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11.01.11

Latest Analysis of Patent Assault on Linux

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Oracle at 3:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Larry Elllison on stage
Photo from Oracle Corporate Communications

Summary: There is no going back for Linux/Android domination, but Apple and Microsoft try to collude against it now, with patents, patent trolls, and Larry Ellison (who calls Steve Jobs his “best friend” and idol”)

THE ANTICS of Microsoft have pushed it further away from “patent troll” realms and more into the realms of organised crime. Racketeering is, after all, a crime. But provided one is big (as in rich) enough and sufficiently connected in governments and/or media, the laws do not get enforced properly or even regularly. The media can ensure the public opinion gets slanted and politicians need not take action to please the population. We see a lot of this in Occupy Wall Street.

“The media can ensure the public opinion gets slanted and politicians need not take action to please the population.”As we explained on numerous occasions last month, Microsoft has a bunch of lobbyists and corruptible ‘journalists’ whom it uses to spin what it is doing as “acceptable” and a matter of enforcing the law rather than breaking the law. Caution is required in the face of Microsoft lobbyists’ spin that seeks to portray Google as a patent aggressor. It is very far-fetched and it is clear that they try to paint Google, the victim, as a company deserving Microsoft’s extortion. As the SCOracle trial takes a break the Microsoft FUD resumes in a noticeable way. Those who cannot become competitive turn litigious and even extort companies. Why actually make stuff and compete when you can pay some lawyers to attack the competition and rip it off using legal instruments and illegal tactics that are a breach of the RICO Act? A company that copied other people’s work and then used illegal tactics to stomp on them falsely claims (owing to a Chronicle columnist who ended up helping Microsoft with a propaganda piece) that Android “stands on Microsoft’s shoulders”.

Yes, Microsoft is trying to claim that it owns Android and people need to go to Microsoft to “license” Android, Microsoft’s competition. How it that different from what protection rackets always were? It is not different. “It reads to me as though the MS lawyer is saying “It’s an Operating System, and we own Operating Systems”,” writes one person in USENET.

This type of nonsense helps ‘normalise’ extortion using a PR campaign which deceives even self-proclaimed FOSS proponents (who don’t even use Linux). For shame. This is how public opinion gets distorted.

“Yes, Microsoft is trying to claim that it owns Android and people need to go to Microsoft to “license” Android, Microsoft’s competition.”The MSBBC, as usual, bats for that same side and we cannot help wondering if Katherine Noyes actually wrote this headline (probably the editor’s choice). Racketeering is not a joke and Microsoft is not a “fan” of Android. Microsoft is attacking Android and someone in regulatory agencies should take action. “Software patents are legalised extortion” says this new headline from an opposer of software patents, who writes:

By refusing to kowtow to the US software patent racket, Europe could experience a new golden age of technology, says Mike Lee.

From its theoretical description, a patent system for software seems like a great idea.

Rather than keeping their best code to themselves, software engineers can register their creations with the government, creating a marketplace of functionality. Anyone creating new products can save time and money by licensing, rather than reinventing.

If the patent system actually worked anything like that, software patents would be a no-brainer, but it doesn’t, and they’re not.

In fact, quite the opposite. Instead, the patent office contains vaguely worded descriptions written and held by lawyers, not for accelerating innovation, but for taxing it.

Many proponents of software patents are parasites like watchtroll, who already has his own words of little or no value. Patent lawyers cannot speak on behalf of people who make the software that patent lawyers are trying to tax; generally speaking, people who never practised software do not deserve a voice on the matter unless they become producing parties rather than bullies (for hire) who help subvert competition and tax everyone. Timothy B. Lee put it well in the following new article which he posted in Forbes:

People Should Listen to Computer Programmers about Software Patents

[...]

So too with software. The people complaining loudest about software patents are the very people whose efforts software patents are allegedly designed to encourage. If most of them think they’d be better off without that “protection,” that should give policymakers cause for soul-searching.

I doubt it’s a coincidence that this Sullivan reader is a patent law professor. While software patents don’t benefit the average computer programmer or software firm, they’re tremendously beneficial to the lawyers who make a living prosecuting and litigating software patents, and the law professors who make a living training the next generation of patent lawyers.

