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12.15.11

More Correlations Found Between Malice and Patents

Posted in Patents at 7:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red dress

Summary: Patent news of relevance with emphasis on the USPTO

EARLIER this month we wrote about CarrierIQ, noting that it provides an example of why proprietary software is often malicious. We now read that the FBI made use of this malicious software. We now realise that software patents too were part of this bundle. Excellent example of everything going wrong under the same package, eh?

The patent industry is posting a load of rubbish about these malicious things and contests are being set up to help make things worse for everyone (except patent lawyers). Here is more of this theme:

Glastonbury software developer TopCoder Inc. has opened a $50,000 contest for code writers to create by mid-January new algorithms that will help the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office conduct patent review.

We mentioned this before. While patents boosters are hiring hostile pro-patent people [1, 2] we cannot help feeling cynical about where the USPTO is headed. Here is the story of one real company (or a set of them) which feel the pinch:

The developers behind the next evolution of the Internet — linked, immersive, 3D environments — are trying to think of ways to minimize the adverse impact of software patents on their industry.

Software patents are for a meta-industry, not the real industry which makes stuff. There is no good faith in patent monopolies. We’ll provide more evidence in the coming days.

Xamarin and Novell: The Sagas Continue

Posted in Novell at 7:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The scraps of Novell make small moves

Ruins

Summary: The latest news from Xamarin and from Novell, which have totally lost their way by now

THE company known as Xamarin is a proprietary software powerhouse with emphasis on .NET. Its CTO does not use GNU/Linux at work. See the comments here and mind the headline which says the opposite of the real news (that Miguel de Icaza moved away from Linux).

Xamarin has a new proprietary (open ‘core’) product which is based on “an open-source version of Microsoft’s .Net technology for programming in Microsoft’s C# language.” The article continues: “With the newest version of Mono for Android, C# programmers can produce software that will run natively on both Android 4.0, aka Ice Cream Sandwich, and on Android tablets including Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, Xamarin said yesterday.”

As we explained in the past, this is a sort of embrace-and-extend of Android. From Java/Dalvik to Microsoft’s turf? Does anyone really need that? A few sites gave that coverage, but all in all, things were quiet. One article says:

“The big component is that we’ve caught up for Google,” Miguel de Icaza, CTO of Xamarin, told InternetNews.com.

Google does not need .NET on its phones, so once again Mono is a solution in search of a problem (which does not exist). Novell in general offers a distribution that addresses a need nobody really has. The whole “IP peace of mind” line is just pure FUD and amid security issues and some blurbs about OpenSUSE we find this announcement of a product that arrives very late given the age of SLE* 11. To quote:

Novell and SUSE Linux may technically be separate companies, but they are owned by the same Attachmate conglomerate and they still have to work together on specific products, such as Open Enterprise Server, which bolts NetWare print and file services to SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

“OES is Novell’s operating system product that helps to provide a bridge to its legacy NetWare customers. The OES product line first debuted in 2005. With the new OES 11 release, Novell is basing the server on the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 SP1 release, that debuted back in May 2010,” as this article put it. What took it so long? The official word does not provide an answer and new material about SLE* is equally out of date. It is quite possible that turmoil inside Novell led to this procrastination.

Apple’s Patent War on Linux Turns Back Against Apple, Which Allegedly Resorts to Using Patent Trolls

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 7:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SD

Summary: Apple’s aggressive moves against Linux-powered phones/tablets end up putting Apple’s business at risk and Apple is seen paying trolls, possibly with ill intent

THE behaviour of Apple has become increasingly relevant to us because Apple attacks Free/Open Source software.

The patent hoarding of Apple is further exacerbated with additions that are later being used to block sales of Android devices. There is reactionary motion to ban Apple devices as means of deterrence and the outcome can be serious for Apple’s business.

Ironically, the fight which was started by Apple does not turn out too well, at least not in the conventional way.

As we showed a couple of days ago, it is now Apple that risks embargo. In an article from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols he labels this “revenge” and notes that:

A German court has just issued a preliminary injunction on Motorola’s behalf that blocks European sales of all Apple’s 3G-enabled devices.

A Microsoft booster helps show that Apple is additionally hurting open standards with its software patents. To quote:

Opera developer Haavard Moen has accused Apple of repeatedly using patents to undermine the development of Web standards and block their finalization.

