

One consequence of the passage of the America Invents Act (HR1249) signed into law by President Obama last Friday (September 16) was a mad rush to the courthouse by some patent trolls. You see, one of the favorite tactics used by patent trolls is to bring a suit with dozens of defendants regardless of whether there are common issues of infringement other than the commonality of the asserted patents. This tactic allows the troll to benefit from a consolidated action, thus drastically reducing the troll’s cost of litigation. Of course, this tactic doesn’t always work as we learned in the Interval Licensing case.

51 cases against 680 defendants is how bad it is based on Masnick’s summary and the “[q]uality of patents ‘falling dramatically’, warns OECD,” which works well for patent lawyers and harms everyone else. To quote:

Quality of patents ‘falling dramatically’, warns OECD

A book dealer friend once told me of an affluent American who walked into his London shop and asked if he could buy “20 yards of books”. It didn’t matter what they were, he announced airily, as long as they were leather bound they’d look good on the mahogany shelving in his new abode. Well, it appears such attitudes now dominate the thoughts of what we once thought of as innovators, as they treat patents as a similar commodity to be bought in bulk.

In summary, the US patent system remains very messy and there is no solution to this in the pipeline. Sooner or later the powers-that-be will try to impose this system on the whole world (which to an extent they already do).

IRC Proceedings: September 23rd, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

SUSE Delays

Posted in GNU/Linux, Novell, OpenSUSE at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Big clock

Summary: Bumps on the road for the only Microsoft-’approved’ distribution of GNU/Linux

IT HAS BEEN a long time since SLE* was last released. RHEL has a lot more releases and a lot more demand. A couple of years ago OpenSUSE reduced the frequency of releases and already we see retractions (as covered some days ago) and delays, according to the following summary which says:

In fact, Systemd is being removed from Tumbleweed as well. Greg K.H. said, “Due to a number of inter dependencies on packages that are not ready for Tumbleweed, and other interactions with the system that are causing problems for some users, I’m going to remove systemd from Tumbleweed today to allow the developers to spend more time on getting it stable for Factory and 12.1 instead of having to chase down problems that are specific to Tumbleweed only.”

Other issues are still up in the air as well:

- there are still 22 build failures in openSUSE:Factory:Staging:DtNeeded
- 11.4 artwork needs to go
- several kmps do not build: ndiswrapper, omnibook, vmpware-guest, xen, xtables-addons

Stephan Kulow summed it up by saying, “All in all I see no beta this week and next week SUSE has hackweek blackout ;(” It is believed the delay will not affect the final release date.

If the project continues to shrink, then more such delays will be expected. Several Microsoft-’approved’ (and Microsoft taxed) distributions have already died, leaving just SUSE.

To be fair to OpenSUSE, there are some non-Novell/Attachmate people in there, as demonstrated for example by those photos Andreas Jaeger mentions and the many assorted posts about the OpenSUSE Conference [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. Hackweek is coming too [1, 2]

“To never depend on SUSE is a good thing.”The problem with OpenSUSE it that it is still owned or controlled by Microsoft, by proxy. The promotion of Mono software often comes through OpenSUSE (the first to adopt a lot of it) and SUSE even has a special relationship with Xamarin, which promotes proprietary derivatives of Mono (core).

According to this new post, “recently we had a huge discussions at the conference about how openSUSE was faring in India and it seemed that India was not faring well. ”

Actually, India is faring well; it’s SUSE that’s not faring well. To never depend on SUSE is a good thing.

British Industry Invaded by US Patent Aggressors and Parasitic Patent Lawyers

Posted in America, Europe, Patents at 4:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Milan

Summary: Comcast comes to the UK with patent demands; UK-based patent lawyers still cheer for software patents (which they would profit from)

Earlier this month everyone was speaking about patents in the context of the so-called ‘reform’. This reform did nothing to remove or prevent patents on very basic ideas. To give an example from the news: “Comcast, based in Philadelphia, asked for a jury trial and an award of legal fees from London-based BT Telecommunications Plc in a complaint filed Sept. 19 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware. [...] The patents cover network-traffic management, pricing methods, fault monitoring and other functions, according to court papers.”