In Microsoft’s case, much of the lobbying comes from patent lawyers and managers, not developers. And there are no patents mentioned because they know they can achieve more by empty threats than by truthful means that are not dubious and even borderline criminal. Microsoft’s friends at Blackboard also leveraged patent FUD and got a lot of flak for it. Here is a little update about that:

The last time Techdirt wrote about the learning company, Blackboard, was in the context of its attempt to enforce a ridiculously broad patent on the field. Even before the patent was thrown out completely, Blackboard made an unusual move: it offered to exempt open source projects and those who contributed to them from its patent attacks:

As part of the Pledge, Blackboard promises never to pursue patent actions against anyone using such systems including professors contributing to open source projects, open source initiatives, commercially developed open source add-on applications to proprietary products and vendors hosting and supporting open source applications. Blackboard is also extending its pledge to many specifically identified open source initiatives within the course management system space whether or not they may include proprietary elements within their applications, such as Sakai, Moodle, ATutor, Elgg and Bodington.

Commitments to limit potential patent protection are uncommon, particularly for enterprise software companies. The Patent Pledge — in terms of its sweeping scope, strong commitment and public nature — is unprecedented for a product company such as Blackboard.

A proper action to take would be throwing away this patent altogether. Such patents, broad software patents to be more specific, should not exist. Some companies are bragging about these because the USPTO allows this to happen. We need to also strike at this root, the institutional failure, in order to prevent companies like Microsoft from fraudulently claiming ownership of Linux. Speaking of which, Microsoft’s partner Tuxera is still enabling Microsoft to tax Linux through file systems. Companies like Tuxera and Novell too are part of the problem we ought to tackle.

It’s not just Microsoft though. Its allies from Apple are attacking too. All that Apple can do now is sue, sue, sue. It has failed for over a year. So has Jobs’ “best friend” Larry Ellison. Samsung is tired of playing defence, so it “demands Iphone 4S source code” as things get more abrasive:

KOREAN ELECTRONICS GIANT Samsung is demanding the source code for the Iphone 4S firmware in its latest spat with Apple over patents.

Incidentally, Red Hat’s Open Source site had a new blog post about “Patent reform and patent totalitarianism”. To quote:

Touted as the most extensive revision of the patent law since 1952, the America Invents Act of 2011 was signed by the President on September 16. You might think in light of the celebration and rhetoric, that the Act was tackling the big problems such as patent trolls, broad and abstract patents, the billions squandered in the smartphone wars, or opportunistic litigation against users. You might think that. But you would be wrong.

It is not just about smartphones, either. But the smartphones market has become a good symptom of a broken system.

Watch Out for Microsoft Spin and Daemonisations Over UEFI Misuses

Posted in Google, Microsoft at 3:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ed Bott

Summary: UEFI spin occupies part of the media as attempts are being made to describe GNU/Linux users — not Microsoft — as the offending party

THE SUBJECT of UEFI was covered here before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and we provided antitrust material to show that, based on history, Microsoft does many such things deliberately in order to impede competition (while planning to market everything to the public as a “feature”, even DRM). Over the past few weeks, Microsoft boosters (with a proven history of sheer bias) have been trying to daemonise those who complain about UEFI and here is an example of a site that took the bait although it also wrote: “On that reading, Microsoft is spitting in the eye of their own customer base and it occurs to me that Microsoft’s secure boot would also prevent Windows users from using recovery and diagnostic software too (though frankly, I can’t muster much sympathy for people who pay for the privilege of being persistently shafted. They’re being digitally bitch slapped.) Even people who do not use GNU/Linux (or even proselytize for it) will have spotted straight away that European anti-trust laws forbids abuse of market dominance in one area to obtain it elsewhere. Already Linux Australia is considering petitioning the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) on the basis that it is anti-competitive. OEMs will be in the picture too if they lock down secure booting (even if under duress from Microsoft). Cartels aren’t popular. Or legal. It has even be mooted, that “hacking” the UEFI may even breach the DMCA.”

We also saw Ubuntu Forums trying to keep quiet in the face of people who raise concerns about this problem. A reader sent us links to show this. When people who argue in favour of GNU/Linux are supporting this “jail boot” scheme, they effectively argue for locked-down Linux and a major loss for software freedom, which is just what Microsoft might want (unintended achievement).

Over at Christine’s good site there is one among several claims that UEFI is already here:

Secure Boot Problems for Linux Users Are Here Already

More disturbing news on the UEFI/Secure Boot situation. Evidently, we don’t have to wait until the release of Windows 8 to find GRUB locked out of the boot sector on new computers. On Monday, Benjamin Kerensa reported on his blog that he’d received the following email regarded a failed attempt to install Linux on an HP PC:

“Recent articles regarding UEFI and Windows 8 suggest the problem of the former blocking Linux bootloader installation is a matter that will appear at the introduction of the latter. That is not the case. It is on Win 7 machines and blocking GRUB installation now.

