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10.06.11

Links 6/10/2011: Linux 3.1 is Imminent, Android Extends Lead Over iOS

Posted in News Roundup at 7:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Adventures in Brickdom: Installing Windows 8 on a CR48
  • 20 ways to break Linux
  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.1-rc9
    • Graphics Stack

      • 3 independent displays are getting really close..

        Continuing my updating on latest intel linux graphics-related activity, some hours ago Jesse Barnes’ patches which add support for 3 display pipes to our Linux i915 driver have landed onto intel-gfx mailing list. This is one feature I am particularly very interested in, and it is great to have those patches available in the open-source world now – months before the IVB-based hardware will arrive at the consumer market.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE to Celebrate 15th Birthday

        KDE is having a global birthday party to celebrate 15 years and everyone is invited. Well, since we all can’t actually get together in one spot, they’d like to inspire a bunch of parties happening simultaneously across the globe on October 14.

        It all began much the way Linux began, with a message to a Usenet usergroup. Matthias Ettrich posted, “Programmers wanted!” for a “New Project: Kool Desktop Environment (KDE)”. The rest is history. 15 years ago Ettrich was looking to create an interface for endusers – the regular desktop user and he and his fellow developers succeeded. KDE became the most popular desktop environment for free Unix desktops and remained so until the rise of Ubuntu propelled GNOME into that position. It will be interesting to see where the dueling desktops end up in the coming years.

      • KDE’s October Updates Improve Kontact Performance

        September 7, 2011. Today KDE released updates for its Workspaces, Applications, and Development Platform. These updates are the second in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.7 series. 4.7.2 updates bring many bugfixes and translation updates on top of the latest edition in the 4.7 series and are recommended updates for everyone running 4.7.0 or earlier versions. As the release only contains bugfixes and translation updates, it will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone. KDE’s software is already translated into more than 55 languages, with more to come. The October updates are especially interesting for those using the new Akonadi-based Kontact Suite, as it contains many performance improvements and bugfixes for applications such as KMail, and others retrieving information using Akonadi.

      • Freedom. 15 years. Party!
    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME 3.2: Tactical Brilliance and Strategic Stubbornness

        If you’re still waiting for the GNOME 3 series to tolerate more than one work-flow, then GNOME 3.2 is going to disappoint you.

        Although the new release contains dozens of improvements, both practical and aesthetic, it still supports only a single work flow, just like GNOME 3.0. Despite six months of protests, the GNOME team seems to have decided that, if it just ignores the complaints, eventually they’ll go away.

        That said, some of the improvements might just be enough to reconcile you to the GNOME 3 series. While some improvements are useful but minor refinements, others ranging from task-oriented documentation and accessibility improvements to online integration tools, would be welcome additions to any desktops.

      • Official GNOME Shell Extensions Available In The WebUpd8 GNOME 3 PPA For Ubuntu 11.10
  • Distributions

    • ArchBang Is Lightweight & Always Up To Date [Linux]

      Install a lightweight operating system that’s always up to date. Featuring the speedy Openbox desktop and built on the rolling release Arch Linux, Archbang delivers both minimalism and up-to-date software. Best of all, it’s a lot easier to set up and use than a vanilla Arch installation.

    • New Releases

      • Salix OS 13.37 Features Ratpoison Window Manager

        George Vlahavas from the Salix OS development team, proudly announced on October 4th that the a new edition of the Salix OS operating system is now available for download, featuring the Ratpoison window manager.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS Build server moved to rpm 4.8.x

        The build server that produces RPMS for the software repository for PCLinuxOS has switched over to RPM 4.8.x as of today. This comes after a month worth of notices and reminders posted.

      • Mageia 1 review – Confusing

        My test box was the old and abused T60 laptop, with 2GB RAM and an ATI graphics card. It never had hardware issues with Mandriva or PCLinuxOS or many other distributions, which indicates there might be some deep problem in the Mageia core. A shame really, as I wanted to see what the distro could do when committed to hard disk and running.

        Based on the live session testing and the installation, there’s a lot to be done still. Mageia needs a lot of bug fixing and polish. There are too many bugs and errors to allow a smooth and seamless desktop experience. The visual aspect also needs improving. My biggest gripes were the slew of errors and warnings that the user just need not see, the archaic layout of the desktop and the selfish installation that simply ignored my Windows.

        I ought to give the Mageia team some slack, given the fact this is their first release. So yes, more work is needed, and the distribution will mostly likely improve over time. I hope some of my finding will make into the future editions. For the time being, based on my testing, Mageia is not mature enough for desktop use. Will keep in touch.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 Beta is out now

        When you’re talking serious server Linux, chances are you’re talking Red Hat’s Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) , so it’s good news that the beta is now ready for the next edition: RHEL 6.2

        Coming on the heels of the news that Red Hat is acquiring Gluster, a cloud-storage software company, it should come as no surprise that it will offer improved cloud deployment support. Of course, there’s a lot more here than just better cloud support.

