08.02.14

Links 3/8/2014: Ubuntu 14.10 Alpha 2, XBMC Becomes ‘Kodi’

Posted in News Roundup at 4:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Mitro makes password manager open source as team heads to Twitter

    The team at Mitro Labs, the developer of a password manager, is joining Twitter, and its software is being released under a free and open source license, Mitro said Thursday.

  • Mitro Releases a New Free & Open Source Password Manager

    Today, Twitter acquired a password manager startup called Mitro. As part of the deal, Mitro will be releasing the source to its client and server code under the GPL.

  • GSA CIO calls for open source to be considered first

    Open source and open data solutions now should receive top consideration at the General Services Administration.

    Sonny Hashmi, the GSA chief information officer, said Thursday during an online chat with Federal News Radio that he recently signed out a memo requiring agency software developers to look at open source before they consider traditional commercial solutions.

  • SDN blogs: Open source SDN; SDN adoption pace remains high

    This week, SDN bloggers took a look at how open source SDN continues to take shape among vendors, how SDN adoption rates are higher than initially predicted, and all you need to know about OpenFlow.

  • New day dawns for open source

    One of the major driving forces behind the plethora of technological innovations in the cloud computing arena is the concept of open source software. With nearly one million open source projects related to the cloud believed to be in progress, new technologies such software as a service are on the rise.

    Companies are contributing more in terms of time, money and support for user-led open source initiatives, with big business benefits such as operational cost reductions, application flexibility and boosts to competitive advantage being on offer.

    Vendor-led development initiatives are gaining ground too, buoyed by massive collaboration projects on a global scale. The increasing ‘democratisation’ of the open source world is a major contributor to its burgeoning success.

  • Open source IT is the way forward

    A PRESENTATION by the European nuclear research organisation CERN at the recent open source convention (OSCON) has provided a glimpse at where IT organisations are going to have to go in order to remain competitive. They will need to leave old legacy proprietary approaches behind and adopt open source.

    CERN collects huge volumes of data every day from thousands of detectors at its nuclear collider ring located under the border between France and Switzerland near Geneva. It organises and archives all of this data and distributes much of it to research scientists located throughout the world over high-speed internet links. It presently maintains 100 Petabytes of legacy data under management, and collects another 35 Petabytes every year that it remains in operation. One Petabyte comprises one million Gigabytes.

  • Bitnami Changes the Face of Application Deployment

    Brescia said that Bitnami’s goal is to make it as easy to deploy an application on a server as it is to install an application on an endpoint computer. Bitnami has more than 90 different open-source applications and development environments in its software library that can be deployed with one-click installer packages on desktop, virtual machine and cloud deployments.

  • Belkin’s WRT54G Router Successor Is Crap On The Software Front So Far

    Belkin revived the Linksys WRT54G in a new 802.11ac model earlier this year and one of its selling points has been the OpenWRT support as what made the WRT54G legendary. However, OpenWRT developers and fans are yet to be satisfied by this new router.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Want Firefox without Australis? Try Pale Moon

        If the release of Firefox’s Australis interface got you down, there are Firefox-based alternatives out there with a more traditional Mozilla UI. One such alternative is Pale Moon and here’s how you get it.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Contributing back as an OpenStack operator

      Paying talented developers to write high quality code isn’t cheap; why on Earth would you then turn around and give that code to your competitors? Turns out, there’s probably a competitive advantage in doing so.

    • ownCloud 7 Arrives with New Features and Improvements

      ownCloud Inc, the popular open source enterprise file sync and share project, has launched the latest ownCloud 7.

    • Cash and Development Resources are Heading Fast for Hadoop

      June and July brought lots of big news surrounding enterprise analytic data management powered by the open source Hadoop platform. Cloudera, focused on supporting enterprise Hadoop, announced in June that it raised a staggering $900 million round of financing with participation by top tier institutional and strategic investors. It also firmed up a partnership with Dell and Intel to launch a dedicated Dell In-Memory Appliance for Cloudera Enterprise that facilitates Hadoop-driven analytics.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • TechCrunch Open Sources Its WordPress Async Task Library

      Back in early 2012, when the TechCrunch developer team (Nicolas Vincent, Alex Khadiwala, Eric Mann, and John Bloch) started working on the TechCrunch redesign, one of the main goals was to improve site performance. During the development process, we implemented several tools to help achieve that goal.

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • FSF at CommonBound conference on economic equality

      The FSF is happy to building bridges to new communities, and exploring the role of free software in social justice and economic change.

    • GNU Spotlight with Karl Berry: 18 new GNU releases!