“My friend recently got an HP s5-1110 with Win 7 installed. UEFI has prevented the installation of GRUB on this machine. I could find no way in the BIOS to disable the feature and so far, as I work my way up the HP tech support ladder, I have found no HP techs who have a clue what I’m talking about.”

Kerensa says that he’s looked further into this issue and has found that UEFI is already in use on some Dell and HP laptops. Evidently the folks over at Ubuntu are already aware of this problem and have posted some possible workarounds.

We need to make a lot of noise about this issue to convince the OEMs it would be to their advantage to take a position on this that doesn’t only benefit Microsoft.

We saw similar claims elsewhere, e.g. In Google+ (sent to us by readers). Microsoft boosters spin this in Ars Technica and in IDG (no links as that would feed them, but good ol' Microsoft Ed is one of them) while using the classic Microsoft talking points, also many quotes from Microsoft itself. This helps wash aside more balanced articles on the subject. Trying to live by Microsoft’s rules in the GNU/Linux world is not the solution, as we easily learn from past abuses with the MBR (we see Microsoft deliberately vandalising it, then speaking about it internally). Microsoft is again being allowed to get away with anti-competitive moves that it spins as “features”, just as it managed to get away with crimes related to Web browsers by agreeing to let other browsers be installed alongside its own (not instead of it). Here is a new article about this:

Microsoft abuse of dominant position

[...]

Certainly the software giant from Redmond, Washington, has invested huge capitals in research and development of desktop software, but it is quite arguable that that alone could justify such a prominence in the market. Network effects can lead a company to dominate over its competitors, especially when there is a time advantage in reaching a market (for instance, see [17]). However it is well documented that Microsoft Windows gained at least part of its overwhelming market share through unlawful practices.

Microsoft has been accused of abusing its dominant position multiple times, both in Europe and elsewhere, resulting in some of the highest fines ever handed out by any court[18]. In 1993-1994, following a complaint by Novell Inc., Microsoft was found guilty of anti-competitive behaviour by requiring manufacturers to pay a Windows license for each computer sold, regardless of whether or not it carried Windows on board[1]. In 1998 Sun Microsystems argued that Microsoft was not disclosing key information needed to achieve interoperability of Windows NT with concurrent systems and programs. Following this complaint, the EU further investigated the way in which streaming technologies were being integrated in Windows[14].

In 2003 the European Union ordered Microsoft to offer a version of Windows without Windows Media Player bundled to it, so as to open the market to competing media player software. In 2004 the European Commission stated that Microsoft’s practise “constitutes by its nature a very serious infringement” of European Treaties and added a fine for €497.2 million[6]. Additional sentences followed this decision due to Microsoft appeals and to its limited compliance to the 2004 sentence. These led the EC to fine Microsoft for €280.5 million in 2006[7] and €899 million in 2008[12].

The article as a whole misses some of the key points which we covered a couple of years ago and that’s a shame. Free Software Magazine actually disappoints with some of these latest articles, but it is possible that the PR efforts from Microsoft had it deceived. There is too much junk posted on the Web as “news” and also a PR campaign going for extortion of Android, but that will be the subject of the next post.

“Never wrestle with a pig—you get dirty and the pig likes it”

Sometimes attributed to Abraham Lincoln

TechBytes Turns One (Year Old)

Posted in Site News at 12:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We have not had a chance to record TechBytes in a while, but today we officially turn one and in the next episode we are going to discuss this. Happy birthday to TechBytes.

It is About Patent Wars and Attribution, Not Death

Posted in Apple, Patents at 11:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A few more words about Apple, whose new phone is having technical issues and former CEO gets criticised for misplaced credit and patent aggression

SOME unnamed reader privately expressed concerns regarding our posts about a deceased CEO. But it is not about his death, it is about what he did beforehand. He promised a war against Android/Linux, willing to invest $40 billion in this war. We cannot just simply ignore this. We’re not some PR entity (to whom reality distortion is the business model), our goal is to explain the harsh truth even if it warrants a bunch of screaming trolls and inconvenient (in the short term) backlash.