      • Red Hat (RHT) Shares Given New $50.00 Price Target by UBS AG (UBS) Analysts

        Equities research analysts at UBS AG (NYSE: UBS) lowered their price target on shares of Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) to $50.00 in a research issued note to investors on Wednesday. They currently have a “buy” rating on the company’s shares.

      • Video: Default to Open

        Red Hat produced a video entitled Default to Open: The History of Open Source and Red Hat. Since it is about history, it has a number of older clips… bits and pieces I’ve seen before but quite a bit of new stuff too. Enjoy it embedded in webm format or use the link below to download it for local playback.

      • Gluster is Likely to Be One Among Many Upcoming Red Hat Buys

        It’s no secret that as the last remaining public, U.S company focused on open source (after the acquisitions of Novell and Sun Microsystems), Red Hat is on a tear. The company is on track to become the first $1 billion a year open source firm, and we’ve predicted before that acquisitions are on the horizon for the company as it rakes in the revenues. Sure enough, enhancing its increasing focus on cloud computing and Big Data, Red Hat has announced that it is paying $136 million for Gluster, a privately held storage firm. This is just one of what will likely be several upcoming acquisitions from Red Hat.

        As the Register notes, Gluster’s name comes from the combination of GNU and cluster, and the firm specializes not only in storage solutions but in solutions that help organizations crunch and manage large data sets. Gluster was originally created at California Digital Corp., which makes supercomputers.

      • Beta version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.2 released
      • Oracle previews RHEL-ish 2 Linux kernel

        As part of the OpenWorld extravaganza being hosted by Oracle in San Francisco this week, Edward Screven, chief corporate architect at the software giant and the guy who is responsible for the company’s Linux and Xen hypervisor variants, gave a brief preview of the next iteration of Oracle’s homegrown Linux kernel.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 16 Beta Has GNOME 3.2 and Linux Kernel 3.1

          The Fedora Project proudly announced last evening, October 4th, the immediate availability for download and testing of the Beta version of the upcoming Fedora 16 operating system, due for release in November 2011.

        • F17 Might Be The Beefy Miracle To The Precise Pangolin

          Yesterday there was the announcement by Mark Shuttleworth that Ubuntu 12.04 is codenamed Precise Pangolin. But what will its friendly competition be called? The voting is taking place right now for the Fedora 17 codename. Beefy Miracle is again a contender for the next release of this Red Hat sponsored Linux distribution.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Community-Canonical Relationships – The honeymoon might be over, but the love is still there.

            When I got home yesterday I had a few messages asking about whether or not I had seen yesterday’s CC (Community Council) Meeting. I was away from my computer for most of the day yesterday so I didn’t get a chance to read the log of the meeting until late last night. This is one CC meeting I wish I had been able to attend.

          • P is for…

            Balancing all of those options, I think we have just the right mix in our designated mascot for 12.04 LTS. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Precise Pangolin.

          • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS named “Precise Pangolin”

            Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Ubuntu 12.04 LTS (Long Term Support) will be named “Precise Pangolin”. Shuttleworth’s inspiration came when he “recently spent a few hours tracking a pangolin through the Kalahari”, and noted their precision and toughness. Many alternative suggestions including “Perky Penguin” and “Porangi Packhorse” were rejected for a variety of carefully considered reasons.

          • Well That’s One Way to Pimp Ubuntu…
          • Interview with Rubi1200
          • Million Cloud Monkeys create MonkeyBeth

            AK: Your story about how “A Few Million Monkeys Randomly Recreated Shakespearean work” Got you featured on many tech-news websites. Can you introduce yourself to cloud.ubuntu.com readers. (Your background, Studies, where you work, your hobbies, your future dreams…etc)

            I work at Intuit in Reno, NV as a Senior Software Engineer. I love watching The Simpsons (which finally paid off). I like to try out new technologies and try to do things that have not been done before. Trying out these technologies usually leads to a personal project – none of which has been as successful as the Million Monkeys project.

          • Computers provide path for humanity to others

            Is it possible to reduce the need for upgrading by reusing a computer? Absolutely! There is a very green solution that can extend the useful life of any PC. It can result in less frequent purchases of new hardware and software, or breathe new life into a computer that can then be reused by someone else who could benefit from it. It’s called Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • How to make a voice-controlled robot arm for $55

      Okay, so we might have made most of that up, but the developer of the robotic arm really is an aerospace engineer, he really does have a broken wrist, and he really did create a voice-controlled arm for under $60 — and better yet, he did it using an open-source operating system (Linux), a bunch of open-source tools, and of course he made all of his work open source so that you too can make your own robotic helping hand.

    • Phones

      • Intel and Samsung Mount Android Attack

        The Limo Foundation along with the Linux Foundation are joining forces to create Tizen as an open source alternative to Google’s Android. The game plan will launch with a SDK in early 2012. This means Intel will say bye-bye to MeeGo.