“Opposition to patents has grown more popular, with even political parties like the Swedish Pirate Party speaking out against patents, as a matter of fundamental policy.”In other words, poor Comcast (with almost $40 billion in revenue) wants British people to pay it some tax via BT and due to patents — patents on software and business methods to make matters a lot worse. BT is actually not quite the victim here because as we showed some years ago, based on reports from India, BT uses patents in a colonialist fashion as well. It got patents on very controversial ‘inventions’ which were also trivial.

There is this ongoing debate about the meaning of “abstract” — a debate which even the EFF participated in. It has become clear that protectionist measures for taxing one’s competitors have gone too far, especially scope-wise. There is a need for real reform, not lipstick on a pig.

Opposition to patents has grown more popular, with even political parties like the Swedish Pirate Party speaking out against patents, as a matter of fundamental policy. The German Pirate Party is now funded by patent supporters as we noted earlier this month, so as patent lawyers in London help show, one oughtn’t expect a real reform coming from them. There are other patents boosters (usually lawyers with blogs) who seek to discredit critics of this system, trying to paint them as greedy thieves or something along those lines (some use the word “pirates”).

Should one pay attention to them at all? “Don’t feed the trolls” probably applies here.

MAD Wars: Apple Faces Patent Blowback

Posted in Apple, Asia, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 4:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tricky - Blowback

Summary: Via and Samsung launch a defensive assault against the aggressor, Apple, which might have its own phones removed from the market rather than Android phones (although it is merely a deterrence strategy)

THOSE WHO lose the mobile race are trying to transform it into a patent race or a sort of Cold War where each alliance is a form of cartel.

RIM is increasingly being evaluated based on its patents and not its products or loyal customers. It is claimed to be worth just over a couple of billion because there are not many patents in there (RIM is often targeted by patent trolls and using patents against them would not work, not even as a deterrence strategy).

According to this other new article, “Jefferies performed a deep dive on 1,400 patents to determine the firms with essential LTE patents, in consultation with industry experts.”

Nokia/Microsoft is meanwhile planning to use a patent trolls to attack Android [1, 2]. Antitrust authorities do pay attention or were at least notified.

“Just remember who started this.”
      –RonB
Google’s approach as described in this week’s post would not be effective against patent trolls. The Times of India writes about the Oracle-Google talk falling through, so there too problems exist. The best solution to Google’s headache would be a blanket removal of all software patents. These monopolies were not supposed to be granted in the first place as these impede thought and expression, not physical creation.

From what we can gather based on the past couple of years, these patents breed trolls, cartels, and embargoes, including some of Apple’s that now backfire. Slashdot says that “Via Files Suit Against Apple” after Apple indirectly attacked Via, the company which “owns a number of fundamental technology patents inherited from Centaur…”

“Via also has a vested interest,” notes Slashdot, as “CEO Wenchi Chen is married to the head of HTC, which Apple sued for patent infringement last March.”

RonB writes (in USENET); “Just remember who started this.”

Via is “seeking to ban sales of Apple’s iPad and iPhone,” says the article he cites, “which it says infringe upon three of its U.S. patents. VIA is also seeking damages and has asked for a trial by jury.”

“Death by a million cuts,” RonB calls it. “Apple basically took on the whole industry. Let’s see how well it plays out.”

The more M.A.D. this gets, the less popular the patent system will become.

Meanwhile in Korea, only old companies use patents. Samsung has a whole load of them, even in Europe, so it is likely to try and embargo Apple there, having been attacked by Apple first. Always remember who started it.

The president of the FFII, based in Belgium, writes:

Samsung will try to block iphone with patents, the more mess the better

Indeed.

In Korea, only old iPhones may be sold. The next iPhone might be banned by Samsung. As one author puts it:

Samsung may be planning more aggressive tactics against its number one customer, Apple, after legal setbacks in Germany and The Netherlands. The Korean-based company will move to have Apple’s next-generation iPhone banned from sale in Korea following EU-wide injunctions issued against Samsung’s tablets and smartphones in those countries.

This was covered here the other day. Apple deserves no sympathy as it started this whole mess.

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