The Apple hypePhone is receiving some less flattering reviews lately. Among the latest articles we find:

We also wish to draw attention to this new article/column titled “Letter: Jobs and the patent issue”. From its concluding words:

Jobs defiantly refused to cross-license Apple’s patents, even for free, as companies with large patent portfolios typically do to avoid costly legal battles.

Steve Jobs idolized Hewlett-Packard cofounders Bill and Dave, but he never adopted their humble ethic of crediting visionary innovation to standing on the shoulders of giants.

As we shall show later on, Microsoft too has this same type of megalomania conflict, which has it claiming credit for things is did not invent while also discounting the many ideas and work it took from others. Linux/Android is unstoppable now, so all Microsoft/Apple can do now it cheat and collude.

HP garage
The garage in Palo Alto where Hewlett and Packard began their company

The End of SUSE Flavours

Posted in Novell, OpenSUSE at 11:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CaduceusSummary: An OpenSUSE-derived distribution/spin is looking for other stewardship (if any found)

LAST week we wrote about the situation with OpenSUSE and its siblings, which lost a lot of momentum when it comes to “community”. This leaves mostly Microsoft-funded employees running the show.

Although there was a conference planned (organised and funded by AttachMSFT) and there is pretence of crowd-sourcing in the OpenSUSE Web site, it is clear that “community” is walking away, this time taking another project down with it:

a) Due to lack of time (i’ve began my Master Studies abroad) i’ve to give up from the project. I think that there are people who are able to lead the project and have more time available.

We are going to cover some more SUSE and Novell news quite soon.

New Zealand’s Software Industry is Against Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Government Web site in New Zealand

Summary: Government of New Zealand and other lawmakers need to be reminded of the will of their people, not a load of tripe from foreign occupiers and their lobbyists

EXPANSION overseas is what enables many companies to grow and expansion of one’s laws is sometimes required to usher the arrival of foreign companies. Now that we learn about the latest militant patent being granted on software and the latest action from a US embargo agency known as the ITC (for blocking rivals from overseas and impose US patent restrictions on them) we can easily show that there is not much good in patents, certainly not for companies outside the US. But for quite some time now Microsoft has been pretending to be the small companies of New Zealand in an attempt to legalise software patents there.

A writer for IDG in New Zealand seems to be doing something a little treasonous by pushing viewpoints that align with that trick. To quote:

The Patents Amendment Bill, waiting for its second reading after the election, includes a superficially simple clause “a computer program is not a patentable invention”. This is already being hedged about with guidelines from the Intellectual Property Office (IPONZ) suggesting that software will still be patentable if it produces a physical effect on machinery.

Now, go to the Web site of the company named as favouring software patents. There is not a single product there.

The article also fails to highlight the points of view of developers in New Zealand, who are overwhelmingly (based on survey) against software patents. A lot of the support for software patents came from Microsoft, its lobbyists, and patent lawyers (who just profit from legal wars that benefit society in no way). Developers in New Zealand should keep alert.

Links 1/11/2011: OpenMAMA, Humble Voxatron Bundle

Posted in News Roundup at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation Launches OpenMAMA Project

      Several financial services firms are teaming up to launch the OpenMAMA project to deliver a new open-source messaging API, according to the Linux Foundation.

    • New OpenMAMA project releases open source middleware messaging spec

      NYSE Technologies and several financial services firms have launched the OpenMAMA project to deliver an open-source messaging API for financial services and telecommunivations. OpenMAMA 1.1 for x86-based Linux platforms has been released, and additional messaging middleware for high-volume, high-speed transactions on Linux and other platforms will follow, according to the Linux Foundation.

    • OpenMAMA 1.1 for Linux on x86 Systems Released
    • Graphics Stack

      • xf86-video-intel 2.17 Release Candidate

        Chris Wilson has taken a break from his Sunday hacking on the SNA acceleration architecture to put out the first release candidate for the upcoming xf86-video-intel 2.17.0 release.

        The xf86-video-intel 2.17 release isn’t going to be terribly exciting, since much of the interesting developments happen within Intel’s kernel DRM and Mesa components, but there are a couple of fixes in this upcoming driver.

      • AMD Catalyst 11.10 Linux Driver Released

        On the last day of the month, AMD has released Catalyst 11.10 as their October 2011 proprietary Linux driver update.