        Adobe folks must be feeling the roller coaster ride of the Kindle Fire supporting Adobe’s Flash, while Tizen will be HTML 5 based.

        Tizen is aimed at tablets, smartphones, netbooks and in-vechicle systems.The Limo Foundation has a number of backers with Motorola, NEC, Panasonic, Orange, Samsung and others. Add Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, Qualcomm and others in the LinuxFoundation.

      • Android/Ballnux

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Government of India launches the elusive $35 tablet, retail availability in November

        When Tata Motors unveiled the Tata Nano—the $2500 car, the automative world was taken by storm. The engineering minds behind the cheapest family car pulled off something no other company could. The Government of India had similar plans for computers. The OLPC project showed promise but did not catch up. They (the organization behind OLPC) have however been able to attract some state governments to join them.

      • OLPC XO-1.75 Laptop Preview

        Last month at XDC2011 Chicago, I managed to get my hands on what should be the production hardware model of the XO-1.75 laptop that is expected to be released in the coming months by the OLPC project. The low-cost OLPC laptop targeted for students is now ARM-based and consumes very little power.

      • India’s $35 Tablet ‘Aakash’ Launched, Runs Android 2.2

        India’s much talked about US$35 tablet running Android 2.2 Froyo is finally launched. World’s cheapest tablet will be called ‘Aakash’ and it’s exact price is Rs.2,276. At current rates, final cost will be around US$50, which still makes it the world’s cheapest tablet. If the price point of this Android tablet impressed you already, specifications are going to impress you even more.

      • ‘$35′ Android tablet launches in India, but it’s now $61

        India’s “$35″ tablet has launched at a price of $61, but may be subsidized by the government to as low as $30 for students, according to one report. Developed by U.K.-based Datawind, the “Aakash UbiSlate 7″ tablet runs Android 2.2 on a 366MHz Conexant processor, with 256MB RAM and 2GB flash, and features a seven-inch, 800 x 480 resistive display.

      • Pondering the Prospect of a Completely Open Linux Tablet

        “In the end it won’t be Linux that makes it a niche, it will be simple economics,” said Slashdot blogger hairyfeet. “Nobody will pay even close to iPad pricing on anything but an iPad, and ZaReason will have to charge close to iPad money to get decent hardware in the thing.” So, ZaReason will likely “sell enough to stay in business and make a little profit, but it won’t set the world on fire.”

      • ZTE’s V55 Android Honeycomb tablet hits the FCC on its way to Sprint

        ZTE is better known for its OEM feature phones, but the company has recently started to roll out a suite of Android tablets. Today, one of the company’s latest tablets, the V55, won FCC approval and judging from the label pic above the device appears to be headed for Sprint.

      • ASUS Not Scared By Kindle Fire Threats, Will Release Transformer 2 As Planned

        Jerry Shen, the CEO of ASUS, has recently gone on the record about the new tablet arena that Amazon’s Kindle Fire has created. First off, he said that he has no immediate plans to slash the price of the original ASUS Eee Pad Transformer to keep up with the Fire. We have already seen some companies do this in the wake of Amazon’s rumored 100,000 pre-orders of their new tablet, but ASUS says they are still gaining successful results from their tablets.

      • Amazon Kindle Fire pre-orders over 2,000 per hour

        With Apple news everywhere today because of the iPhone 4S release, it’s hard to remember other new products. But it’s hard to ignore a leaked screenshot of Amazon’s order system showing Kindle Fire orders coming in at over 2,000 per hour.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Interview: Alan W. Irwin, developer of Time Ephemerides

    F4S: Please, give us a brief introduction about yourself.

    I got my Ph.D in astronomy in 1978, and my research work afterwards has been primarily concerned with developing Fortran and C software to support my astronomical research. My development environments over the years have been IBM System/370, VAX minicomputers, Solaris boxes, and then Linux on PC’s from 1996 to the present. That Linux development environment has been an enormous benefit for me so I have been happy to contribute back by participating in such open-source projects as PLplot (plplot.sf.net), FreeEOS (freeeos.sf.net), and now the Time Ephemerides project (timeephem.sf.net).

  • Events

    • Videos: KVM Forum 2011 Presentations

      The KVM Forum 2011 was held at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver, Canada on August 15-16. It was co-located with LinuxCon North America 2011.

      LinuxCon and the KVM Forum were both sponsored by The Linux Foundation who recorded a large number of videos from both events. Unfortunately, The Linux Foundation had few security breaches to deal with on their kernel.org and linux.com domains which (I’m guessing) has greatly delayed them doing post-production work on the recordings and posting them publicly.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox for Tablets available for download in Aurora Channel

        It’s been quite a while since we did that post on Firefox’s upcoming tablet User Interface, and guess what, it’s finally here! Firefox for Tablets has just landed in Aurora channel, which means, you can now download it, test it, and make the product even better. The tablet version includes all the features we discussed in our earlier post along with some additional features. Here’s more about it :

      • Firefox and SeaMonkey users warned to disable McAfee ScriptScan

        A major incompatibility between Mozilla’s browsers Firefox and SeaMonkey, and McAfee’s ScriptScan plug-in has caused “a high volume of crashes”, according to Mozilla. The problem first came to light in September, when members of the McAfee forum began reporting problems with version 14.4.0 of ScriptScan, a tool which checks web pages, as they are loaded into the browser, for malicious code. This is the first time since July that Mozilla has found it necessary to block a plug-in.

