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Openwashing Visual Studio and Oracle’s Worrisome Embrace of Mono Rather Than Java

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Java, Mono, Oracle, Patents at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The efforts to empower Microsoft’s APIs, even if by lies and strongarming

THE MEDIA, including Microsoft-connected sites, is openwashing Visual Studio right now [1, 2]. A mixture of misleading headlines and half-truths are the means. We recently showed a lot of Visual Studio openwashing [1, 2, 3]. This in itself is disturbing and it is part of a trend to watch out for.

Will Hill points out that “Something odd is happening between Oracle and Xamarin. Oracle is strong arming customers into “the cloud” with license audit threats. What’s really weird is psycho babble about Xamarin being some sort of force in mobile and that silly cloud stuff with millions of developers. As far as I remembered Xamarin was a nasty little Microsoft shell designed to keep Mono around after Novell collapsed (2).

“I’ve asked Christine Hall on G+ what she knows about Xamarin and Oracle. Oracle pushing their customers onto Mono sounds like a suicide pact to me.

“Maybe they were dumb enough to push C# tools onto their database used [sic].”
      –Will Hill
Remember that Xamarin has been one of Microsoft’s tools for openwashing both .NET and Visual Studio.

“No response from Christine Hall yet,” Hill added today. “The name Xamarin left an unpleasant buzz in my head, so I did a Techrights search and remembered who they were. I thought, “that can’t be those Mono monkeys, they don’t do that.” Then I dug to the stock fraud site and, yep, that’s who they are talking about. There’s still room for it to be a typo, but I’d laugh and laugh if Oracle were to saddle their “cloud” with C# or Mono via Xamarin.

“Maybe they were dumb enough to push C# tools onto their database used [sic]. I’ve seen it in medical software because one of the vendors is a terminal Microsoft used.” [sic]

We shall update this post with any additional information or clarification.


Working to End Oracle’s and CAFC’s Inane War on Interface Reuse

Posted in Courtroom, Google, Java, Oracle at 3:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nontechnical people in black gowns and white wigs to decide on huge things


Summary: The US Supreme Court may soon start dealing with a legal assault on Android and in the process hopefully end the notion of copyright on APIs

SOFTWARE bully Oracle, which pretty much put to rest all of Sun’s Free software except few successful items (e.g. MySQL and VirtualBox, but not OpenOffice) and now attacks Java’s integrity by preventing deviations using abuse/misuse of copyright law, is still at it. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC), one of the most ridiculous and insidious courts in the world (both corrupt and biased), let Oracle have its way against Android, essentially sending a warning shot not just to those inspired by Java but everyone who reuses names of/in interfaces. This is dangerous and it is heading for judgment by the highest court, SCOTUS.

“Just like software patents, here we have something that both Free software and proprietary software developers should be united against.”According to some articles about SCOTUS, such as this report from Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols, the case that can affect so many programmers is potentially to be decided by the same court that recently defanged a lot of software patents (much to the regrets of the USPTO). Vaughan-Nichols writes: “Google has had enough of its long-running legal battle with Oracle over whether application programming interfaces (API)s can be copyrighted. The search giant has asked the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to bypass further battles in lower courts and address the API copyright issue once and for all. SCOTUS, in return, is soliciting the Obama administration for its view of the case before moving forward.”

Well, it is proceeding pretty much as expected. The British media put it like this:

The US Supreme Court hasn’t decided whether it will hear arguments in the long-running dispute between Google and Oracle over Java copyrights, and it has asked the Obama administration to weigh in before it makes up its mind.