        AMD Catalyst 11.10 / fglrx 8.90 series has “early look” Ubuntu 11.10 support (even though it’s been in since the fglrx 8.89 series), production-rated support for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.7, and 2D performance improvements for the AMD Brazos platform.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Coverage From The Qt Developer Days In Munich

        For those that weren’t present at the Qt Developer Days 2011 in Munich this past week, here’s some of the content that’s now available online from this conference that marked the beginning of the Qt Project.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 23rd October 2011
      • Goodbye Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook and ARM

        Kate Stewart announced on October 28th that thr Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) Netbook and ARM editions reached EOL (End of Life) on October 29th, 2011.

        The ARM and Netbook editions of Lucid Lynx were released 18 months ago, on April 29th, 2010. Since then, it received important security updates and critical fixes.

        On October 29th, 2011, Canonical stopped supporting the Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) Netbook Edition and the Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) ARM Edition.

  • Distributions

    • Linux light – SliTaz GNU/Linux and SliTaz-Aircrack-ng

      Once upon a time there was DSL (Damn Small Linux) which provided a full workable system in a 50 MB image. I used to have it on a small tertiary partition for repair and rescue tasks on my main systems. It was never or at least very rarely needed as I recall, but I liked the pre-set radio stations in XMMS and the backgrounds and conky config in DSL, so I ended up running it more and more over Zenwalk 2.6, which at the time was using a very half-baked early XFCE 4.4, if only to listen to internet radio on a geeky minimalistic looking box.

      DSL is no more and has been superceded by TinyCore, which is only 10 MB in size. If that is too minimal for you there is another option, SliTaz GNU/Linux. It is a small distribution based in Switzerland that at exactly 30 MB in size sits somewhere in the middle and comes in French and English by default. You choose your language after booting. It´s been around for a while, I had a look at their 1.0 release in 2008 and was impressed. It is mainly intended as a live system but can be installed to hard drive. For being this small it includes a load of functionality, the Lighttpd web server for instance which makes it perfect for loading from USB stick or CD and running a website from memory.

    • New Releases

      • Berry 1.12
      • Linux From Scratch Version 7.0 released

        The Linux From Scratch (LFS) project has released Version 7.0 of its manual for building a custom Linux installation. The new version of these step-by-step instructions uses more recent components than previous editions – for example the recently introduced version 3.1 of the Linux kernel, the fairly recent GCC version 4.6.1, and the Glibc 2.14.1. The new LFS also explains how to set up a “/run” directory in the root directory using tmpfs, an approach taken by various distributions for several months.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Linux 2011.0

        There’s a lot to like about Mandriva 2011.0. The user interface has been tweaked and simplified, documentation and supporting services have continued to improve and clever ideas such as Timeline make it well worth experimenting with – at the very least by enthusiasts with virtual machines.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat (RHT) Could Break Through $53.33 Resistance Level

        Red Hat Inc (NYSE: RHT) closed Friday’s trading session at $51.86. In the past year, the stock has hit a 52-week low of $31.77 and 52-week high of $52.00. Red Hat (RHT) stock has been showing support around $49.19 and resistance in the $53.33 range.

      • Gloves off in NYSE: Red Hat trading tech face-off

        It was a bit perplexing when two weeks ago, apropos of nothing, commercial Linux distributor Red Hat affirmed its commitment to the Advanced Message Queuing Protocol (AMQP) messaging integration software that is at the heart of its Enterprise MRG-Messaging variant of the Linux stack it sells. Now we know why.

        This morning, the Linux Foundation and a bunch of important financial services giants that make use of such messaging software have backed an alternative project, launched today, called OpenMAMA.

      • Why OpenMAMA is the Future of Open Source

        OpenMAMA is an effort to standardize and simplify the MAMA APIs that have been in use since at least 2002. The basic idea behind have an open source implementation of MAMA is to have a level-set, a baseline implementation that is used to promote interoperability. The financial industry, especially stock exchanges like the NYSE are not strangers to Linux. The Big Board itself has been running on Red Hat since at least 2008. There has also been collaboration among financial services vendors as part of the AMPQ messaging standard too.

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu on phones, tablets, TV’s and smart screens everywhere

            By 14.04 LTS Ubuntu will power tablets, phones, TVs and smart screens from the car to the office kitchen, and it will connect those devices cleanly and seamlessly to the desktop, the server and the cloud.

            Unity, the desktop interface in today’s Ubuntu 11.10, was designed with this specific vision in mind. While the interface for each form factor is shaped appropriately, Unity’s core elements are arranged in exactly the way we need to create coherence across all of those devices. This was the origin of the name Unity – a single core interface framework, that scales across all screens, and supports all toolkits.