      A number of GNU packages, as well as the GNU operating system as a whole, are looking for maintainers and other assistance: please see https://www.gnu.org/server/takeaction.html#unmaint if you’d like to help. The general page on how to help GNU is at https://www.gnu.org/help/help.html. To submit new packages to the GNU operating system, see https://www.gnu.org/help/evaluation.html.

    • Recap of Friday Free Software Directory IRC meetup: August 1

      Join the FSF and friends every Friday to help improve the Free Software Directory by adding new entries and updating existing ones.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Open-Source Space

      As I write this, NASA has just passed another milestone in releasing its work to the Open Source community. A press release came out announcing the release on April 10, 2014, of a new catalog of NASA software that is available as open source. This new catalog includes both older software that was previously available, along with new software being released for the first time. The kinds of items available include project management systems, design tools, data handling and image processing. In this article, I take a quick look at some of the cool code available.

      The main Web site is at http://technology.nasa.gov. This main page is a central portal for accessing all of the technology available to be transferred to the public. This includes patents, as well as software.

    • CQC sticks with open source for data capture needs

      The commission’s consideration of open source options for content management was based on Cabinet Office requirements for public sector organisations to look at potential alternatives to proprietary systems dating back to 2010.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • What’s that? A PHP SPECIFICATION? Surely you’re joking, Facebook

      A group of Facebook developers has decided to break with 20 years of tradition and release a formal specification for the PHP programming language.

    • Group Test: Linux Text Editors

      If you’ve been using Linux long, you know that whether you want to edit an app’s configuration file, hack together a shell script, or write/review bits of code, the likes of LibreOffice just won’t cut it. Although the words mean almost the same thing, you don’t need a word processor for these tasks; you need a text editor.

      In this group test we’ll be looking at five humble text editors that are more than capable of heavy-lifting texting duties. They can highlight syntax and auto-indent code just as effortlessly as they can spellcheck documents. You can use them to record macros and manage code snippets just as easily as you can copy/paste plain text.

    • August 2014 Issue of Linux Journal: Programming

      Programming always has been that “thing” people did that I never understood. You’ve heard me lament about my lack of programming skills through the years, and honestly, I never thought I’d need to learn. Then along came the DevOps mentality, and I started introducing programmatic ways of managing my system administration world. And you know what? Programming is pretty awesome.

    • Text Editors, Note Takers, and Program Languages

      Today in Linux news, Jack Germain has a look at the perfect note taker. The Linux Voice has a comparison of text editors for programmers and the Linux Journal introduces their current issue on program languages. In other news, XBMC becomes Kodi and Linux.com has 10 reasons to take the Linux Foundation’s Introduction to Linux edX course.

Leftovers

Microsoft Continues to Further Distort OOXML in Order to Make it Less Compatible With Non-Microsoft Software

Posted in Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 3:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ooxml_demo_4.jpg

Summary: Microsoft continues to distort the office suites market and impede interoperability using the OOXML pseudo ‘standard’, essentially by branching out into “Strict” and “Transitional”, making it exceedingly hard for developers to deal with files generated by Microsoft Office and vice versa

TRYING to work with Microsoft is misguided. Just look and see what has happened to many companies, including — to name a recent example — Nokia. Microsoft has no honour for anyone but Microsoft itself. Microsoft was bribing officials and abusing sceptics in order to get its way when it comes to document formats. Nobody should forget the crimes that Microsoft committed in order to keep the world stuck with Microsoft Office. We reminded the British government of these crimes and very recently the UK adopted ODF. This was a very smart and timely move because based on people from The Document Foundation (TDF), the bogus ‘standard’ which is basically just an ‘open’-looking gown for Microsoft Office (proprietary) formats is now being further distorted in order to cause trouble for people who are not Microsoft customers. These abuses are even worse than before and Microsoft thinks it can get away with them because it bribed people to put an ECMA and ISO stamp on OOXML (no matters what happens to it later on).

As Charles from The Document Foundation put it the other day:

Regular readers of this blog will remember these glorious days, just before the big financial crisis, where Microsoft had created the so-called OpenXML standard that was supposed to be totally not competing against the OpenDocument Format, managed to have pretty much the entire standards community swallow it in the most creative ways possible, then fell short of actually implementing it in its own products. A good summary of the whole -technical- story is available here. The irony of life has the uncanny ability to devise ways to enchant us. Well, sort of. The format called “OOXML – Strict”, by comparison to “OOXML-Transitional” was the readable open part of the ISO 29500 standard, known as OOXML. For years, it was obvious that Microsoft Office implemented OOXML-Transitional (the heap of the more or less documented parts of the format alongside undocumented blurbs) and nothing else, creating a situation where one standard, OOXML was existing, and another format, OOXML, was fully implemented and spread all around, yet was an undocumented, proprietary specification. That’s the .docx, pptx, and .xlsx you see everywhere, and the one LibreOffice was busy reverse-engineering for all these years.