An expert in legal matters of the Free software world recently [1] named this case one of the top 10 “FOSS legal developments of 2014″. It is probably one of the top “legal developments of 2014″ if not one of the top “technical legal developments of 2014″, especially when it comes to programming. The case affects not only FOSS. Just like software patents, here we have something that both Free software and proprietary software developers should be united against.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Top 10 FOSS legal developments of 2014

    The litigation surrounding Android continued this year, with significant developments in the patent litigation between Apple Computer, Inc. (Apple) and Samsung Electronics, Inc. (Samsung) and the copyright litigation over the Java APIs between Oracle Corporation (Oracle) and Google, Inc. (Google). Apple and Samsung have agreed to end patent disputes in nine countries, but they will continue the litigation in the US. As I stated last year, the Rockstar Consortium was a wild card in this dispute. However, the Rockstar Consortium settled its litigation with Google this year and sold off its patents, so it will no longer be a risk to the Android ecosystem.

    The copyright litigation regarding the copyrightability of the Java APIs was brought back to life by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) decision which overturned the District Court decision. The District Court had found that Google was not liable for copyright infringement for its admitted copying of the Java APIs: the court found that the Java APIs were either not copyrightable or their use by Google was protected by various defenses to copyright. The CAFC overturned both the decision and the analysis and remanded the case to the District Court for a review of the fair use defense raised by Google. Subsequently, Google filed an appeal to the Supreme Court. The impact of a finding that Google was liable for copyright infringement in this case would have a dramatic effect on Android and, depending on the reasoning, would have a ripple effect across the interpretation of the scope of the “copyleft” terms of the GPL family of licenses which use APIs.


Avoid Oracle’s ‘Unbreakable’ Linux, Support Red Hat Enterprise Linux Instead

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Oracle, Red Hat, Servers at 10:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Oracle: the ‘fake’ red


Summary: Red Hat is increasingly worried about Oracle, which seems to be doing nothing but leech and close down FOSS development (with Oracle-only features)

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is just around the corner [1], having reached “beta” [2-4] and made MariaDB its default database [5]. This new release [6] does some cloudwashing [7,8] as if surveillance-friendly computing (or Fog Computing) is somehow a selling point now.

What’s very curious about this announcement is the reinforcement of known policy that excludes Oracle’s MySQL. Oracle Linux 6.5 has also just been released [9,10] and Oracle’s treatment of it is dangerously selfish. It’s not just about MySQL, RHEL, and LibreOffice; there’s also the Java angle [11] now that Red Hat has Ceylon. Oracle is trying to ‘steal’ customers from RHEL and it has been trying to do this (without much success) for years, trying to appeal to GNU/Linux administrators [12] with increasingly-long (and expensive) support contracts [13].

Oracle has just joined the OpenStack Foundation [14], but the attempts to describe Oracle as “open” fail miserably because Oracle is actively suing FOSS projects, abandoning some (LibreOffice is thankfully evolving without Oracle [15,16]), and liaising with Microsoft to sell proprietary products.

Those who want to support GNU/Linux development would be better off supporting Red Hat or projects like Debian and CentOS. Oracle’s clone is not like any other clone; it’s more like a trap.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Just when you were considering Red Hat Linux 6.5, here comes 7
  2. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 beta now available
  3. Red Hat Signals Arrival Of Enterprise Linux 7 Beta
  4. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Enters Beta

    At long last, Red Hat’s flagship Linux platform now has a next-generation milestone, including new performance, storage and virtualization capabilities.

  5. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 beta arrives with MariaDB as its default database

    Red Hat’s newest enterprise Linux takes one giant step forward to its release and shifts from MySQL to MariaDB for its database management system needs.

  6. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 Beta Released
  7. Red Hat is OpenShifting into the cloud

    Best known for its Linux distribution, Red Hat’s introduction of OpenShift Enterprise 2 shows that the open-source giant has its eyes on the cloud.

  8. Red Hat OpenShift Enterprise 2 Goes Live

    The next version of Red Hat’s (RHT) OpenShift on-premise private PaaS offering is about to hit the proverbial shelves. Ashesh Badani, Red Hat’s general manager of Cloud and OpenShift, unveiled OpenShift Enterprise 2, which was designed to provide customers with the ability to increase the speed, efficiency and scalability of their IT service delivery.