          • Unity Integration to Run Deeper in Ubuntu 12.04

            As UDS continues over in Florida, USA thoughts have turned on how to make integration between applications and the Unity desktop better.

          • Ubuntu 12.04 will Focus on Power Users, Efforts to Bring Ubuntu to Phones,Tablets and TVs by 14.04 LTS

            In opening keynote address of Ubutnu Developer Summit (UDS), Mark Shuttleworth said that lots of efforts will be put this cycle to make Ubuntu more power users friendly. Emphasis will be on improving multi-tasking, multi-monitor support and other features for power users.

            With 12.04 LTS, the support will also be extended to 5 years which has been 3 years until now for LTS releases. Also a more streamlined desktop experience will be delivered to corporate users who deploy Ubuntu at mass scale.

            Mark also talked about some plans for the next 14.04 LTS release, due in 2 years. He said that there will be efforts to deliver the core Unity platform to a range of devices that include smartphones, tablets and TVs.

          • Ubuntu Software Centre 12.04 Gets Discussed

            Plans for improving the performance and start-up time for Ubuntu’s Software Centre in 12.04 have been discussed at the Ubuntu Developer Summit.

          • Shuttleworth Misses the Point Yet Again

            I can’t speak for everyone, but I can at least speak for myself. I am not “too cool” to use something that looks “slick” (I mean comon, have you seen Enlightenment).

            What I’m not about to use though is something that was clearly designed for a touch screen on my computer that has a 15+inch monitor driven by a keyboard and mouse. I’m not about to use something that is resource greedy. And I most certainly not about to use something that makes most all the choices for me about how my desktop should be laid out. I’m the one that is going to be using my computer – so how about I get to choose how the GUI works best for me?

          • Shuttleworth: Linux Power Users Aren’t too Cool for Unity

            Mark Shuttleworth makes no apologies for the Ubuntu Unity Linux desktop interface, in fact he sees it as the foundation for his company’s platform strategy as the company moves beyond desktops, servers and the cloud.

            Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu Linux, delivered a keynote address today at the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS), reminding the Ubuntu faithful of the progress made this past year. He also delivered his vision for the road ahead, which involved leveraging Unity to bring Unity to multiple types of smart screens including phones and tablets.

          • [Ubuntu Fridge Update]
          • Ubuntu 14.04 will be a smartphone and tablet OS. So what?

            n a recent blog entry, Mark Shuttleworth, owner of Canonical and the de facto leader of Ubuntu development, announced that future versions of the OS will be optimized for tablets and smartphones. By spring 2013 (assuming the company keeps to its rigid release schedule), version 14.04 LTS “will power tablets, phones, and smart screens from the car to the office kitchen, and it will connect those devices cleanly and seamlessly to the desktop, the server, and the cloud.”

            Shuttleworth’s ambitions are certainly timely. While it has become apparent that Linux will never challenge Windows’ core constituency of desktop and laptops, the definition of what constitutes a computing platform is expanding at an enormous rate thanks to continued advances in smartphone and tablet capabilities. Android and iOS have already established themselves as clear challengers to the Windows paradigm while ARM is threatening the x86 portion of the vaunted Wintel Alliance. Even more importantly, this is scarcely an idea the Canonical owner jotted down half-baked. Ubuntu’s Unity GUI, writes Shuttleworth, was specifically designed to scale across a wide range of devices from small touch screens to desktops, and to provide a consistent operating environment across all of them.

          • Will Ubuntu Mobile Kill The Desktop?

            Mark Shuttleworth, the optimistic leader of Ubuntu, has shared his ‘next’ big plan and it has everything to do with the markets where Linux is already strong — non desktop markets.

          • Ubuntu for smartphones, tablets and TVs
          • Shuttleworth: Ubuntu is heading to phones and tablets
          • Ubuntu Linux eyes tablet territory
          • Can Ubuntu Linux win on smartphones and tablets?

            Mark Shuttleworth is as close as Linux has ever had to Steve Jobs. He has vision, he’s articulate, and he can move an audience. But, can he move a market that’s in love with Android phones and Apple iPad tablets to give Ubuntu a chance? I think he has a shot.

            I’ve known for over a year that Ubuntu was going to try for the smartphone and tablet market, so when Ubuntu’s founder Mark Shuttleworth told me he was going to expand to devices, I wasn’t surprised. Technically, Ubuntu, and its parent company, Canonical, have the chops to do it.