This unfortunate situation, we were told, was about to change soon, with the full adoption of OOXML-Strict by Microsoft Office. Helas, if you open a purely OOXML-Strict compliant file with Microsoft Office 2013, the file will be declared corrupt. If you open the same one with LibreOffice 4.3, the file will open and you will be able to edit its contents just like with any other format supported by LibreOffice. In other words, LibreOffice can claim to have a better support of OOXML than Microsoft Office, despite years of unfulfilled promises, pledges, and never met expectations by Redmond. I guess that, just like the old saying goes, promises only commit the ones who actually believe them.

IBM’s Rob Weir has just released another piece about document formats [1] and a new interview with Italo Vignoli of The Document Foundation [2] sheds more light on what Charles spoke about. To quote Vignoli: “MS Office locks-in the user not only with proprietary formats but also with the OOXML pseudo-standard format. This is due to the way the supposedly standard format is handled by MS Office.

“In fact, each version of MS Office since 2007 has a different and non standard implementation of OOXML, which is defined as “transitional” because it contains elements which are supposed to be deprecated at standard level, but are still there for compatibility reasons.

“Although LibreOffice manages to read and write OOXML in a fairly appropriate way, it will be impossible to achieve a perfect interoperability because of these different non standard versions.

“In addition to format incompatibilities, Microsoft – with OOXML – has introduced elements which may lead the user into producing a non interoperable document, such as the C-Fonts (for instance, Calibri and Cambria).”

When Microsoft speaks about following standards what it means to say is that “Microsoft is the standard” and everyone must just follow Microsoft. Only a fool would choose OOXML over ODF, especially now. Korea and China seem to be moving away from Office quite rapidly.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Document as Activity versus Document as Record

    And then there is a document as the record of what we did. This is implied by the verb “to document”. This use of documents is still critical, since it is ingrained in various regulatory, legal and business processes. Sometimes you need “a document.” It won’t do to have your business contract on a wiki. You can’t prove conformance to a regulation via a Twitter stream. We may no longer print and file our “hard” documents, but there is a need to have a durable, persistable, portable, signable form of a document. PDF serves well for some instances, but not in others. What does PDF do with a spreadsheet, for example? All the formulas are lost.

  2. Why you should never use Microsoft’s OOXML pseudo-standard format

    The UK government recently announced that they would use ISO approved document standard ODF for viewing and sharing government documents. It’s a very important move because it breaks Microsoft’s vendor lock where single US-based company ‘owns’ and ‘controls’ all the documents created on Earth. Microsoft is infamous for using unethical means to make it harder for other players to offer any kind of interoperability with their products which can threaten Microsoft’s market share.

    So we reached out to Italo Vignoli of The Document Foundation, the organization responsible for developing LibreOffice which is a fork of OpenOffice, to understand the risks of using OOXML…

Google Should Sue Desperate Microsoft Out of Existence for Misuse of Government Regulators and Patent Racket Against Android Backers (as Microsoft Sues Samsung Using Another Nokia Ploy)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 3:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Satya Ballmer
Satya Ballmer continues to sue Linux

Summary: Microsoft’s relentless attacks on Linux intensify from two angles: one is a bogus case against Android ‘abuses’ and another a bogus patent case, which is hinged on extortion in secrecy (divide and conquer with threats and racketeering)

Samsung has historically been an exceptionally close partner of Microsoft, with strategic collaborations ranging from patent payments (for Linux) to Windows pre-loads and from DRM to hardware (Samsung’s core business, where it is an international leader). Samsung and Microsoft have historically been so conjoined a pair that their relationship would be one that even the NSA would envy. It is essential to remember that Samsung was the first electronics company to offer Microsoft payments for Linux-related software it never bothered to even specify (LG, another Korean giant, soon followed suit). Samsung was the first electronics-centric company (Novell being the first on the software side) that we called for a boycott against.

All this may be about to change as Microsoft’s hostility towards Android goes up a notch, despite attempts to paint the company “friend of FOSS” with the new CEO appointment (there has been no change in policy). Samsung is already challenging Apple's legal assaults on Android using the SCOTUS ruling on "abstract" patents. Soon it may have to do the same to Microsoft, which has just declared war on Android from two fronts. As this heads into the courtroom we will need to support Samsung, not chastise it. It’s an alliance of convenience amongst Android supporters. Google should join this lawsuit, offering financial support, evidence, patents, etc. Samsung is a big target when it comes to Android and Google cannot afford to let this case be lost, especially not from a moral point of view. Google previously supported other such companies (besieged by patent lawsuits), including HTC. Better yet, Google should serve the antitrust authorities and the anti-cartel authorities in multiple countries, informing them of the extortion tactics Microsoft has been using (the lawsuit means that Samsung refused to buckle in the face of extortion).