  9. Oracle Linux 6.5 Now Available
  10. Oracle Linux 6.5 Arrives with Unbreakable Enterprise Linux Kernel 3.8
  11. Red Hat’s Ceylon will get up Oracle’s nose

    As the Linux market gets crowded with more and more players, the control of standards becomes important; that’s how one gains marketshare and outwits rivals.

  12. Make the Oracle Service Bus IDE feel at home on Linux
  13. SUSE, Red Hat, Canonical Lengthen Open Source OS Support Cycle
  14. Oracle Joins OpenStack Foundation, Announces Integration Plans
  15. New Goodies Coming in LibreOffice 4.2
  16. Stealth Mode

    Upcoming LibreOffice 4.2 will start to offer this feature in stealth mode, so to say. The Options dialog’s “Security – Options…” page contains a new “Block any links from documents not among the trusted locations” check box, using the list of trusted locations managed on the “Security – Macro Security… – Trusted Sources” page. When enabled, a matching document’s references to any external entities are not resolved. This includes resources like linked graphics, movies, and sounds, references to external settings like color and gradient tables, and ODF’s “auto-reload” feature.


Oracle Continues Its Destruction of Free/Libre Software, But Projects Like LibreOffice, MariaDB, and Ceylon Show That Popular Free/Libre Software Just Can’t Die

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Java, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle at 4:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Larry Ellison: “If an Open Source Product Gets Good Enough, We'll Simply Take It.”
Larry Ellison: “We Have to Exploit Open Source.”

Larry Elllison on stage
Photo from Oracle Corporate Communications

Summary: Oracle’s latest casualty is commercial support for Glassfish JEE Server, but replacements for Java continue to multiply

Oracle has hardly been friendly towards FOSS, and that’s putting it very politely. Oracle actively attacked some FOSS (like Android) and shelved some important FOSS projects like OpenOffice.org, eventually turning it into Apache OpenOffice and then turning its back on it. In addition, Oracle’s abandonment of Java products seems evident [1] (Glassfish JEE Server this time), leaving the likes of Red Hat to bridge the gap [2], joining the likes of Google with Dalvik. Oracle has been a disappointing steward of Java and Java-based projects, so when it comes to branching off in different directions, that’s just fine. As for MySQL, MariaDB — like LibreOffice — helps keep it somewhat safe from Oracle’s neglect [3] (a lot of applications out there still depend on MySQL [4,5]) and there are some big new storage players [6,7] which jeopardise Oracle’s core business (MySQL was an Oracle rival, but so was Postgres, well before Apache Cassandra and and Apache Hadoop).

It remains hard to explain why Oracle turned its back on OpenOffice.org like this. Back in the days Oracle put its weight behind ODF and even opposed OOXML, which is a growing problem [8]. Now we have two options [9], both the IBM-backed [10] Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice, which is mostly driven by users’ needs (see [11] from Charles-H. Schulz), has frequent releases [12], and is focused on innovation [13], not profit. There are smaller players in this lucrative area of office suites, both Free/libre [14] and proprietary [15], but none is as important as what used to be StarOffice. Nothing other than OpenOffice.org could really challenge and replace Microsoft Office in businesses (from proprietary lock-in to freedom and standards).

The important thing we can learn from all this is that when software is free in the licensing sense it is extremely difficult for aggressors like Oracle to kill. The licence of the code protects the software; developers can take the code and continue the work elsewhere, as long as there is enough demand to drive development. There is another lesson to be learned here. For a business, it is a lot less risky to choose Free/libre software as chances of discontinuation are fairly low, especially when the software is well-established (like Linux and Apache).

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Oracle abandons commercial support for Glassfish JEE Server
  2. Red Hat ships piping hot Ceylon to curry favor with Java-weary devs

    After more than three years of development, Red Hat has released version 1.0.0 of Ceylon, its homebrewed, open-source programming language that’s designed to be a replacement for Java.

    Early on, Ceylon was billed as a “Java killer” by some, but lead developer Gavin King has denied that doing away with Oracle’s platform was ever his intent. In fact, even the earliest builds of Ceylon produced code that ran on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM).