      • Privacy Extension for Firefox, Priv3
  • SaaS

    • EngineYard Brings JRuby to Cloud

      “This is the first commercially supported way to run applications on JRuby in a production environment,” Mike Piech vice president of product management and marketing for Engine Yard told InternetNews.com. “JRuby is really important to both the Ruby and Java world.”

    • OpenStack Foundation to Form in 2012: A Spin-Out from Rackspace

      It’s official: After some early posts that reported that the OpenStack cloud computing platform will be spun out from Rackspace, OpenStack officials have confirmed that a new nonprofit foundation will oversee development and evangelism beginning in 2012. OpenStack is presenting significant challenges to proprietary cloud computing platforms and offering a flexible, open source alternative, so this promises to be good news. OpenStack’s oversight will also differ significantly from some of the open source cloud platforms backed solely by commercial entities.

    • Rackspace to create an OpenStack Foundation

      Rackspace says that it is planning to create an OpenStack Foundation next year to take over the governance and ownership of the OpenStack trademark. The OpenStack project was launched in July 2010 to manage a new open source cloud platform created by Rackspace and Nasa; since then Citrix, Dell, Intel, AMD, HP, Cisco, Canonical and others have joined the initiative. However, there have been concerns about the governance of the project, specifically that Rackspace has too much control since buying Anso Labs which gave it a majority of seats on the project board. A reformation of voting processes within the project in March this year did little to reduce those concerns.

    • Linux Labs Unveils Strategy for Its SaaS Business With Full Launch Targeted for Next Quarter; Software as a Service (SaaS) Market Forecasted to Reach $40.5 Billion by 2014
  • Databases

    • Oracle Goes Big for NoSQL

      There is a lot of buzz around the term “big data.” It’s a topic that Oracle is now jumping into with both feet with a new big data engineered system as well as new Hadoop and NoSQL software offerings.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Oracle Updates Linux, Sticks with Intel and Promises Solaris

      Oracle remains committed to Intel and to Linux even as it continues to promise the delivery of Solaris 11. That’s the message that Oracle executives delivered during a keynote at the OpenWorld conference this week.

      The commitment to Intel is particularly key, since Oracle CEO Larry Ellison’s comments during the company’s recent earnings call. Ellison said that he didn’t care if Oracle’s Intel x86 server business dwindled down to zero. Oracle Executive Vice-President John Fowler said during his OpenWorld keynote that he received a few calls about his boss’ comments. He stressed that Oracle remains comitted to Intel.

    • Java 8 delayed, but only a little

      During his keynote on Oracle’s Java strategy at the JavaOne conference, the Vice President of Development for the Fusion middleware, Adam Messinger, had to announce that the release date of Java 8 has been postponed. Instead of late 2012, the new version is now only likely to be released six months later, in summer 2013. Around nine million Java developers, as counted by Oracle, had to wait more than four-and-a-half years for Java 7, which was released this summer after repeated delays. To make up for the postponed release date, Oracle’s Java developers plan to use the extra time to extend the feature set.

    • New fonts, unique features for LibreOffice DTP

      Based on the excellent SIL Graphite font technology and Philipp H. Poll’s Libertine Open Fonts project, LibreOffice has got extraordinary DTP capabilities with the extended Graphite version of Linux Libertine and Biolinum font families.

    • Lively Alphabet – coloring book and DTP example
    • Oracle’s Plans for Java Unveiled at JavaOne

      Oracle made a number of announcements about current and future versions of Java at the annual JavaOne conference this week, including the availability of an early access version of JDK 7 for the Mac OS, plans to “bridge the gap” between Java ME and Java SE, an approach to modularizing Java SE 8 that will rely on the Jigsaw platform, a new project that aims to use HTML5 to bring Java to Apple’s iOS platform, the availability of JavaFX 2.0, a pending proposal to open source that technology, gearing up Java EE for the cloud and a delay in the release of Java 8.

    • VirtualBox 4.1.4 features automatic extension updates

      The Mac OS X version of VirtualBox has seen comparatively few changes, with an issue that caused the VirtualBox GUI (Graphical User Interface) to lock-up during the start-up of a VM being one of the major fixes. For Linux, a bug that prevented removable storage from being detached after restoring a VM snapshot has been fixed, and hard-links that caused the installation of VirtualBox to fail on file systems such as OpenAFS have been removed. Two hardware acceleration issues, one causing incorrect rendering and potential crashes when switching to/from full screen, the other causing problems when using Compiz under Ubuntu 9.10, have also been fixed.