There are two bits of news we wish to present today, sharing them among those who have not seen or heard those. The first is the antitrust lobby, which Microsoft invoked by proxy (Nokia is a European company, which makes it a convenient tool for pursuing antitrust action in Europe). Top European regulators have already warned Nokia regarding patents, so Nokia (acting as a Microsoft satellite) tried a competitive angle instead. Microsoft cannot do this without proxy due to hypocrisy.

So Reuters says that Google may face Android antitrust investigation in Europe and some sites cover this, citing Reuters with its sources. To quote: “According to a report yesterday from Reuters, which cited anonymous sources, European Union officials are now looking into whether the company is abusing its 80 percent market share for the Android mobile operating system by pushing its services on consumers.”

Having high market share is possible owing to technical merit. As the platform is Free software nothing prevents rivals and partners from stripping and adding other software. Just look at what Microsoft/Nokia did with Android. This whole case is bogus, but it was brought forth by Microsoft and its proxies. It’s an attempt to use regulators to tilt the market against Free software, using bizarre logic and a pretense of collective anger.

There is another report circulating right now. The Microsoft booster was quick to report on this, based on Microsoft’s version of the story. Writing in Microsoft-friendly media (where Microsoft agents of disinformation, partners, employees and ex-employees are among writers and commenters), Mary wrote:

Microsoft files Android patent-royalty suit against Samsung

[...]

Microsoft is seeking a ruling as to whether its acquisition of Nokia’s handset and services business negates its intellectual-property licensing agreement with Samsung that dates back to 2011. Microsoft also is seeking unpaid interest from Samsung, resulting from the period of time last year when Samsung withheld patent royalties from Microsoft — royalties which Samsung later paid.

Watch some people repeating the propaganda in the comments. “That’s big news,” said the first comment. “Everyone had assumed that MS was raking in Billions from Samsung because the their contract with MS.”

Who assumed that?

This all can be traced back to one single ‘analyst’ whom the Microsoft lobbyists kept quoting, repeating the claim without any substantial proof and flooding the media with it. We routinely showed that this is all speculation, but a speculation that grew feet very quickly and stuck in people’s minds.

Narg replies with: “Try again, the Contract was only worth a couple hundred thousand last I read.”

Samsung never said how much (if anything) it had paid Microsoft. We only knew that they had some patent agreement, most likely on FAT. Samsung has a vast trove of patents, so it might be more like a cross-licensing agreement. We just don’t know. Microsoft at one stage said that it sought $15 per phone from Samsung, but it never got its way (Apple sought about $50 per phone and ended up getting less than $1 from each).

As ZDNet is somewhat of a zoo of Microsoft ads and Microsoft boosters with direct Microsoft connections, salaries past and present, and even bribes like laptops, we probably should not entertain the commenters too much (some are terrible comments of low quality and poor grammar, but some are better). One comment further down says: “It’s just a veiled threat they’ve been using and getting away with for years.

“Somebody needs to stand up and let the entire world know that the largest patent troll in the world is the one that makes the worst OS in history and is headquartered in Redmond.

“I sincerely hope Samsung follows through, and doesn’t let this bully steal their lunch money!

“I smell desperation on Microsoft’s part… 18-thousand layoffs, geesh.”

These massive layoffs are a symptom of what Microsoft is going through. Well, based on the latest numbers [1], Microsoft’s sales in the mobile domain are negligible and don’t even make the latest count’s threshold.

Microsoft as a whole is collapsing and privacy concerns (e.g. back doors) play a big role in accelerating this collapse, based on Microsoft’s own admission (just look what happens in Russia and China). It’s no coincidence that in ZDNet — and just about nowhere else — former Microsoft employee Zack Whittaker (who likes to disparage Google and GNU/Linux without disclosure) is now releasing multiple puff pieces/placements seeking to paint Microsoft as a privacy champion, based on a court case that’s more like a publicity stunt from Microsoft.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Early view to Q2 smartphone market share numbers as we get data in

    (HTC did not kick Nokia/Microsoft out, they are under this number, and the other up-and-comings from China and India are not yet big enough to challenge for a Top 10 slot. Blackberry is nowhere even in the Top 12, they may fall out of Top 20 haha)

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts