11.04.11

‘Owning’ Language

Posted in Apple, Intellectual Monopoly at 4:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Characters

Summary: Words you cannot use when Apple’s police is out hunting

WE often criticise intellectual monopolies for impeding knowledge, but what about language? Apple is going far too far with its brand-bullying campaigns. What brand does Apple claim to own anyway? Just the name of a fruit. And it goes after small shops that actually serve fruit because Apple is all about branding and if the brand gets ‘diluted’, then Apple can be finished as a brand. The problem is, apple is a common English word. Had the small businesses been able to take this the court, they would have won easily. Cost of litigation is high though. Perhaps this is why Apple tends to crush small businesses, this time a “tiny restaurant in Luxembourg” based on a report which says: [via Walt]

The mighty international Apple Inc. fears consumers worldwide will be confused by a tiny restaurant in Luxembourg named AppleADay. Their slogan? “Balanced Fast Food.” Apple’s response? Threaten to sue.

Can you get a better David vs Goliath story? Three young people in Luxembourg worked with a dietician to create a bistro menu of fast food that’s healthy. “We wanted to return to the original taste of the food,” said one of the owners. Local authorities gave the name their approval of the name suggested by the bistro’s communications company. The logo looks much more like a Georgia Peach logo than the Apple computer logo, but that’s before the lawyers got involved.

The insane nature of intellectual monopolies is made ever more crazy when you add proprietary software vendors to it. Microsoft claims to own the word “windows”, “lindows”, and even someone’s name (Mike Rowe).

Canonical/Ubuntu Considers Dumping Mono From Ubuntu LTS

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mono, Ubuntu at 4:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Almost no Mono applications (or none) in Ubuntu 12.04?

Mono the Trojan
Source: “Mono, the Trojan” (reused with permission)

Summary: The long term support release of Ubuntu (next release) may come with almost no Mono applications (or none) and there is discussion about getting rid of Mono altogether

Banshee coverage at Phoronix was mentioned here the other day, but we now see some reports that almost contradict it. “Apparently,” tells us Viper550, “Ubuntu devs are proposing a switch back to Rhythmbox”

Ryan insists that he “said that last night, EST… (to the tune of that Get a Mac ad) Problems? Too darned many. Patches? Not enough. Banshee has issues, it’s so glitchy, they’re leaving it, for Rhythmbox… ”

Viper550 explains the reasons as: “Banshee = not GTK3, glitchy on ARM, removing it could allow the removal of Mono from the main repository, etc.”

“I doubt Mono will be removed from the repository,” Ryan adds, “getting it removed from the supported system and into Universe would be good though… they wasted time and effort coding all their Ubuntu One crap in C# for a dead end (Mono), while complaining Rhythmbox isn’t up to their standards, instead of improving Rhythmbox”

“[T]hey said it could also save some space on the ISOs,” replies Viper550, but Ryan insists that “Red Hat has ported Rhythmbox to GTK+ 3 and gotten it in good shape, they’re thinking about doubling back and using it in Ubuntu again which means rewriting all their Ubuntu One crap that they spent man hours writing for Banshee… Ubuntu just takes leftovers… once some other outfit gets something working, Ubuntu swipes it and takes credit for installing it in the default system, which they call “integration work”…”

Having searching for some references on this matter, we got this (Viper550 says it “was discussed at UDS”).

- Rhythmbox / Banshee :
This subject was a bit of surprise for me, I didn’t expect such discussion will happen. However, the 2 applications have problems :
- Banshee : Problem on ARM (doesn’t work), no GTK3 support, and removing Banshee will remove Mono from the CD (good for the space) and probably from main (which make Security team happy, not having to maintain Mono stack for 5 years)
- RB : U1 store need to be updated, Music lense needs to be updated, it needs a release from upstream.
A quick vote on usage of both applications in the room makes approximately a 50 / 50 result (maybe a bit more for RB).
Conclusion, RB will probably be back on the CD, if no problem is raised by the other teams not present during the session. The decision was not easy, but IMO it makes sense in the context of an LTS. And, well, Banshee will still be available in the archive, will at least the same level of integration than in 11.10.

So “basically,” explains Viper550, “cliffsnotes version: Banshee may be dropped because its not a native GTK 3 application, doesn’t work well on ARM, and dropping that and Mono could save some disk space (which make Security team happy, not having to maintain Mono stack for 5 years)”

Other sites appear to have already reported about this too, so we’ll quote:

Rhythmbox Might Replace Banshee In Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin, More News

[...]