          • Ubuntu Linux to Hit Tablets, Phones, TVs in the Nick of Time?
          • Canonical to Expand Ubuntu for Smartphones, Tablets
          • Ubuntu Linux looks beyond the desktop to phones, tablets, TVs
          • Ubuntu Plans Move to Smartphones, Tablets, TVs
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu 11.10 and my Netbook

              October saw the release of the latest version of the Ubuntu family and that includes Xubuntu, the Xfce edition. I’ve just installed Xubuntu 11.10 on my netbook and the experience was rather good.

              The netbook in question is an eMachines (Acer) model eM350. The specs are: 1.6GHz Atom processor, 1GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive. I’d been using it for a couple of months with the default installation of Windows XP.

            • Kubuntu + Realtek card – slow network performance
            • Thanks Kubuntu and Canonical!

              So several weeks back, the wonderful Kubuntu folks, on behalf of Canonical, supplied a tablet to help me test modifications I’ve been making to allow Bangarang to be more touch friendly. Bangarang was shipped with Plasma Active One with some very basic modifications to help make it at least tolerable on a touch device. I’ve spent a little more time trying to improve the touch mode and the supplied tablet has made it so much easier for testing.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • New $89 Open-source Hardware Runs Full Linux OS

      An open-source hardware group on Monday announced a US$89 credit-card sized motherboard based on an ARM processor that could be used for robotics, gaming and medical devices.

      BeagleBoard’s BeagleBone development board is targeted at the open-source hardware community, which includes hobbyists and engineers writing code for hardware with open-source specifications. Some BeagleBoard projects include bringing Linux-based Android and Ubuntu operating systems to its hardware.

    • $89 dev board includes Cortex-A8 CPU, Ethernet, JTAG

      BeagleBoard.org announced a new open-platform, hobbyist-focused development board — priced at just $89 and equipped with a Linux distro that boots in ten seconds. The BeagleBone offers an ARM Cortex-A8 processor running at 720MHz, 256MB of RAM, two 46-pin expansion connectors, a USB host port and multipurpose device port, on-chip Ethernet, and a microSD slot.

    • Phones

      • $100 Atrix 2 is a smartphone bargain, review says

        Motorola’s Atrix 2 is well worth its $100 on-contract price, at a time when some Android smartphones are selling for $300, says this eWEEK review. Dual-core, 1GHz performance, a 4.3-inch qHD display, and a responsive eight-megapixel camera offer good value, and an extra $300 brings you the nifty Lapdock 100 accessory.

      • Never say die: why HP should open up webOS instead of killing it

        HP announced last week that it will keep its PC division instead of spinning it off as the company had previously discussed. The future of the company’s mobile strategy and the fate of the webOS platform remain unclear, however.

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • LinuxCon Europe Wrap-Up

      The first-ever LinuxCon Europe wrapped up on Friday October 28 in Prague. The LinuxCon portion of the week was just one part of a combined schedule that also incorporated Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE) 2011, the Linux Kernel Summit (LKS), and the GStreamer Conference.

      By all accounts the event was a success, attracting more than 800 attendees — a number that threatened to overflow the meeting rooms of a few of the more popular sessions. In fact, the far-greater-than-expected turnout already prompted the Linux Foundation (LF) to look for a larger venue for the 2012 conference. The co-location of LKS and ELCE meant that a lot of talks dealt with the kernel itself (file systems, device drivers, kernel module development, etc.) and with embedded development, but there was plenty of other content as well — desktop environments, databases, license questions, and more.

  • Web Browsers

    • Midori: One Of The Most Lightweight Browsers Around [Linux & Windows]

      We’ve had browser wars back when Netscape was still the king. Today, it’s Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera all battling it out to see who’s top dog. There are plenty of different categories where they are being compared, such as speed, memory efficiency, functionality/features, and more.

  • SaaS

    • Rackspace Doubles Down On Open Source Process

      Open source has been vital in creating the cloud. The open source process allowed many companies to use what began as Google’s (GOOG) MapReduce, evolving it into things like Hadoop (originally a Yahoo (YHOO) project), entire cloud stacks like Red Hat’s (RHT) OpenShift, and services like Amazon’s (AMZN) EC2 in relatively short order.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice extensions and templates site now live

      Following a six-week public beta, The Document Foundation (TDF) has announced that the project’s new extensions and templates repositories for LibreOffice are now online. In a post on the TDF blog, Florian Effenberger, a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors, says that the sites are just “one of the many community efforts at the LibreOffice project”, adding that the repositories will “benefit of millions of LibreOffice and free office users worldwide”.