    • As LibreOffice Turns One, a Peek Ahead at What’s to Come

      It was just about a year ago that I was writing about the launch of LibreOffice, and now here we are today, marking the free productivity software suite’s first year.

    • LibreOffice – a dive into the unknown

      The Document Foundation (TDF) and LibreOffice turned one year old last month, and it has been a good year. LibreOffice was a dive into the unknown, and an opportunity to prove what the community already knew: that a chance to swim free could only bring positive results.

  • Healthcare

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

    • Gephi 0.8 beta released

      The latest beta version of Gephi has been released, download it for Windows, Mac OS and Linux platforms. This release focus on new features for both users and developers, and the new license unlocks opportunities for business. The Ranking and Preview modules have been completely rewritten in a modular way and can be now extended with plug-ins! Preview can now be extended in many ways, for instance group shapes or edge bundling. Moreover, continuous progress have been made on the dynamic network support and we release today the last big part: statistics over time, available from the Statistics module when the network is dynamic. Thanks to users who reported bugs, it’s the only way to fix them.

  • Open Hardware

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Google Docs Still Not Ready For Tablets

    Google has updated its Google Docs app for Android tablets, but the cloud-based office suite is far from ready for the prime time on Android tablets.

    The app doesn’t come with and WYSIWYG text editor which may enable a user to do any ‘real’ work on Google Docs using the tablet. All you get is a simple text editor where you can type content.

  • Finance

    • Christie Speculation Gives Campaign Top Billing

      Depending on how you count, anywhere from seven to more than a dozen Republican candidates are running for president. But it was a non-candidate who fueled one of the biggest weeks of campaign coverage to date.

      Speculation that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie might enter the fray made the 2012 presidential election the No. 1 story in the news media the week of September 26-October 2, according to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. Coverage of the campaign accounted for 15% of the newshole studied last week. That was the third-biggest week for campaign coverage this year—and the biggest not to involve a candidate debate.

    • Coverage Grows for Wall Street Protest
    • Goldman Sachs Requests A Correction

      And, the GS sp0kesperson reminded me, since Goldman bought part of Abacus for itself, I w as not permitted to describe the entire event as a “fraud.”

  • DRM

    • The Daily Digital Lock Dissenter, Day 4: Canadian Council of Archives

      The Canadian Council of Archives is Canada’s leading archivist organization, with a mandate “to preserve and provide access to Canadian documentary heritage by improving the administration, effectiveness and efficiency of the archival system.” The CCA’s comments on the C-32 digital lock provisions:

  • Copyrights

    • Astrologers Attack TZ Database

      Just when you think you have seen it all a case of copyright violation has been filed by an astrology publisher against a keeper of a timezone database. This has caused the TZ database to shut down pending further proceedings. TZ is widely used in the GNU/Linux world.

Patents Roundup: Europe Under Pressure, Microsoft Moles in the Press, and More Patent Trolls

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 1:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Medieval window

Summary: An accumulation of news about patents around the world with emphasis on issues that affect Free/open source software or companies that support it

SOFTWARE patents are still #1 on the agenda here. The same goes for Groklaw, where almost every post is about this subject, including this latest post.

It is well understood why software patents are bad and we generally understand the dirty politics that made these legal in the US. But over here in Europe we still see remnants of these dirty politics trying to legalise software patents through the back door. To quote:

Draft Agreement on Unified Court ‘unwise’, concludes EPLAW

PatLit thanks Dr Jochen Pagenberg (President of the European Patent Lawyers’ Association EPLAW and one of the most experienced patent scholars in Europe) for drawing the following highly pertinent criticisms of the proposed Unified Patent Court to its attention [this post will be cited later today on the IPKat weblog, following yesterday's post on the report of last week's Warsaw Conference here].

Bosson’s general response can be found here (FFII affiliated):

Killing EU innovation with a unitary “more patents!” court

[...]

I also got strong reactions from patent attorneys from Stallmans piece in the Guradian. They say that software patents are already established in the EU, why does he not understand that? That debate was over ten years ago! But thats not true. Its happening right here and now while software patents are ever more questioned and tried publicly. What happened ten years ago is coming into the public light – and it shames the patent institutions. Its also a trial of legitimacy. Where monopolist proponents try to establish software patents like MS: “We live in a world where we honor, and support the honoring of, intellectual property,” says Ballmer in an interview. FOSS patrons are going to have to “play by the same rules as the rest of the business,” he insists. “What’s fair is fair.” (see Glyn Moody on techdirt). A European court that protects the “users” of the patent-system would allow MS to litigate for licenses in one strike over all of EU.

According to British patent lawyers, “Halliburton gets simulation patent after all”, which is a dangerous precedence.

