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09.06.11

OpenSUSE Drops Java But Not Mono

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE at 5:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft SUSE

Summary: Microsoft Linux (sometimes known as SUSE) still plays into the hands of Microsoft Corporation

OpenSUSE (the community/volunteer facet of SUSE) indirectly signed a deal with Microsoft and a sort of pact with Xamarin just over a month ago. Another release of OpenSUSE seems to be on its way (hardly any news from the project except for that) and despite the fact that Mono is a patent liability, OpenSUSE 12.1 removes Sun/Oracle Java but not Mono. This is consistent with everything we expect from a Microsoft-sponsored distribution and all the Novell videos in the world (here are some of the latest one [1, 2, 3] cannot hide the company’s close ties to Microsoft. In anything, those videos only validate Novell’s dependence on Windows and on Microsoft.

07.25.11

Google is Looking to Join the Patents Cartel to Defend Android

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Java, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 4:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Barracks

Summary: Amid growing pressure from Apple, Microsoft, and perhaps its drone Nokia, Google plans to buy companies for their patents, thus becoming part of the problem for the sake of “defending” Android

“Abducted by lawyers” is how we recently described Google, after it had clarified that it would not join the abolitionists*. Dennis Crouch meanwhile covers Apple’s and Microsoft’s latest cartel additions, i.e. patents accrued (Apple reported paid for about half for this assault on Android) and Professor Mark Webbink has this important update on the Oracle vs. Google case, showing of course the opposite of what pro-Microsoft lobbyists want the public to see. Oracle’s case is quickly falling apart. “Sorry for the movie analogies,” notes Webbink, “but these images keep popping to mind. The latest is Larry Ellison as Golum, grasping his “Java” patents and declaring, “My Precious.” This comes to mind because of the revelation yesterday that Jonathan Schwartz, then CEO of Sun Microsystems, praised Google and others for incorporating Java into Android back in 2007.

“But thanks to the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, Schwartz’ statement survives.”
      –Mark Webbink
“Then the patents fell out of Sun’s hands and into Oracle’s (My Precious), and Schwartz’ statement became an embarrassment. What to do? Why remove it from the internet, of course. But thanks to the Internet Archive and its Wayback Machine, Schwartz’ statement survives.

“Now the interesting question about this and other similar comments that were apparently made by Sun executives is whether the statements communicated an understanding to Google and others that they would not be threatened with Sun’s patents; statements upon which they relied. This is the legal doctrine of estoppel.”

Watch the screenshot too.

Some people are piecing together FUD pieces about Google, and not just lobbyists like Florian and those whom he mass-mails for placement in the press. Here is just one example and a reminder that Google’s plan is to buy patents as a response to this. This seems like more than a rumour now.

Search engine giant Google is looking to acquire mobile chip technology maker InterDigital, after failing to purchase Novell’s massive patent portfolio.

[...]

InterDigital, which has a market value of about $3.1 billion, saw its shares rise by 29 percent to $68.67 thanks to the takeover rumours.

It has been hinted even by Nokia itself — now that it is a Microsoft drone — that it might be next in its attempts to extort Google and raise the price of Android using patents. Just pay attention to this news report:

Nokia Oyj, the world’s largest phone maker by volume, posted better-than-expected quarterly profit thanks to a major royalty boost from settling a patent dispute with Apple.

Nokia reported a second-quarter underlying operating profit of 391 million euros, above all expectations in a Reuters poll, which ranged from a loss of 35 million to profit of 285 million.

Nokia is part of the same cartel as Microsoft’s, especially after the company got hijacked by Microsoft, with Microsoft’s big private shareholders appointed to become the company’s CEO. Symbian was taken proprietary by him and MeeGo, the Linux effort, virtually abandoned.
___
* In software patents opposition — like in many other areas of activism — there are many factions and attitudes. Some classify certain software patents as “bad” and others as “good” (usually “theirs” versus “ours”), some want to get rid of patents altogether, some target only software patents, some target patent trolls, etc.

