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12.21.11

Merry Xmas

Posted in Site News at 11:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xmas at Boycott Novell

Ron Hovsepian and Steve Ballmer with red hats

Our posting volume will decrease in the coming days. There is not much to report on.

Latest Patent Attacks on Linux/Android and Why They Matter

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 11:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Multinational proprietary cartel taking turns in Linux smackdown

Volley

Summary: Updates on the Oracle, BT, and Apple actions against Android

FOLLOWING some delays at the US-based embargo agency known as ITC, the word came out about yet another example of anti-competitive tactics, this time from Apple. This affects Linux/Android in a very concrete way as we shall explain in this post.

“All that proprietary giants like Apple and Microsoft can do is throw patents at the ‘problem’ and occasionally use some patent trolls from the outside, adding wood to the fire.”As a bit of background, consider the fact that Linux/Android is gaining in the mobile market and figures from yet more analyst groups say that the same is about to happen on tablets. All that proprietary giants like Apple and Microsoft can do is throw patents at the ‘problem’ and occasionally use some patent trolls from the outside, adding wood to the fire. Steve Jobs’ close friend, Larry Ellison, sure throws a lot of lumber into this fire, but it gradually backfires. One patent at a time, Oracle’s case against Google is disintegrating. One ally of Microsoft, BT, is also throwing some wood into the fire with this new patent lawsuit that runs to the core. The British press wrote a lot about it, whereas, putting Bill Gates-funded publications aside, here at Techrights we wrote about BT for years, also in relation to patents and its relationship with Microsoft (I also wrote about BT in my personal blog [1, 2, 3, 4]). We basically saw that coming. Here are the latest details:

British Telecom is claiming billions of dollars of damages from Google in a lawsuit filed in the US which says that the Android mobile operating system infringes a number of the telecoms company’s key patents.

What motivated BT to sue? The company knows it is bad for PR, but perhaps causing damage to Android/Google was of interest and priority. BT would not have done this to Microsoft/Windows. Remember how hostile Nokia became towards Android after Microsoft had infiltrated it. Patent aggression became part of it and clues of it persist in existence. Apple and Nokia opposed open/free Web video and Apple paid Nokia, only to further harm the Web:

Apple has been garnering quite a reputation for itself as a patent bully, for example using patents around the world in an attempt to stop Samsung competing in the tablet market, and bolstering patent trolls. But that’s not enough for the company, it seems: now it wants to use patents to block open standards.

So much for innovation, eh? As this legal fight between Apple and Samsung continues we learn that:

KOREAN ELECTRONICS GIANT Samsung has entered more claims against Apple in their patent battle in Germany.

The two firms are locked into a war over software and hardware patents and are taking their battles to courts across the globe.

According to Reuters Samsung has filed additional claims in Germany that allege four more patent infringements in the ongoing case there. A spokesperson confirmed this to the news agency.

Remember that Apple started this whole feud.

The ITC, which based in the US, harms companies from Asia at Apple’s behest (yet again) and Rupert Murdoch’s press says that “Apple Ruling Hits Android” (remember that Murdoch and his press hate Google [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13] and embrace DRM/Apple):

…it found that some HTC smartphones using Android violated only two claims of one Apple patent related to extracting information such as phone numbers from emails and doing something with the information, such as making a phone call. That invention, sometimes described as covering “data tapping,” allows users to grab data embedded in an unstructured form, like an address, and use it in another phone application, such as mapping.

This patent is a joke. It’s about software patents again. Groklaw has this to say:

We often hear a comparison between the cold war and the large accumulation of patents and their use in the information technology sector. Terms like “mutually assured destruction,” “throw weight,” and others have been in vogue for some time. But I have often viewed the actions of some large IT players and their assertions of infringement of trivial patents as being more akin to sprinkling nails on the highway. That is, just like a driver in a race throwing nails on the road to puncture the tires of following competitors, some of these large patent holders sprinkle their trivial (and worthless?) patents around to slow down their technology competitors. That’s my view of what Apple has been doing of late, particularly in its action before the International Trade Commission against HTC.

Apple innovation means embargo and unfair competition. Against Monopoly called it “another example of why we need to get rid of patents on software.” Android Guys shrugs it off by saying that the “victory means little” because:

So what exactly does this mean for U.S. users? Well, nothing really…

Actually, we beg to differ because unless this systemic malfunction is addressed, customers and developers will continue to suffer. Tyrants and lawyers are taking over the industry. It’s a class war between power/greed and labour. The corporate press — Murdoch’s included — almost always takes the side of tyranny. The Wall Street Journal, for instance, exists around greed. It helps the paper-pushers beat producers.