As for the second session, most people who have attended the default applications session today at UDS-P have agreed to replace Banshee with Rhythmbox by default. However, decision is not final as there are a few things that need to be checked first (like Unity Music Lens integration, etc.).

This is great news and a step in the right direction.

Microsoft Wants to Dance With Samba

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Samba at 4:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samba balls

Summary: How and why Microsoft is ‘embracing’ Samba

“O

n 10 October 2011,” writes The H, “a Microsoft developer contributed a GPL licensed patch to the Samba project. The patch, which was part of a proof of concept for extended protection for NTLM and presented by Stephen A. Zarko of Microsoft’s Open Source Technology Center, has now been noted as the passing of a milestone by Chris Hertel of the Samba team. Samba provides tools and servers which enable interoperability with Windows’ SMB and CIFS networking on Linux and Unix based systems.”

The reactions to this move were mixed. Proponents of the monopolist (who advertise with Microsoft) make it look wonderful (identical headline from SJVN), but members of Techrights are a lot more cautious.

“I’m not sure what the real role of the Microsoft team working with Samba is,” noted one person, “but the developers should not lose sight of the whole picture that is Microsoft. Just because one small department is helpful for one group, for right now does not mean that the greater threat has diminished or gone away. In some ways it the threat is greater because it gets the Samba team and others to let their guard down.

“It’s not unlike a vendor buying them a meal or beer for them, or providing swag. It’s not done for their benefit.

“This is a little more advanced than simply buying someone off with swag or free beer, but it’s the same principle. One rogue department doesn’t set policy for the whole beast.”

Microsoft also gave code to Mono (MS-PL-licensed). At the same time Microsoft asserted that it can sue over it.

“It’s working,” noted one of us. “One problem with Allison’s statement is that he is blind to how Microsoft makes its money. It does not make it’s money from Windows and Office, that’s just a tiny fraction of the money. The big money comes from the monopoly rents on both products.

“Microsoft was trying to leverage that monopoly to get into the server room when Samba took on M$ and defeated it in court. Microsoft is still going to protect its core money-makers, the two monopolies even if Samba does now get thrown a bone.”

Microsoft has already got its former employees from Likewise paying Microsoft for patents on Samba-like functionality (with Samba code). This is not good.

Sam Varghese points out that “Samba is one of the free software projects that has moved in toto to the GPL version 3.” Muktware’s take is that: “As Linux is gaining popularity Microsoft seems to have increased its contribution to ensure their products will work well with Linux. The recent patch submission to the Linux kernel was an indicator.”

What do readers think?

Pirate Party of Australia Lashes Out at Software Patents

Posted in Australia, Patents at 3:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Pirate Party of Australia

Summary: The Pirate Party of Australia uses its influence to keep software patents out of Australia (although Australia is already not too resistant to software patenting)

EARLIER THIS year the Pirate Party of New Zealand pointed its finger at Microsoft for pro-software patents lobbying and the famous founder of the original pirate party (who had worked for Microsoft) attacked patents even more broadly a few months ago.

We now find that the Pirate Party of Australia also gets involved:

It seems anger about software patents is really coming to a head.

The Pirate Party published its submission to the government’s Review of the Innovation Patent System.

The system was introduced in 2001 to help innovation in Australian small to medium-sized businesses, enabling them to protect low-level innovation by lowering the threshold of inventiveness required for patent protection.

However, the government decided to hold a review of the system after concerns were raised about it; for example, it was simply being used as a placeholder while companies sought a real patent, or that it was difficult to prove that such patents weren’t original, instead taking advantage of someone else’s work. Software is currently included in the type of products that can be awarded an innovation patent.

These patents currently include software. One of the questions raised by the review was whether software ought to be excluded from being awarded an innovation patent.

The Pirate Party said that an expansion of the patent system such as the innovation patent, which provides easy patentability of incremental innovations, was “no solution to the plague of issues that the patent system causes”.

Indeed, the party did not limit itself to criticism of the innovation patent, but launched into a set of arguments as to why software ought to be left out of the patent system altogether.

It is important to build strong opposition to software patents, especially in nations that have not caught the software patents bug. Companies like Intel and Microsoft keep working hard to turn other countries’ laws into enemies of those countries’ own people, for the benefit of multinationals with massive patent portfolios.

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