03.01.11

Anti-competitive Apple Removes Java

Posted in Apple, Java at 2:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Siberian tiger

Summary: Apple takes further baby steps towards inappropriate conduct by removing Java runtime

Apple keeps removing software that competes with Apple and can help advance Android at the expense of hypeOS (Objective-C). The Register explains why it’s reasonable to say that Apple removed Java after initial clues and the Java founder’s claims that Steve Jobs is a liar. To quote: “Apple has removed the Java runtime from its upcoming Mac OS X Lion, according to a report based on firsthand experience with a preview release of the OS.

“Appleinsider reports that the latest developer release of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion removes both Java and Rosetta, the package used to run PowerPC code on Intel-based Macs. But according to the fanboi news site, Lion includes a mechanism for automatically downloading the latest version of Java for the Mac.”

“So I no longer hate Apple products,” says this other new article. “In fact I use them every day. But I never feel like I own them. More like I’m renting them from Skynet.”

Apple is not about user choice and user control. It merely turns customers into consumers and repeatedly it bans its competitors using platform control.

11.15.10

Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison Get Even Closer After Attacking the Linux-based Android Using Patents, Google Becomes Software Patents Foe

Posted in Apple, Europe, Google, Java, Microsoft, Oracle, Patents at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

God is Google

Summary: Google starts arguing against patenting of software having had its flagship operating system attacked by the Oracle and Apple patent portfolios

THE PREVIOUS post was yet another discussion about the harms of patents, especially when they get used offensively. Oracle and Apple are both large companies, so patents (monopolies) work well for them. Java’s founder recently said that Steve Jobs is a liar (not exact quote). It happened right after Java was harmed by Apple which had indicated no real commitment to it. Now, let us bear in mind the relationship between Jobs and Ellison [1, 2, 3]. Why would Apple want to harm an Oracle product? Well, the answer turns out to be that it’s not so simple because “Apple Joins Oracle For Java Development” and this means “Android Trouble” (and thus good news for Apple’s hypePhone). As one insightful blogger put it:

Bad news for Google Android. Oracle and Apple have announced the OpenJDK project for Mac OS X.

Apple will contribute most of the key components, tools and technology required for a Java SE 7 implementation on Mac OS X, including a 32-bit and 64-bit HotSpot-based Java virtual machine, class libraries, a networking stack and the foundation for a new graphical client.

Oracle chief and Steve Jobs are close friends and Oracle recently sued Google over Java use in Android. Since then Oracle has intensified efforts to marginalise Google by taking IBM off the development of Harmony Project which Google’s Android relied on. Now, getting Apple involved with OpenJDK means added troubles for Google.

IBM was at one point accused by some for similar reasons (upon its recent announcement). We mostly cover Java news in our daily links, but this time we make the exception to also show the following aftermath:

Suffice to say, adding to this we have Microsoft MVPs like de Icaza and some other longtime .NET boosters like Tim Anderson flinging FUD at Java (we choose not to add links here, especially so as not to feed their FUD). Groklaw, on the other hand and despite smears from Microsoft mobbyists (again, we choose to exclude links or name names), helps show that Google’s tactless stance on patents may be changing now that it’s a common litigation target (even Google's free/libre software gets sued for patent violations, which can complicate distribution and redistribution). Not only Groklaw pointed this out in an analysis we cited over the weekend; patent boosters too are starting to feel rather baffled by Google’s 180:

Google Says Oracle’s Patents Are Invalid Abstract Ideas, But Why?

[...]

Granted, its fairly common to “throw in the kitchen sink” when raising claims and defenses, and time will only tell whether this Bilski defense is just posturing, or whether Google will use this case as a platform to campaign against issued patents (recall the Bilski decision itself deals with a patent application).

Jonas from the FFII enthusiastically asks, “Google ready to kill software patents?”

Google on Oracle vs Google:
“Each of the Patents-in-Suit is invalid under 35 U.S.C. § 101 because one or more claims are directed to abstract ideas or other non-statutory subject matter.”

CUDOS Google! Refusing software patents like this the right thing to do for innovation!

An article written by the brilliant Mark Ballard may therefore require some updating; Google is said to be involved in reforming UK copyright/patent law. How so? We shall see. Based on the above, Ballard may be off target this time around when he states in the beginning (alongside a famous image):

British coders have awoken with a fright after a two-year sleep of reason to find the software patent threat looming.