From SUSE and Novell Straight to Fog Computing

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE at 10:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Looking for new cash cows

Cows

Summary: Products that are ‘cloud’ based take priority in Novell and SUSE circles

NEWS about “Novell” is very scarce by now. The company was sold earlier this year and many of its products are unheard of by now. Some got axed.

Regarding Vibe, which Novell tries to promote in YouTube, abeNd.org (another Novell watcher) explained to us that “vibe on-prem wasn’t declared dead, it was the free hosted version that novl dropped,

“[T]he vibe product mentioned, the “hosted” version was killed earlier this year, but the “onprem” version is still being developed, 3.2 came out about a month ago & there have been minor patches just the last week.”

We appreciate this clarification, which will prevent uncertainty or inaccuracy in the future. Later this month we will catch up with some Novell and OpenSUSE news, which recently announced its new board, comprising the following folks.

The votes are as follows:

Pascal Bleser (172 votes) – 79%

Will Stephenson (104 votes) – 48%

Andrew Wafaa (90 votes) – 41%

Pavol Rusnak (81 votes) – 37%

Manu Gupta (60 votes) – 28%

Richard Brown (43 votes) – 20%

Marcus Moeller (42 votes) – 19%

Chuck Payne (16 votes) – 7%

“It should come as no surprise that the 12.1 release of OpenSUSE delivers a polished, high-performing operating system fit for just about any task,” writes Paul Ferrill, so perhaps OpenSUSE will keep a bit of a niche there. As we showed before, OpenSUSE lost a lot of valuable people, including one who gets a shoutout from the Community Manager owing to his SUSE ties (shown here). SUSE brain drain/loss is unlikely to facilitate growth and our prediction is that SUSE will become increasingly dependent on Microsoft over time. Attachmate sure isn’t helping.

SUSE does not fulfil the vision of Free/Open Source software. It’s about something else altogether.

The Old Novell Sheds Light on Microsoft Abuses

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft, Novell at 10:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ray Noorda

Summary: The Novell vs. Microsoft case in a nutshell

THE NOVELL of Noorda claims that Microsoft misled and still pursues in damages just about as much as the ‘new’ Novell is worth, based on this article which says:

Microsoft deliberately misled Novell in a bid to steal a march on the company with Windows 95, according to lawyers pursuing a $1 billion lawsuit against the Redmond-based software giant.

This trial is also covered by Groklaw, which says that:

Microsoft and Novell each summed up its case for the jury yesterday in Utah, in the antitrust trial Novell brought against it regarding WordPerfect and Quattro Pro. Yes, it’s almost over. We had a reporter there for part of Microsoft’s closing statement today, and Bloomberg fills in the rest, along with the Salt Lake Tribune. TechFlash has coverage as well. And we also have most of the latest documents for you.

Since we last looked in, Microsoft’s motion for judgment as a matter of law was denied, but Novell’s motion to reopen the case to present more evidence was denied. I confess I have been disturbed by reports of this judge’s conduct at this trial, but the thing about juries is that they are not predictable. So, we’ll see. Maybe they feel the same way I do about the judge. But one thing is for sure, whoever loses will almost certainly appeal.

This ended up as a mistrial with a hung jury, but Pamela Jones had claimed that the “Holdout Juror Was Convinced Microsoft Was Guilty of Anticompetitive Behavior”. To quote:

The one holdout juror, Corbyn Alvey, in the Novell v. Microsoft antitrust trial over WordPerfect and Quattro Pro has now spoken. And it’s extraordinary. In an interview by KSL-TV, he says that he was convinced that Microsoft was guilty of anticompetitive behavior. His doubt was whether Novell was damaged by it, so he voted no on the marketplace issue, but yes on the allegation of anticompetitive behavior.

Wow. That means that all 12 jurors found Microsoft guilty of anticompetitive behavior. The video is extraordinary. Alvey even says that, while he’d not wish to call Bill Gates a liar, he certainly saw that his testimony on the stand did not match up with his emails from the 90s that Novell presented.

The case was eventually dismissed and the Microsoft booster spoke of retrial:

Novell’s reanimated antitrust case against Microsoft’s Word is reported to have hit “hopeless” deadlock, with Novell pushing for a fresh trial.

A jury in Salt Lake City hearing the $1bn case can’t make up its mind whether Microsoft broke the law, according to The Wall St Journal.