World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the industry group that governs and oversees the development of Web standards, requires that every specification it approves be implementable on a royalty-free basis, barring extraordinary circumstances that justify an exception to this rule. The specifications can contain patented technology, as long as royalty-free patent licenses are available.

Nilay Patel, who previously (as in this case) spread anti-Android (and thus Apple-sympathetic) messages through boosters who had helped Microsoft lobbyists, seeds this story, which goes along the lines of “Samsung did not play nice with Apple”. Meanwhile, “Apple appears to have entered an unusual deal with a company commonly referred to as a patent troll.” Ars Technica writes:

Apple may be using patent troll to do its legal dirty work

It appears that Apple has made a deal with patent troll Digitude Innnovations to help the company’s efforts to sue nearly every major mobile device maker. Digitude earlier this month launched one of its first legal attacks against Nokia, RIM, Motorola, HTC, LG, Samsung, Sony, and even Amazon, filing a patent infringement claim with the International Trade Commission. Conspicuously absent from that list is iPhone maker Apple, which until late November owned two of the patents being used to target “certain mobile devices” from its competitors.

We have already seen Microsoft using patent trolls as proxies in attacks on Android, so let’s keep an eye on this. Apple is desperate to block Android because its core business may depend on it. Apple previously paid the world’s biggest patent troll.

When OOXML Attacks Free Software

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 6:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Machine gun

Summary: Europe’s transition to Free/Open Source software is stifled by the existence of Microsoft’s fake ‘open’ format

THE SUBJECT of OOXML/ODF was covered here thoroughly in 2007 and 2008. We showed a great deal of lies, corruption, and cover-up.

Putting aside the corruption behind OOXML, the anticompetitive aspect of it returns to haunt Europe. Ryan says that “they should get rid of it and use ODF” and notes that the “Open Source Business Alliance” has created a new working group – “Office Interoperability.”

“Business Alliance,” notes Ryan, is similar to the BSA and many times before we explained that interoperability is just a weasel word used to marginalise open standards. “I smell Ballmer,” Ryan says, but the report is not so amusing. To quote:

IT authorities from Germany and Switzerland have announced that they are working together, under the auspices of the Open Source Business Alliance, to improve the way that LibreOffice and OpenOffice.org display and process OOXML-formatted documents. The authorities involved include the IT groups from the cities of Munich, Jena and Freiburg im Breisgau, the Swiss canton of Waadt, the Swiss Federal Court and the Schweizer Informatikstrategie Bund (Swiss IT Federation) whose representatives met at a workshop in Zurich in October to launch the “Precise reproduction of OOXML documents in Open Source Office applications” project. Slides for the workshop provide more details of what was discussed.

This was the purpose of OOXML all along — throwing users back into the same loop and the same lock-in/trap.

Links 15/12/2011: Linux 3.2 is Coming, 2011 GNOME User Survey Published

Posted in News Roundup at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Help us make LibrePlanet 2012 a success!

      The dates have been announced for our next conference — March 24th and 25th 2012, at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. A call for papers has also been announced. The conference will include talks from the FSF staff and board, GNU project contributors, and other members of the global free software community. I hope you will join us!

  • Web Browsers

  • SaaS

    • Cloudera Expands Hadoop Management for the Enterprise

      The Apache Hadoop project has generated a lot of hype as being the poster child for the phenomenon known as Big Data. The practical reality though is that Hadoop works best with a distribution of complementary tools and applications that fully enables an effective Big Data deployment.

  • Databases

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Hudson spinoff Jenkins gets commercial backing

      Java platform-as-a-service cloud provider CloudBees has launched a commercial version of the Jenkins CI (continuous integration) platform, the company announced Wednesday.

      An increasing number of enterprises that use Jenkins for their application development are using the software in production settings, said Steve Harris, who is CloudBees’ senior vice president of products. The company had surveyed Jenkins users and found that 80 percent deploy Jenkins in “mission critical” duties.