The bells have been ringing in Blissville ever since the Guardian reported that David Willetts, the science and universities minister, was reopening the software patent question with a review of UK intellectual property laws. And that Google was behind it.

The mail list of the UK chapter of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure sprang into life on the news, and after displaying barely a hint of life for a year, and not much more than rapid eye movement for long before that.

The UK hasn’t looked so perky for two and a half years, having slept even through all the jitter in the US over the Supreme Court’s Bilski decision on business method patents.

Google’s priorities appear to have changed and all those lawsuits against Android have hopefully helped Google understand that it does not really need software patents. It’s the cost and complication (e.g. distribution and redistribution) which make it so. Java too gradually became Free software, so it’s time for its patents to go “poof!”

If one wants to really have patent trouble (with Microsoft even), there are some new instruction on how to install the Mono Trojan called Banshee:

Banshee team has announced the release of version 1.9.0, which is a development release. The new Banshee has a neat option called ‘Play After’, which inserts a track into the queue right after the track, album, or artist currently playing thus giving more control to the listener.

Mono is also required by an application which is being promoted in YouTube this month.

One must pay attention to the anti-Java FUD that comes from Mono boosters these days. Google on the other hand seems to be softening and hopefully it will decide to help abolish software patents altogether. The productive approach to take here is to give Google the benefit of the doubt because never before did Google use patents offensively (it did use them defensively). Google recently took a major shot at MPEG-LA — a move not quite foreseen by anyone (freeing videos from codec patents), so maybe there is genuine change brewing.

10.23.10

Java Founder Calls Steve Jobs a Liar, Gets Attacks by Apple’s Mob

Posted in Apple, Java at 7:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

James Gosling in 2008

Summary: Mr. Java is the latest among many to criticise Apple for its behaviour this past week

YESTERDAY WE NAMED some of the latest people and groups who criticise Apple after it made some very tactless (and demonstrably incorrect) remarks, as well as selfish design decisions that may harm developers. There are exceptions, however, such as a Gentoo developer, “flameeyes”, who wrote: “I don’t understand… Apple is trying to get us rid of two techs we ranted on for years (Flash and Java) and yet they are doing it wrong?”

In the eyes of Java developers (of which there is a huge number), Apple is doing plenty of wrongs.

“Gosling calls Jobs a liar,” says Simon Phipps, Gosling’s former colleague. From the post in question:

Macrumors has an article on the fuss about Java on the Mac. They quote Jobs as saying:

Sun (now Oracle) supplies Java for all other platforms. They have their own release schedules, which are almost always different than ours, so the Java we ship is always a version behind. This may not be the best way to do it.

It simply isn’t true that “Sun (now Oracle) supplies Java for all other platforms”.

Our readers have talked about this in IRC, alleging that Mac fans attack Gosling like he insulted their religion (see the comments). “Well, Apple is rather rotten to it’s open core,” wrote David and gnufreex replied with: “I saw how Apple fanboys blasted Gosling on one of his posts earlier. He said something about Google trying to compete with Apple which is “borg-wannab-be”. Apple fanboys attacked him one after other. Sick zealots. Church of Apple.”

What’s truly rotten at Apple is not necessarily people who merely admire the company. Apple is not accountable for the behaviour of its customers. But Apple itself is killing computing and anyone who still cares about any morsel of openness should pay attention to posts which say:

Apple doesn’t want you use your computer to control an Arduino, write custom printer drivers, run a game server or control your house lights. They want you to shut up and consume. Us nerds? We’re fine with our Space Station Control computers. But everyone else? Apple wants them to have their iPad, bag of Cheetos and credit card handy. You want to watch 30 Rock on your iPad? Apple gets 30%. You want to buy the latest BedazzleMyAngryBirdGemLoop game? Apple get 30% and could not be happier.

Danny Pickle remarks:

Apple has announced it’s bringing the App Store to the Mac. How long until MacBooks need jailbreaking too?

Danny links to this latest call for action from the Defective by Design campaign:

Well, it’s official. Apple has now announced it’s bringing the App Store concept to the Mac and it looks like they’ll be restricting apps with FairPlay DRM too for good measure. When we first began talking about the problems with the App Store on the iPhone and iPod Touch, people wanted us to drop it and stop talking about the DRM tricks being pulled by Apple on the grounds that the iPhone wasn’t a general purpose computer (it is, and the iPad is too) but rather an appliance.

Presumably, Apple won’t (yet) be stopping the Mac from installing software from other sources as they have with the iPhone, at least not just yet. But consider this: just like the original iMac shipped without a floppy drive, the MacBook Air (recently updated) was the first Mac without an optical drive — will this have the effect, intentional or otherwise of making the App Store the only place to buy certain software, including its own iLife suite of ‘lifestyle’ applications?

For the sake of software freedom and for people to control their computers (unlike telephones, which tend to be very rigid) it is important to educate people and to discourage buying products from Apple. Do not allow one Microsoft to be replaced by another because Apple is no better, it’s just different. The company is clearly not interested in technology, it is obsessed with total control*. It even openly mocks those who do try to give customers more control. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result” — that is a relevant quote often attributed to Benjamin Franklin. Apple needs to lose because its goals are antisocial.
____
* Microsoft too was used by Gates for world domination (to the extent he could attain it).

10.22.10

Microsoft is Killing Its Own ‘Open Source’ Projects as .NET Camp Loses and Resorts to Slog/FUD

Posted in FUD, Java, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 12:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft dirty tactics

Summary: FUD against Java is on the rise (Microsoft partly accountable), Miguel de Icaza receives another role from Microsoft, and more Microsoft projects which are complementary to .NET are now dead

SEVERAL weeks ago we wrote about signs that .NET is suffering, not Java. There are some new Microsoft hires that throw FUD at Java and Microsoft boosters who work as journalists lend their pen to this Slog, too (we prefer not to give examples as they would feed the FUD). Frankly, however, Oracle has supplied a lot of ammunition to those who are trying to injure Java. It’s not deliberate and it’s why Oracle is making a strategic mistake.

“IronPython and IronRuby get kicked out into the cold by MSFT.”
      –Jan Wildeboer
Anyway, this post is not so much about Java. It’s actually about IronRuby dying. We saw the writings on the wall back in August [1, 2, 3, 4] (also see recent posts about IronPython, such as this one) and now there is almost a funeral. Jan Wildeboer from Red Hat writes: “#IronPython and #IronRuby get kicked out into the cold by MSFT. #RIP? http://is.gd/gcCON thinks so, http://is.gd/gcCQn doesn’t. We’ll see ..”

The nymshifting CodePlex Foundation (this Microsoft front is now called Outercurve [1, 2]) has been used as somewhat of a basket for Microsoft in which to put projects ‘externally’ (it’s about impression and appearance, not practice). Microsoft's MVP Miguel de Icaza has been part of it and at sight of the situation with Java at Apple he already throws FUD at Java using the news, as well as other recent Java news. According to this Microsoft employee, de Icaza et al. are supposed to try and rescue IronRuby and IronPython for the sake of greater .NET relevance. This is another Microsoft job for Miguel:

Today signifies a big step in Microsoft’s commitment to open-source: Jason Zander announced new leadership for IronRuby and IronPython, namely Miguel de Icaza, Michael Foord, Jeff Hardy, and myself. Since Microsoft has officially put the project in our hands, both languages will be open to contributions from the community, not just the core team members. Also, any previously unreleased work as been released, include the IronRuby tools for Visual Studio and groundwork towards IronPython 2.7 and 1.9. You can find the appropriate releases on both IronRuby and IronPython’s CodePlex sites.

[...]

Also, Miguel is a big-shot at Novell, but I’ll let him comment on how his company is supporting the projects. =)

He is a big-shot to Microsoft. They groomed him (e.g. with interviews and other publicity like this recent example) so that he can help Microsoft from outside Microsoft. His job at Novell (it’s a team effort) is to promote Mono/.NET and apparently demote Java in the process (also with FUD in his blog and in Twitter).

“In Twitter, de Icaza speaks quite a lot with the mobbyists; like them, he pretends to be pro-FOSS whilst actually doing a lot of harm to software freedom.”Who is this man kidding? Just watch him blogging about Microsoft folks this week (Ozzie in this case [1, 2]). If he loves Microsoft so much, maybe it’s time to reapply for that job he wanted.

It would be so much more appropriate if he just worked directly for Microsoft. In Twitter, de Icaza speaks quite a lot with the mobbyists; like them, he pretends to be pro-FOSS whilst actually doing a lot of harm to software freedom.

Anyway, based on this post from Microsoft MVP Jeff Hardy, we are adding IronPython to our list of dead projects from Microsoft (if someone continues it outside Microsoft, then that’s not a Microsoft product, still). It symbolises the continued collapse of .NET, which also relates to Moonlight and other cancelled/failing parts of Microsoft’s stack.

Well, the shoe has finally dropped: IronPython and IronRuby have been axed.

In weeks to come we’ll be covering a lot more stories about Apple. Microsoft is just growing irrelevant like Novell. The upsurge of FUD, the lobbyists, and the mobbyists are just a symptom.

Apple — Like Microsoft — Compromises the Future of Java

Posted in Apple, Java, Microsoft, Oracle at 1:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coffee beans

Summary: Apple is discontinuing Java in Mac OS X despite the inter-personal connection with Oracle

Oracle and Apple are unlikely to ever sue each other over patents because of the relationship between Jobs and Ellison [1, 2, 3]. It is hard to figure out why Apple seemingly phases out Java then, as claimed on a speculative basis in several places like this one: [via]

Scant months since beginning a public spat with Adobe over its decision not to support Flash on iOS devices, Apple now also appears ready to abandon Java in Mac OS X.

If true, what might Apple be trying to achieve? It’s not about patents, is it? To Apple, removal of Adobe Trash (at least temporarily, until antitrust scrutiny) was arguably a matter of control.

As people may already know, Apple benefits from Oracle’s lawsuit against Android/Google, which is a lawsuit over Java patents. The Economist has this new article titled “The great patent battle” and it’s about the many patent battles in the mobile arena:

Hardly a week passes without a new case. Motorola sued Apple this month, having itself been sued by Microsoft a few days earlier. Since 2006 the number of mobile-phone-related patent complaints has increased by 20% annually, according to Lex Machina, a firm that keeps a database of intellectual-property spats in America.

Most suits were filed by patent owners who hail from another industry, such as Kodak (a firm from a bygone era that now makes printers), or by patent trolls (firms that buy patents not in order to make products, but to sue others for allegedly infringing them). But in recent months the makers of handsets and related software themselves have become much more litigious, reports Joshua Walker, the boss of Lex Machina.

Could patents have anything at all with Apple’s treatment of Java (assuming those rumours bear substance)? That seems unlikely. Either way, Microsoft too has been attacking Java with FUD recently.

Postscript: at the time of publishing it turns out the speculations are true as Apple “threatens Java” by deprecating its release and Steve Jobs talks about it.

10.19.10

Attacks on Software Freedom Usually Mean That It is Winning

Posted in Apple, FUD, GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenDocument, OpenOffice at 6:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.”

(Usually attributed to) Mahatma Gandhi

Summary: The Microsoft camp is throwing FUD at OpenOffice.org, GNU/Linux and Java this month, just when the company crumbles at an increased pace; Apple too starts getting increasingly worried

THAT quote at the top sure has become a cliché, but it is worth repeating just to remind people what recent events may mean. First of all, Microsoft’s #2 man has just quit. Yes, Ozzie was supposed to be Microsoft's next superstar, but he fell on his sword, leaving just Ballmer to handle the disasters which are Bong [sic], Vista Phone 7 [sic], and AZune [sic] (Fog Computing). Nothing new from Microsoft seems to be profitable.