According to the WSJ, after a brief examination of the case the jury became quickly and “hopelessly” deadlocked. Jurors received the case Wednesday and on Friday morning told Judge J Frederick Motz they were deadlocked.

According to the VAR Guy, “Microsoft, Novell [may be] Negotiating WordPerfect Settlement” because according to sources:

Attorneys for Microsoft and Novell apparently are trying to negotiate a settlement to address Novell’s $1 billion lawsuit against Microsoft. The negotiations started after Novell’s case against Microsoft ended in a mistrial/hung jury. The big question: Will Microsoft write a big settlement check to Novell, or will Novell seek a retrial?

For the time being, there is only a mistrial:

A seven-year-old antitrust case brought by Novell against Microsoft has ended in a mistrial after jurors were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.

The unfortunate thing is that no matter what happens, by breaking the law Microsoft repeatedly crushed competition and by the time there was a trial and even a settlement Microsoft had already established a position that abuses customers (e.g. overprices and under-delivers), destroys many jobs (so money goes to very few people), and demonstrates to us that crime pays off.

Links 21/12/2011: Munich Migration to GNU/Linux a Success, Apache Promises OpenOffice.org 3.4

Posted in News Roundup at 3:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • #noapple – or There and Back Again

      The TL;DR version is that I used Ubuntu 11.04 (Naughty Nightnurse) and liked it okay, then was excited to upgrade to 11.10 (Onanistic Oedipus) only to be somewhat disappointed with many of the changes. So I tried out Kubuntu, got frustrated and ran screaming back to Apple. I upgraded to Lion, realized that Lion really, truly sucks – sucks enough to make me rethink my decision to switch back. Then I find out that Debian testing (wheezy) now supports Gnome 3, so I loaded it up.

    • Why The Linux Desktop Still Rocks

      I needed that peace of mind that I never got with Windows, viruses always crashing my PC. I would have liked to get a Mac at some stage but the cost of it was a problem. Then I settled on Linux, and haven’t looked back since.

    • Munich has Migrated the 9000th PC to GNU/Linux

      The meaning is clear: the end is in sight. It has been a long haul but Munich will finally have a GNU/Linux system working for them instead of Munich working for M$. While there has been much cost and pain in the process, the future is forever and the benefits from switching to GNU/Linux, open standards and more efficient organization will continue to roll in. If there is one lesson learned from the process in Munich it is that the sooner migration is started the better. Otherwise, you’re just digging a deeper hole. While that other OS can form a basis for IT it is an unstable one designed to bring profit to M$ above all else. With GNU/Linux, FLOSS and open standards, an organization has much more control over its destiny. Almost every “feature” that M$ created served to lock-in Munich more strongly. They recognized that and took action.

    • Walmart Sells Linux Online

      So, they’re selling desktop boxes on the small side and the other 70 items? Mostly books and courses on GNU/Linux.

    • The Linux Setup – Jonathan Roberts, TuxRadar Podcast

      I run Arch Linux, and I love it. It’s fast, always up to date and is actually the most stable Linux distribution I’ve ever used. It takes a little while to get set up, but thanks to the amazing Beginners Guide anyone can do it and it’s well worth the investment.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Kernel Milestones in 2011

      The Big 3.0 and 20th Anniversary

      Granted, the jump to 3.0 wasn’t a technical achievement so much as Linus giving in to the voices in his head. Still, the 3.0 milestone is pretty nifty.

      The version bump went hand in hand with the 20th anniversary of Linux, of course. As Linus wrote when the 3.0 kernel went out, “it’s simply a way to drop an inconvenient numbering system in honor of twenty years of Linux. In fact, the 3.0 merge window was calmer than most, and apart from some excitement from RCU I’d have called it really smooth.”

    • Kernel Log: Multitouch for X.org and new graphics drivers

      X-Server 1.12 will include proper support for touch screens with multitouch capabilities. All three major manufacturers of graphics hardware for PCs have released new drivers. Linux 3.0 is still being maintained even though Linux 3.1 has already been out for a few weeks.

    • Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris i7-3960X Scaling Performance
    • The Linux Kernel vs Commercial kernels

      What exactly is the Linux Kernel and what makes it different than, say Windows or Mac System X? I’m not going to get too deep into the weeds on this one because, quite honestly, I’m not qualified to discuss Kernels beyond the basics. I’m really going to focus on the hardware/software interface aspects of the kernel pros and cons.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Nouveau Commits: Fermi Reclocking, PM, MXM, Etc

        Last week there were a number of commits to the Nouveau DRM kernel tree by Red Hat’s Ben Skeggs, several of these commits bring interesting new features and support.