    Instead, King sought to create a new language that could run alongside Java but would be based on more modern class libraries and would have a syntax more amenable to defining user interfaces – something King believes there is “no good way” to do in Java.

    In its current form, King describes Ceylon as a “cross-platform” language. The 1.0.0 release, announced at the Devoxx conference in Antwerp, Belgium on Tuesday, includes compilers that can output either Java bytecode or JavaScript.

    That allows the same Ceylon source modules to run on either the JVM or a JavaScript execution environment such as Node.js, interchangeably. Or, a Ceylon program can be written to target only one of Java or JavaScript, in which case it can interoperate with native code written in that language.

  3. Oracle’s nemesis MariaDB releases sleekest seal yet to beta

    The news came out at the Extremely Large Databases (XLDB) conference in Stanford, California on Wednesday, one month after El Reg reported that Google had assigned one of its engineers to the MariaDB Foundation. News of the swap was not an official announcement by Google, it came out during a presentation by Google senior systems engineer Jeremy Cole on the general state of the MySQL ecosystem.

  4. MySQL Performance and Tuning Best Practices
  5. MySQL Security Best Practices
  6. Cassandra 2.0: The next generation of big data

    Apache has just released Apache Cassandra v2.0, the latest version of its popular highly-scalable, big data distributed database.

  7. Hortonworks to seek IPO within two years, CEO says

    The Palo Alto, California-based company is a Yahoo Inc spin-off founded in 2011 by a team of software engineers working on Yahoo’s Apache Hadoop implementation.

  8. Shall we waste twelve more years promoting Free office suites instead of open office formats?

    Twelve (TWELVE!!!) years ago I asked OpenOffice users “Are you advocating OO correctly”. Six years ago I said the same things in a different format. A couple of weeks ago, I came across a perfect proof that that kind of advocacy IS right, but so far has been never practiced enough.

  9. Apache OpenOffice vs. LibreOffice

    Apache OpenOffice and LibreOffice are the modern descendants of OpenOffice.org. For the last few years, almost all Linux distributions have included LibreOffice as their default office suite. However, in the past eighteen months, OpenOffice has reappeared, newly organized into an Apache project, and free software users now have the choice of two full-featured suites instead of one.

  10. IBM Support for Apache OpenOffice

    The latest, and most significant, enabler of enterprise use of Apache OpenOffice is our IBM Support for Apache OpenOffice offering. Although individual end-users and even small businesses can easily deploy Apache OpenOffice on their own (75 million downloads testifies to that), larger enterprises with more complicated and demanding needs benefit from the kind of expertise that IBM can provide. So I’m glad to see this offering available to fill out the ecosystem, so everyone can use and be successful with Apache OpenOffice, from individual university students, to small non-profits, to large international corporations.

  11. Users: the Final Frontier?

    A few weeks ago we started to have a quite interesting discussion on the LibreOffice project’s marketing mailing list on how to engage users in our community. Readers of Moved by Freedom – Powered by Standards may remember that during the LibreOffice Conference of 2012 in Berlin, the marketing strategy had already defined that the mission of marketing for the LibreOffice project was not to market a product but rather to grow the size of the community of contributors, improve the communications and raise the brand awareness of LibreOffice. This strategy was clearly reaffirmed during our second marketing workshop in Milano in September 2013.

  12. LibreOffice 4.2 Alpha 1 To Bring Many Improvements

    LibreOffice was bumped today for version 4.2.0 Alpha 1, the next major update to the popular open-source office suite.

  13. Forget about meeting customers’ expectations: Innovation comes first

    … and so does pesky market research. The IT bubble has been spreading the word about this Forrester report and as you can imagine it got many of us wondering what it really means. Well it got me wondered about a few things too, but perhaps not for the same reasons others twisted their heads around..