Anybody knows that when a person or animal feels threatened and cornered, he or she attacks. That’s what appears to be happening at Microsoft right now. Earlier this month there were those tactless OpenOffice.org videos (Microsoft got blowback and retreated), a short while ago we saw GNU/Linux FUD from Windows Vista Magazine's editor (as well as others who echoed his talking points), and Microsoft was recently seen hiring a FOSS guy who attacks Java in his blog (just weeks after being hired). Groklaw has already rebutted this voice. And now, having exaggerated the impact of Oracle’s lawsuit, our reader Patrick says that Microsoft goes further. “I love how Microsoft attacks Java popularity, real classy,” he wrote last night.

There has been an “unprecedented wave” of exploits against vulnerabilities in Oracle’s Java during the third quarter of this year, according to data from the Microsoft Malware Protection Center.

Let’s see now; FUD attacks from the Microsoft movement against OpenOffice.org, GNU/Linux, and now Java? What’s next? This whole strategy is highly misguided because Microsoft alienates existing customers. Many Microsoft customers also use OpenOffice.org, GNU/Linux, and especially Java.

The blowback carries on. There is the propaganda video against OpenOffice.org with a whole show focused on it and this new article which references Techrights:

Meanwhile, the Ars Technica Web site did some digging and found the quotes were actually from case studies and press articles from the last four years, most of which were hosted on Microsoft.com.

Writing in his Web site Techrights, Roy Schestowitz notes that one case study involving the Scotland police force, was a “success” story about a migration in 2006 to Windows XP, Microsoft Office, and Microsoft Windows Server 2003, products that are now ancient history. “Not really a good way to convince customers now,” he adds. But then again, the video doesn’t tell you this.

OStatic shrewdly refers to Bill Gates' and Steve Ballmer's attempt to extort the OpenOffice.org community using software patents:

If you’ve ever wondered whether Microsoft considers the OpenOffice suite of productivity applications to be competition, last week we took note of a new video from Microsoft showing customers criticizing the suite. It’s not the first time the company has targeted the open source suite. In this post from Sun Microsystems’ ex-CEO Jonathan Schwartz, he recounts the story of a visit with Microsoft’s then-CEO Bill Gates, where Gates displayed highly territorial behavior toward the OpenOffice suite. So does OpenOffice really represent a threat to Microsoft’s ubiquitous Office suite?

[...]

It may be a good thing to see Microsoft trash OpenOffice, but the day still isn’t here when a free, open source suite of productivity apps might acually topple Microsoft Office. For now, we should be thankful that there is at least competition.

The author links to this good post from Dana, whom we referenced yesterday. Dana says Microsoft’s attacks are good news; it’s basically the idea that if “then they attack you” it means that soon “you win”. Remember this: the worst thing is to be ignored. It’s even more insulting and degrading sometimes.

Eleven is Louder has meanwhile responded to the FUD piece from Windows Vista Magazine’s editor:

All in all, the article was bogus. People need to be weary of FUD like that. Too many credible news agencies are starting to churn out drivel like this PCW article.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols has to be polite because he too works for IDG, but he calmly responds and concludes:

In the new desktop, where applications and content are more often than not provided by Linux-based servers, Linux will do quite well whether your main interface will be on a laptop, desktop, smartphone, or a tablet. It’s Windows, not Linux, that has reason to fear this future.

Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, who used to write negative things about desktop Linux (several GNU/Linux FUD pieces almost identical to the above from a Windows Vista Magazine editor), no longer seems to agree with all that FUD he used to spread himself:

Secondly, Linux isn’t as bad at media as Strohmeyer makes out. Playing DVDs on distros such as Ubuntu is a snap. Sure, there’s plenty of DRMed media that won’t work on Linux, but there’s also plenty of stuff that will.

In conclusion, the Microsoft movement is running out of material and its talking points have expired. Well, all that a company can do is attack the competition like Android was attacked by ACCESS trolling or lawsuits from Apple and Microsoft.

Speaking of Apple, Android is now being attacked directly by Jobs and a transcript gets served by Charles Arthur, courtesy of Seeking Alpha. Yes, Apple too is scared as it sees the writings on the wall. Fabian A. Scherschel says: “Awesome. Steve Jobs: The worldwide authority on openness. What a joke….”

Glyn Moody responds by saying, “first MS fretting about OpenOffice, now Jobs on Android…”

Yes, software freedom is winning. Just don’t expect the losers to accept it lying down.

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