It’s not yet available online, but yesterday’s Patents Court for England and Wales decision of Judge Birss QC (taking time off from his busy schedule in the Patents County Court to sit as a Deputy High Court Judge) in Halliburton Energy Inc’s Patent has already been announced, at something approaching the speed of light, as a Hogarth Newsflash. The news-flasher (if that be the correct term) is the IPKat’s friend Richard Davis (Hogarth), instructed by Hoffmann Eitle on behalf of Halliburton. Normally this Kat would not deign to comment on a decision on so mundane and uncontroversial as the patentability of computer software, but this case is an exception. Why? Because it’s the first time since the blog was founded in 2003 that a successful appellant, its instructing firm and the barristerial chambers have all commenced with the letter H.

Glyn Moody responds with:

[R]eally bad UK decision on [software patents]

According to these British patent lawyers, people in the UK are working to get this whole software patents abomination passed. To quote the blog post in question:

By total coincidence, while the Kat was citing Daniel v Lions at the LIDC Conference, a whole group of Daniels was being cast to the lions the other end of Europe, in the lovely city of Warsaw. The cause of this was the Academy of European Law’s conference, The Future Unified Patent Litigation System in the European Union, “organised in the framework of the Polish EU Presidency of the EU Council” which was billed as providing

“… a platform for discussion on the new draft agreement on a Unified Patent Court presented by the Hungarian Presidency on 14 June 2011″.

What, perchance was to be discussed on this platform? The programme explained:

“The objective of the conference is to analyse how issues raised by the Court of Justice of the European Union in its Opinion 1/09 on the previous version of the agreement regarding compatibility with EU law were addressed, as well as to promote an exchange of views between courts and practitioners on the functioning of the European Patent Court”.

The event commanded an all-star line-up of speakers.

This is the type of activity that we need to keep an eye on because there are always attempts to expand the US patent system to more continents. The reality is, a lot of software patents are rubbish and they are quite easily invalidated by prior art, even though it can be a lengthy (and thus expensive) process. Google, for example, is apparently shooting down Oracle/Sun patents, based on a report which says:

Oracle listed more than 130 patent claims in its original complaint against Google for infringing Java patents in mobile operating system Android. The presiding judge felt that this was too many claims for a trial scheduled to last three weeks and suggested reducing it to three.

Four weeks before the trial is expected to start, Oracle has now set out its position. Fifteen claims will be looked at, plus eleven ‘mirrored’ claims. This ‘mirroring’ of claims extends them from the pure method to a combination with an apparatus or a machine-readable medium. The claims are taken from six different patents, but one of the original patents, number 6125447, is no longer part of the complaint.

Look how quickly the numbers drop. But this process is very expensive and laborious. There is so much money at stake (potentially billions), so Google will fight on. There are other new stories of software patents, such as one that says “Facebook [Got] Sued For Patent Infringement For Online Photo Albums”.

The USPTO is largely responsible for this mess and SCOTUS has done almost nothing to help change the principles of patenting. It is said to be part of a pattern based on this new blog post that says:

Supreme Court Decides Software Law By Not Deciding

[...]

Did I hear someone mention software? Yes, though it has been a critical part of the economy for decades now, software remains a stumbling block for the courts. Last year’s patent law decision, Bilski v. Kappos demonstrated some of the stumbling.

Watch this new infographic titled “Patent Evil” and mind the growth of the meta-industry of litigation and extortion, based on announcements like expansions. If this is what counts as progress, we need none of it.

A patent trolls that went to war against a lot of companies makes a statement about the USPTO these days (the patents are like the whole company). Microsoft typically uses this troll to paint itself as a victim, but it is actually Microsoft that has many victims. It is extorting companies that actually produce phones and then spins that as amicable agreements. Microsoft moles are injecting themselves into the press to create Android and Linux misinformation and Bloomberg fails massively by quoting former Microsoft employee and known Android basher for some anti-Google poison (that would be Michael Gartenberg [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15], see this latest “IP” promotion). Some readers told us that NPR quotes Microsoft Florian and Enderle on this subject, That is just sad. Do they not know who those people really are?

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has meanwhile started to tackle this issue more than before by writing about patent trolls and not just Linux. To quote:

Ask not for whom the patent troll sues, he sues you. It used to be patent trolls only bothered to sue large companies. After all, that’s where the big bucks were. Now, however, Innovatio IP, a new company that exists solely to shake money down for its Wi-Fi patents, is targeting individual branches of hotel, coffee shops and restaurant chains. You, with your home Wi-Fi access point, may be next.

None of these franchised businesses, which include Hyatt, Marriott, Wyndham, Ramada Inn, Best Western, Days Inn, Super 8 Hotels, Travelodge, Caribou Coffee, Cosi and Panera Bread, make or develop technology. All they do is offer Wi-Fi services. That’s enough, as reported by Patent Examiner, for Matthew McAndrews, a partner at Chicago-based law firm Niro, Haller & Niro, and the lnnovatio lead litigator, to state, “We want you to continue to use this technology, we just want our client to get his due share. This is not a seat-of-the-pants, fly-by-night shakedown.”

Notice Niro in there. It is the father of patent trolling, who is still out there..

Future Portable Devices Are Linux-based as Microsoft Zune Dies and Apple iPhone Dies Before Its Next Arrival

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 12:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Remembering Zune, iPhone…

Tombstone

Summary: The failure of Microsoft in PMPs and phones becomes undeniable; Apple is meanwhile promising inferior iPhones that cannot quite compete with Android anymore

MICROSOFT’S business is not going well. Products are dying. Their fans are creating blog accounts in Techrights just to heckle us for saying it while Zune, for example, finalises its demise by becoming a dead product among many others. There has already been a lot of coverage and one of the more widely cited articles is this one:

“We recently announced that, going forward, Windows Phone will be the focus of our mobile music and video strategy, and that we will no longer be producing Zune players,” Microsoft said in a statement.

Current Zune users will be able to access the same customer support and services they always have, and Microsoft will honor all warranties for those devices currently owned, and those who buy the very last devices.

We thought it had already died, but it wasn’t official until Microsoft said it. Microsoft is just a remnant of old, illegally-obtained monopolies.

My co-host Tim wrote:

So Microsoft has finally admitted defeat on the Zune….. At least they can draw strength on the fact it lasted longer than the Kin.
What I find hard to believe is that Microsoft thought they had a product that had a chance. I wrote about the Zune failing (as well as the Kin) almost as soon as things hit the scene. To me, the muddied Microsoft name has very little chance – Thats why its going after others with its “licensing” “deals”.
I think Microsoft is slowly realizing that its future is settling for the scraps off the table thrown by competitors with products people actually want to buy.
Anyway, heres the link to the article, an interesting read. I am assuming now that the Zune tech will live on in WP7 and Xbox in some incarnation….. I suppose that way Microsoft don’t have to admit total defeat.

In the mobile area too Microsoft has lost in a very major way, not just in entertainment. It is being reported that ISVs walk away from Microsoft. This new example says that “Lack of support for mobile clients and hidden costs can make a large-scale Lync deployment far less appealing than a small-scale one”

“In the mobile area too Microsoft has lost in a very major way, not just in entertainment.”Microsoft is therefore using dirty tactics against Linux/Android, which emerged as the winner. Ballmer’s package gets smaller amid this embarrassment and to quote The Inquirer, “JUMPING SHOUTING Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has been awarded only half of his allowable maximum bonus after having overseen lower than expected Windows Phone 7 sales.” The numbers are really quite ugly and still declining, just like Internet Explorer (“Microsoft’s IE9-first strategy fails to stem browser slide”). Apple too has lost some moment in phones and the real revolution comes from Linux/Android now.

Apple’s lawsuits strategy is backfiring even more as according to sources: “Hoping to steal some attention from Apple’s iPhone 4S, Samsung flashed the side of its Android Ice Cream Sandwich-equipped Nexus Prime — expected to be unveiled next week — in a YouTube video. Meanwhile, it filed preliminary injunction motions in Paris, France and Milan, Italy, hoping to block iPhone sales in those countries due to claimed WCDMA patent infringements.”

Apple’s next hypePhone receives no love as it is being called an “insult”. As The Register put it:

The thing is an insult in phone form

Eventually Apple unveiled an “iPhone 4s” (not iPhone 5) and as Ron (RonB) put it some days ago in USENET: “Stockholders are so underwhelmed that Apple stock has dropped over 2.5% today.”

My reply was that Apple is all about the brand, so the people it sells products to judge by numbers and logos, not pertinent features.

Ron then wrote: “The news is only getting worse for Apple.”

He quoted Reuters as saying that “Apple Inc took the wraps off a new iPhone on Tuesday, but may have left some fans wishing for more than an updated version of last year’s smartphone.

“Newly minted CEO Tim Cook helmed his first major product launch with aplomb. The operations and supply-chain expert, not known for pitching products, stood in for ailing co-founder Steve Jobs, who did not show up as some expected he would.”

“Apple shares are now down nearly 5%,” noted Ron. “I see another “new innovation” is voice recognition. Hmmm… why doesn’t Apple just license Android and be done with it.”

With embargo attempts, fabricated ‘evidence’ and a lot of FUD, Apple has not been kind to Android. In general, Apple deserves very little respect for technology, just for money-hoarding.

“I was being facetious about Apple licensing Android,” noted Ron. “My point was that all the new iOS “innovations” are copied directly from Android. When the dust settles, iOS will probably have 10 to 15 percent of the market, slightly higher than the numbers for the Mac cultist market.”

Lastly I noted that based on Apple’s SEC filings, Mac OS X only has about 4% of the market. GNU/Linux likely has more than that, globally (firms typically measure in the US or through US sites/referrals only).