  14. AbiWord: The little word processor that could
  15. Pages 5: An unmitigated disaster

    It certainly is not intended for people who, like me, appreciated the combination of simplicity and power that was the hallmark of previous versions of Pages. I realize that it must be hard to maintain the right balance between simplicity and power when you try to add more features, more customizability, and so on. But Apple’s engineers appear to have chosen to keep the emphasis on “simplicity” at the expense of “power”. They have not just neglected to add features to bring the feature set of the application closer to that of a word processor like Microsoft Word. They have actually removed many features for no apparent reason other than to bring the application in line with its iOS counterpart, which is, inevitably, much less powerful.


    I guess that, in an era of mobile, touch-based computing, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Apple engineers to understand that document writers spend most of their days with their hands on an actual keyboard, and providing easy access to functionality via the keyboard is particularly important for them.


Microsoft Pretends to Be ‘Nice’ to GNU/Linux While Committing Antitrust Violations Against It

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft at 12:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Two wolves

Summary: Microsoft wants to befriend its prey, but antitrust complaints against Microsoft helps remind the prey of what it is

Microsoft has got unbelievable nerve trying to devour Java and GNU/Linux (see prior coverage in [1, 2]), which it files antitrust complaints against.

The real antitrust abuser is Microsoft, not Free software, where free means freedom. Here is an update about the UEFI antitrust complaint, which says progress is being made because “The European Commission is waiting for Microsoft’s comments on a complaint against secure boot in Windows 8 before it takes its next step, according to the lawyer who filed the complaint.

“The real antitrust abuser is Microsoft, not Free software, where free means freedom.”“José Maria Lancho, a Spanish lawyer who filed the plaint in March on behalf of 8,000 computer users who are part of Hispalinux, told iTWire that once the Commission heard back from Microsoft, the next step would be to review the company’s comments and then decide about the preliminary injunction request which he had lodged.”

As covered here before, there are additional reasons to worry about UEFI, patents included [1, 2], but the matter of fact is, there is an inherent incompatibility here with the concept of freedom, unless of course the user manages the keys on his/her computer hardware.

For Microsoft, UEFI is a victory on two levels; one is the fact that GNU and Linux become harder to explore and the other is that people become accustomed to having no freedom with devices they buy (Xbox One takes that further with the application layer and surveillance).


Microsoft is Adding Surveillance and Tax to Free/Libre Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The venus flytrap of software

Venus flytrap

Summary: Reality check for those who try to characterise Microsoft as ‘playing nice’ with GNU/Linux and Java

Java and Linux found ubiquity of unprecedented scale owing to Android. Microsoft knows that it lost the operating systems battle of this decade, so it responds by trying to extort, blackmail, and sue for patent tax. In addition, it is trying to devour the competition.

The other day we wrote about malicious attempts to absorb Free software in the spying platform called Azure. Well, we missed some references from Microsoft boosters and “useful idiots” like Cynthia Harvey (on “Open Java” in proprietary Microsoft) and Adrian Bridgwater, who promoted this dangerous move as well. The Microsoft “Linux”-flavoured marketing from Mary Jo Foley was equally bad and as noted the other day, they say nothing about patent tax, surveillance, and proprietary trap. Anyone stupid enough to choose Microsoft for GNU/Linux or Java hosting deserves a Darwin Award.

The FSF, in the mean time, warns that Vista 8 is a PRISM Edition, noting:

Microsoft is intercepting your stuff and sending it to the NSA (and the CIA and the FBI).

Everything from Microsoft should be assumed to be embedded with NSA surveillance and no OEM should impose Windows on new PCs for this reason. Of course, as usual, Microsoft will try playing dirty with Intel’s UEFI, making it abundantly difficult to install and run GNU/Linux. Watch how hard it has become for some who experiment with GNU/Linux. To quote a new example:

I have decided to run ArchLinux for the upcoming experiment. As of yet, I’m not sure what my contributions to the community will be, however, there will be more on that later.

One of the interesting things I wanted to try this time around was to get Linux to boot from the Windows 7 bootloader. The basic principle here is to take the first 512-bytes of your /boot partition (with GRUB installed), and place it on your C:\ as linux.bin. From there, you use BCDEdit in Windows to add it to your bootloader. When you boot Windows, you will be prompted to either start Windows 7 or Linux. If you choose Linux, GRUB will be launched.