    • Oracle v. Google – Opposing Positions (to Motions)

      Last Friday was the day for both parties to get their negative mojo on as they each filed oppositions to the motions of the other. The three motions addressed are:

      * Google’s motion that it not be held liable for patent damages occuring prior to July 20, 2010 (see, Google Files Motion for Partial SJ on Oracle’s Failure to Mark);

      * Google’s motion to strike two “rebuttal” damages reports (of Oracle) by Dr. Kenneth Serwin (see, Google Loses Lindholm Email Battle); and

      * Oracle’s motion to exclude portions of the expert reports (of Google) of Gregory K. Leonard and Alan J. Cox (see, Google Loses Lindholm Email Battle)

  • Healthcare

    • GNU Health 1.4.1 released

      GNU Solidario is happy to announce the release of GNU Health 1.4.1, in which we have incorporated support for PyPI, the Python Package Index Digg this article

  • Licensing

    • Ruby 1.9.3 arrives with licence change

      The Ruby development team announced the release of version 1.9.3 of its open source programming language. Described as basically being “an implementation-improved version of Ruby 1.9.2″, the first release of the new stable series of Ruby improves library loading performance and brings changes to the Ruby licence.

    • Ruby project ditches GPL in favour of BSD
  • Open Hardware

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Insurers Want Obama to Defy Law So They Can Continue Keeping You In The Dark

      If you have no idea what you’re paying good money for when you enroll in a health insurance plan, there’s a good reason for that: insurers profit from your ignorance. And they’re waging an intense, behind-the-scenes campaign to keep you in the dark.

      In my first appearance before Congress after leaving the insurance industry, I told members of the Senate Commerce Committee that insurers intentionally make it all but impossible for consumers to
      find out in advance of buying a policy exactly what is covered and what isn’t, and how much they’ll be on the hook for if they get sick or injured. Insurers are quite willing to provide you with slick marketing materials about their policies, but those materials are notoriously skimpy when it comes to useful information. And the documents they provide after you enroll are so dense that few of us can understand them.

  • Finance

    • Joyce Will Be Back at GoldmanSachs666.com Monday

      I know you join me in welcoming her back with her on target posts relating to our core job of exposing Goldman Sachs as to their many actions which contributed to our current financial crisis and to the economic demise of our great middle class.

      GoldmanSachs666 is a non monetized site which has run from day one by volunteers such as Joyce. We welcome and appreciate the efforts made by her and the many others who have participated over the past few years of our existence.

    • We are the 99%
    • Goldman Sachs Sued By Hedge Fund For Knowingly Selling Toxic Mortgage-Backed Investments

      The Basis Fund filed a similar suit against Goldman in June 2010, but a U.S. district court dismissed the suit in July since the Australian hedge fund was not able to prove that its purchases from Goldman were made in the United States. Basis filed its lawsuit on Thursday to the New York County Supreme Court, rather than in the federal court system, in order to sidestep that complaint.

      Basis lost $67 million in its dealings with Goldman Sachs in 2007, according to Lewis: Eleven million dollars from a $12 million investment in Point Pleasant and another $56 million out of a subsequent $81 million investment in Timberwolf. The hedge fund is suing for an additional $1 billion in punitive damages, because they say Goldman practiced systemic fraud as it tried to unload $1 billion in Timberwolf on unsuspecting customers.

      Lewis said that Basis plans to use the discovery process in order to dig up more information about Goldman’s development and marketing of the Point Pleasant and Timberwolf securities. They said they plan to look at internal emails; investigate Goldman’s dealings with Greywolf, a firm with Goldman ties that helped select Timberwolf’s underlying assets; probe the ratings agencies that stamped Timberwolf with a AAA rating; and ask Goldman executives to testify in court.

  • Civil Rights

    • Positive Policing From Wisconsin’s “Original Occupation”

      After two tours of duty in Iraq, 24-year-old Wisconsin native Scott Olsen managed to escape unscathed and with seven medals for valor. But Olsen was critically injured in an Occupy Oakland march last week by a police projectile. According to eyewitnesses, Olsen was acting as a human barrier between unarmed civilians and Oakland police in riot gear who were charged with keeping a public park cleared for sanitation purposes.

IRC Proceedings: October 31st, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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