  • Business

    • JetBrains turns IntelliJ IDEA up to 11

      JetBrains, developers of the IntelliJ IDEA polyglot IDE, have announced the release of version 11 of IDEA with enhanced performance, improved version control support, an updated UI, and platform improvements on Mac OS X and Linux. Since October 2009, when the open source version was announced, IntelliJ IDEA has been available in two editions: an open source community edition for Java, Groovy and Scala development, and a commercially supported, more fully featured “Ultimate” edition with support from frameworks like Java EE and Spring, and tools to assist deployment and debugging.

    • Semi-Open Source

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • White House releases early test code for Data.gov platform, moves closer to open source reality

      The White House’s Open Government Partnership inched closer to maturity last week, with the release of a new open data platform, designed to help other governments set up their own Data.gov portals. On Wednesday, Data.gov developer Chris Musialek posted the first pieces of early test code for the unfortunately named “Data.gov-in-a-box” — an open source version of the US and Indian governments’ respective data portals. Both countries, in fact, have been working on the platform since August, with the Obama administration pledging some $1 million to the effort.

    • Report: DARPA Cozies Up to Open Source

      Among organizations that favor closed technology development, DARPA would have to qualify as one of the most traditionally closed outfits of all. The United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency routinely pops up with new inventions, many of which would impress James Bond, but the inventions are typically shrouded in secrecy and mystery until they arrive. After all, lots of them are intended for battlefields, where the element of surprise can matter a lot. But Ars Technica reports that DARPA is exploring some new technology development models, including embracing open source principles. This makes a lot of sense.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The importance of Wikipedia

      Mirror mirror on the wall, what’s the most important open source project of them all?

      * Are you asking about economic impact? Then it’s probably Linux, or maybe the Apache Web server.
      * Are you asking about user base? In that case I’m thinking Google’s Android, or Mozilla.
      * But if you’re talking about active participation, getting people’s hands on the guts of the thing, having them donate that back to the commons, and fulfilling the idea behind open source, there can be only one answer. Wikipedia.

      Wikipedia has over 100,000 active volunteers working in 270 languages. You’re probably most familiar with the English language version, with its 3.8 million articles. But that’s less than 20% of the total, which now comes to over 20 million.

    • Data

      • What’s Holding Back the Age of Data

        Which is essentially where the data market is today. Everybody understands that data has value; there is little consensus on how, where and via what mechanisms it should be distributed, licensed and sold.

    • Open Hardware

      • The making of Arduino, an open source electronics prototyping platform

        The Arduino is a fantastic example of multiple things–a platform for rapid prototyping (a crucial component of the open source way), a hacker ‘scratching his own itch’ (I need a platform for my students) in public where other people could adapt his creation for their own wildly different uses, a way to lower the barriers to access of technology creation.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Finance

    • Protesters Occupy Goldman Sachs

      The reason several hundred protesters have congregated on West Street is that Goldman Sachs can be found there. And, today, Occupy Wall Street has gone squidding just outside. The idea comes from Matt Taibbi’s “nailed-it” description of the banking giant as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” Many umbrellas sporting makeshift tentacles and ad hoc hats with angry squid eyes cap the march, which leaves simultaneously from two locations: City Hall and Zuccotti Park.

      The march is timed to coincide with an effort in West Coast cities to shut down ports, with New York occupiers showing solidarity with their brothers and sisters in Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, and elsewhere – all of whose occupations were evicted just like the de facto flagship one in New York. According to Boots Riley of the Oakland hip-hop outfit The Coup, “Occupy Oakland called for this massive coordinated blockade as a way to strike back at the 1% after their attacks on the Occupy movement and their continued assault on working and poor people.” New York couldn’t have picked a more apt 1 percent target than Goldman, as Taibbi’s depiction hints.

      “Everybody pays their tax,” chant the marchers. “Everyone but Goldman Sachs.” The reference is to Goldman’s shady accounting, which allows the corporation to grossly underpay its federal taxes.

    • Goldman Sachs + Warren Buffett = Not Many Jobs

      More than two years into the five-year program, which planned to reach and nurture 10,000 small businesses, just 5 percent of that goal has been met, and Goldman is reassessing the amount of time it will need. And what of Buffett, who has maintained an active role (though not a financial one) in the plan? The often chatty co-sponsor declined to comment.

  • Civil Rights

IRC Proceedings: December 14th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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IRC Proceedings: December 13th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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