Before I go into my experience, I just wanted to let you know that I was not able to get it working. It’s not that it isn’t possible, but for the sake of being able to boot into ArchLinux at some point during the experiment, I decided to install GRUB to the MBR and chainload the Windows bootloader.

Guess how this ended. Microsoft is trying to portray itself as a ‘friend’ of GNU/Linux now, despite doing more than ever before to impede its use, especially on desktops. No well-informed person can say that Microsoft is no longer a criminal organisation masquerading as a producing business. The marketing changed (PR and euphemisms, even embedded ‘journalism’), but the reality is much worse. Don’t get devoured by Microsoft.


Why People Should Never Rely on Microsoft for GNU/Linux and Java

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft, Servers at 2:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The company which is attacking Linux/Android/Java in court is trying to lure GNU/Linux and Java proponents into its own yard, which is taxing Free software and letting the NSA spy on everyone

Last week we reiterated the warning about Azure surveillance, noting that everything on Azure can be directly accessed by Microsoft’s close partner, the unaccountable NSA (effectively no privacy policy there). Some Microsoft PR campaign seeks to attract Java developers to Azure (Azul), not warning them about the many risks.

“The SCO case helps remind us how Microsoft really feels about GNU/Linux.”Meanwhile, as other reporters reveal, Microsoft’s proxy Silver Lake is still trying to occupy Dell, with limited success. This is a big deal as it would deal a big blow to GNU/Linux servers from Dell.

Microsoft’s booster Kurt Mackie is currently openwashing Windows Server, trying to portray it as “supporting Linux” while a British Microsoft booster does the ‘pledge’ PR. All of these moves should be treated as nothing other than occupation.

As this ongoing case serves to remind us, Microsoft legal assault on GNU/Linux at IBM is not over. Here is the latest:

IBM has now filed its promised Motion and Memorandum for Partial Summary Judgment Based on the Novell Judgment [PDF] in SCO v. IBM.

I started to write IBM v. SCO, because that is what it really is now. For those who keep track, IBM had received an extension of time to file, until the 22nd, giving it an extra few days.

IBM points out that SCO doesn’t own the copyrights it sued over, the pre-1996 UNIX code, Novell does, so SCO is in no position to complain about copyright anything. SCO has already claimed that it’s talking about claims that now, after it lost the pre-1996 copyright claims, really have to do with post-1996 copyrights or contract issues. But you don’t get to rewrite your complaint any time you think it would be handy, and SCO’s complaint was all about pre-1996 code. Until now, the SCO attempt at a workaround.

The SCO case helps remind us how Microsoft really feels about GNU/Linux. When I spoke to the technical manager (director) of UKFast, a large UK host based near my house (and whose founder I have known for a decade), he told me that they were running GNU/Linux instances on top of Hyper-V and at the offices I saw GNU/Linux support staff being forced to work from Windows. This is utter incompetence and it’s a disservice to GNU/Linux.

“On the same day that CA blasted SCO, Open Source evangelist Eric Raymond revealed a leaked email from SCO’s strategic consultant Mike Anderer to their management. The email details how, surprise surprise, Microsoft has arranged virtually all of SCO’s financing, hiding behind intermediaries like Baystar Capital.”

Bruce Perens


Xamarin is Still an Anti-Java Company

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Java, Microsoft at 8:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The Microsoft boosters from Miguel de Icaza’s company find new ways to disrupt Android promotion and promote Microsoft .NET instead

Fernando Cassia reminds us that “de Icaza is hell bent on destroying Java since he started his .Net clone”

He links to this new article which relates to Xamarin‘s attempt to sabotage Android with Microsoft .NET (or Mono):

A company has substantially ported Google’s Java-based Android software to use C# and the .NET framework, a move that could be the first step towards creating an Android-like operating system that avoids legal entanglements with Oracle.

When will the Microsoft fans from Xamarin realise that the Free software community does not care for their work? All they do is damage Free software and a lot of Microsoft promotion.

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