        With the Linux 3.2 kernel reaching the end of its development and the merge window for the Linux 3.3 kernel opening in January, it’s time for kernel developers to get ready.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Linpus Lite 1.6 desktop edition screenshot preview

      The last edition of Linpus Lite that was reviewed on this website, was Linpus Lite 1.4, and that was in September 2010 (see Linpus Lite 1.4 review). That edition was good in some ways, bad in others, but in general, was usable, though it lacked basic security features that I expected to see in a modern Linux distribution.

      The latest release, therefore, provides an(other) opportunity to see what, if anything, has improved in this RPM distribution. But while the review is being readied, here are a few screen shots from a test installation. If you would like to take it for a spin yourself, you may download an installation image here.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • CentOS and Oracle release their Red Hat 6.2 clones

        Only a week after releasing CentOS 6.1, the CentOS project finished up version 6.2 of its CentOS community version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), while Oracle launched Oracle Linux 6.2 — a RHEL 6.2 clone that adds the company’s Unbreakable Enterprise Linux kernel. Meanwhile, Red Hat released a beta of its long-lifecycle RHEL 5.8 platform and announced strong third quarter earnings.

      • Red Hat Revamps JBoss Portal and Operations Network

        According to Red Hat, there is a misconception in the marketplace that middleware can be difficult to use for content creation. It’s a misconception the company aims to challenge with the new JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform 5.2 release. Red Hat is also tackling the issue of middleware server management with the new JBoss Operations Network 3.0 release.

      • Minimal Desktop Install on CentOS 6

        This example of a minimal desktop shows how to manually create partitions using ext3 and ext4 for a server that has a minimal desktop for a graphical interface. Here are the choices to complete that install.

      • Fedora

    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 12.04 Developer Week 2012 Announced

            Daniel Holbach from Canonical proudly announced a few minutes ago, December 19th, the dates for the next year’s first Ubuntu Developer Week event.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Mint Cocktail: Mojito or Molotov

              Unlike Ubuntu, Linux Mint does not keep the size of their distribution’s ISO image to 700 MB. The latest release “weighs” about 1Gb. It is larger than a CD, so you need either a DVD-R(W) or a USB stick to get this operating system booted or installed.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Review: Galaxy Nexus is top Android phone, but you’ll need big hands

          Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus is now the “king fish” of Android communicators in screen size, speed, and operating system functionality, according to this eWEEK review. But, its 4.65-inch screen makes the $300 device a challenge to hold by those whose hands are average-sized or smaller, the author adds.

        • Cricket unveils contract-free, four-inch Huawei Mercury

          Cricket Communications announced its most powerful Android smartphone, a four-inch Android 2.3 handset with a 1.4GHz processor and an eight-megapixel camera. Priced at $250 without contract and $55 per month in fees, the Huawei Mercury is the first U.S.-destined variant of the Huawei Honor, being released this month in a variety of global markets.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Kindle Fire, Nook Tablet pushing Android tablet share to 40 percent, predicts IDC

        Android tablet computers will grow from 32 percent global market share in the third quarter to an estimated 40.3 percent through the fourth quarter, reducing Apple’s iPad share to 59 percent, projects IDC. The growth in Android tablets is due largely to the popularity of the low-cost Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet, says the study.

      • Archos Honeycomb tablet to debut at under $200

        Archos announced a seven-inch Android 3.2 (“Honeycomb”) tablet due to ship in January for under $200. The Archos 70b is equipped with a 1.2GHz processor, and offers a 1024 x 600 capacitive touchscreen, 8GB of storage, HDMI output, and support for Google apps and Android Market, says the company.

      • Review: Mot’s Xyboard tablet rocks, but its stylus doesn’t

        Motorola Mobility’s Droid Xyboard 10.1 tablet brings the iPad some solid competition thanks to its Android 3.2 Honeycomb operating system, thin profile, HD display, 1.2GHz dual-core processor, and compatiblity with Verizon’s 4G LTE network. Yet, Motorola should take the hardware button design and new stylus option back to the drawing board, this eWEEK review adds.

      • Is Google prepping a Nexus tablet?

        Might Google be preparing to enter the Android tablet game with an officially-backed tablet much like the Nexus handset series? Depending on how much you read into the context and translation of the following, the answer is yes. According to Google’s own Eric Schmidt, the company plans to rally behind a top-notch tablet.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

IRC Proceedings: December 20th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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