“The new leadership from Cook is likely to be very hostile and aggressive towards Android based on the behaviour of Cook going back to 2009.”High Plains Thumper later wrote to say that “Apple iPhone 4S fails to impress Wall Street,” according to Todd Haselton. Quoting the article, “Apple took the wraps off of the iPhone 4S today but its stock price dipped by as much as 5% as investors looked to the Cupertino-based company to release a more impressive next-generation smartphone. Fifteen months after last updating its iPhone, investors wanted to see an all new design but instead were met with an incremental update in a case
identical to the iPhone 4. It offers a dual-core Apple A5 processor, an improved 8-megapixel camera capable of recording 1080p HD video and Apple’s new voice-based Siri technology, but the iPhone 4S does not offer a completely revamped industrial design, as many had suspected.”

Too little, too late. The Register names 10 Android phones that already technically suppress the iPhone 4S (which is not even out yet). Sooner or later Apple will have to just give up and stop playing hardball with ridiculous lawsuits at trolls-friendly courts. This stubbornness from Apple cannot last forever. The new leadership from Cook is likely to be very hostile and aggressive towards Android based on the behaviour of Cook going back to 2009. In a way, he is likely to be worse than Steve Jobs (whose family we wish to send our deepest condolences).

Next Windows Becomes a Mess to Developers (ISVs) and OEMs

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 12:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pressing on with “8″?

Telephone

Summary: Microsoft’s unwanted changes to the basis of Windows are likely to backfire in a major way

THE NEEDS of users aside, too little attention is being paid to what Microsoft does to de facto standards. Christine Hall takes a look at the booting scandal we recently wrote about, stating that there might be an agenda (which would upset OEMs):

Secure boot is the sort of security solution Microsoft loves. Back in the days when Windows was even less secure than it is now, one of their security solutions was to have software vetted and signed. Although this might have helped enterprise customers a bit, it did little to make the home user more secure, as any software would still install normally after clicking through an “are you sure” warning. If this scheme did anything, it hurt small vendors who couldn’t afford to go through the process of having their software approved by Redmond.

Secure boot is the same sort of scheme, except this time there’s no “are you sure” screen to click through. If a user is trying to install an operating system (or even run one from a live CD) on a machine with secure boot enabled, that operating system will have to have unlock keys to enable hardware devices. These keys are provided to the creator of the operating system at the whim of the hardware makers.

I can’t begin to explain the number of things wrong with this system. To begin with, for this feature to fulfill its intended purpose, the keys must be kept secret. Nobody but the hardware maker and, perhaps, the OS distributor, can have access to them – meaning they probably must be kept in binary form with no source code being made available.

Dr. Dobbs is meanwhile expressing scepticism about Vista 8 for the following reason:

Redmond once again pushes developers to forgo existing technologies and adopt a new UI and APIs — despite the lack of compelling benefits.

Techrights no longer covers Windows as much as it used to. Windows seems like it is already on its way out (gradual exit) because form factors change and Microsoft cannot keep up. But just worth noticing is this alienation of developers. Remember what Microsoft’s CEO was sweating about. All those developers who embraced KIN, SideKick, Windows Mobile, WP7, XAML/Silverlight and so on got seriously screwed. The next post will cover the death of the Zune.

Update on Tuxera and Novell

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, SLES/SLED at 12:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cracks in the Linux world

Crackle

Summary: A quick overview which includes news about companies that willingly pay Microsoft for Linux

PATENT TAX on Linux was conceived a long time ago at Microsoft (see the Halloween Memos for example). But it was Novell which revolutionised the concept by making a consensual deal that helped Microsoft achieve just what it had sought all those years. In later years we saw smaller companies doing the same thing. One of them was Tuxera, which is now polluting GENIVI with its Microsoft patent tax. Well, its announcement characterises this differently:

Tuxera, a provider of Windows and Mac compatible file systems for Android, Linux and other platforms, announced it has become an Associate Member of the GENIVI alliance.

All that Tuxera does is add Microsoft patent tax to Linux-based platforms, just as SUSE provides Microsoft-taxed equivalents/alternatives for platforms such as RHEL. Over at IDG there is a new whitewashing piece going under the headline “new Novell”, which just like “new Microsoft” is an attempt to separate a dubious past from the present and future. Quoting the introduction:

Novell, which was acquired by The Attachmate Group in April, wants to regain its status as an IT icon and will try to do so by focusing its efforts on its core assets and rebuilding relationships with its huge installed base. Network World Editor in Chief John Dix recently caught up with Novell President Bob Flynn and VP of Product Management and Marketing Eric Varness for a briefing on their rebuilding plans.

So far, Attachmate has let a lot of Novell just rot. We gave many examples to show this.

Products were rendered dead, some got neglected to the point of no mention in the press, and the only new Novelldemo videos are about products that are officially deal (it has just come up with 6 more Vibe videos like this one). A separate question is, what will it be with SUSE, which is now sponsored by Microsoft? We’ll touch on that in a separate post.

We realise that Novell is a boring subject to many, especially at this stage. But here in this Web site we cover issues that are important, not issues that necessarily attract traffic. Novell is still a major problem and we stay true to our original goals.

IRC Proceedings: October 5th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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