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05.17.14

Copyrights and Not Just Patents Become a Threat to Free Software, Making Mono More Urgent to Avoid

Posted in Mono, Oracle, Patents at 6:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Now that a relatively high court in the US views APIs as a recognised monopoly we face new risks and Mono is on very shaky ground

The other day when we wrote about patents as an issue with huge implications to FOSS we took note of Microsoft- and Oracle-backed tools such as CPTN (Novell’s patents), which OIN is quite pointless against. OIN is wrongly assuming a particular strategy of patent litigation will develop, even though companies like In Microsoft and Nokia dodge to proxies like MOSAID. Here is a new piece about OIN which focuses on hardware:

The next big intellectual property battle has been forming over hardwired and programmable chips made for mobile devices that leverage Linux code. However, the Open Invention Network has strategically deployed forces to keep Linux-powered smartphones, tablets and other computer technologies out of harm’s way. Its goal is to create a patent litigation no-fly zone around embedded Linux.

OIN does not appear too have done much — if anything at all — to stop litigation of this kind. To make matters worse, look what members like Oracle have been doing, leveraging copyright to attack other OIN members.

Here is Glyn Moody’s new take on this matter. He writes:

Last week, that “idea/expression dichotomy” was dealt a serious blow by a US court. Significantly, it is the same court – the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) – that is largely responsible for the software patent mess in the US.

Indeed, CAFC has been quite notorious for this. It is worse than even SCOTUS. Well, citing this older article, Mike Masnick explains that we should all be “recognizing that APIs shouldn’t be covered by copyright…as it makes people programming on your platform more valuable since they have more options and more flexibility. The big companies who don’t like this are being short-sighted. They’re trying to lock in developers, by forcing them to only develop for their platform, but in doing so, are inherently making their own platform less valuable.”

Now we are stuck in a mess of copyrights APIs, Jose warned us about such stuff years ago, in relation to Mono. Whatever Dalvik means to Java (Oracle) Mono may mean to .NET (Microsoft). We will revisit and expand on this another day.

05.11.14

Analysis of Text From the CAFC Reveals Lack of Technical Comprehension

Posted in Courtroom, Google, Intellectual Monopoly, Oracle at 3:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lawyers deciding on technical issues

CAFC

Summary: The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) shows us yet again that it does not understand technology and its latest ruling is harmful to the technical community

YESTERDAY we wrote about the menacing CAFC ruling, which basically throws a lot of FOSS under the rug (by extension) for it alleges that APIs are copyrightable and that their reuse does not qualify as fair use. We have already criticised CAFC for being very pro-software patents and for being utterly clueless on technical matters on numerous occasions, so the latest decision from it oughtn’t be so shocking. As Ars Technica put it, “Google, which said it was exploring its legal options, decried Friday’s ruling. The Mountain View, CA-based media giant said the decision “sets a damaging precedent for computer science and software development.””

Google is correct and it will hopefully appeal this decision. What we have here is misuse of copyrights, SCO style, by Oracle.

TechDirt posted the best rebuttal to this decision, attracting hundreds of comments and revealing a lot of holes and mistakes in CAFC’s ruling (the text). Here’s a sample:

Appeals Court Doesn’t Understand The Difference Between Software And An API; Declares APIs Copyrightable

[...]

We sort of expected this to happen after the appeals court for the Federal Circuit (CAFC) held its oral arguments back in December, but CAFC has now spit at basic common sense and has declared that you can copyright an API. As we noted, back when Judge William Alsup (who learned to code Java to better understand the issues in the case) ruled that APIs were not subject to copyright protection, his ruling was somewhat unique in that it was clearly directed as much at an appeals court panel who would be hearing the appeal as it was at the parties. Alsup rightly suspected that the judges on the appeal wouldn’t actually understand the issues as well as he did, and tried to break it down clearly for them. Unfortunately, the three judge CAFC panel did not pay attention. The ruling is so bad that legal scholars are suggesting that it may be as bad as the horrific ruling in the Garcia case.

[...]

As for the ruling itself… well… it’s bad. The court seems to not understand what an API is, confusing it with software functionality. It also appears to misread Judge Alsup’s ruling, thinking that he’s mistakenly using a fair use analysis to determine whether or not something is copyrightable. But that was not the basis of Judge Alsup’s ruling. He very specifically noted that the “command structure is a system or method of operation under Section 102(b) of the Copyright Act and, therefore, cannot be copyrighted.” The CAFC panel doesn’t seem to understand this at all.

[...]

It seems fairly clear that the CAFC judges don’t understand the difference between an API and software. And thus they make a decision that makes no sense. There is no distinction recognized when it comes to the functionality of an API and how it’s entirely different than the purpose of the software itself. This is especially clear towards the end, in which the CAFC ruling misrepresents some discussions on whether certain functionality is best protected by patents or copyright. But the problem is that they misinterpret statements people are making about APIs, thinking that those statements were made about software as a whole. This is just a flat-out fundamental misunderstanding of what an API is, assuming that it’s just software.

[...]

Note that “[software]” thrown in before interfaces? Google is talking about whether APIs — “application programming interfaces” — are copyrightable. Not whether or not software is copyrightable. And yet the CAFC doesn’t even seem to realize this. Ridiculously, CAFC then uses its own misunderstanding and misquote, and points to some of the (many) arguments where people argue that patents are inappropriate for software to dismiss Google’s argument about APIs. It honestly doesn’t realize that it’s comparing two totally different things. What lots of people agree on: software shouldn’t be patentable and APIs shouldn’t be copyrightable, but software can be copyrightable and API functionality may be patentable. But by confusing APIs and software, CAFC totally misreads both arguments.

This will probably go to SCOTUS next (unless they decline to weigh in), but in the mean time it spreads uncertainty and doubt, harming not only Free software developers but developers in general. As TechDirt put it, “CAFC has mucked up another form of intellectual property law through a basic (and near total) misunderstanding of technology.”

03.24.14

Oracle Releases Java 8 and VirtualBox 4.3.8

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Office Suites, Oracle at 2:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The few Sun projects that Oracle did not burn in a fire

3 matches

Summary: New releases of Free software from Oracle help show that the company did not totally neglect Free software

ORACLE really dropped the ball when it comes to Free software. It not only neglected great projects like OpenOffice.org but it also sued Google, liaised with Microsoft on numerous occasions, and generally became the bad guy on the block. Some former Sun staff took advantage of this [1], but it seems as though Oracle did not totally neglect every single Free software project that it had inherited from Sun. Java 8, for example, has just been officially released [2,3] and VirtualBox, one of people’s favourite desktop virtualisation systems (especially on GNU/Linux), continues to be maintained by Oracle [4]. Imagine what the world would be like if Oracle promoted ODF, maintained all of Sun’s Free software projects and perhaps liberated some of its own proprietary software products.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Open source venture that’s profited from Oracle’s actions

    Among the latter group is ForgeRock, an open-source identity and access management company, which was founded in 2010 with very little seed capital. The founders were all part of Sun’s extended community and they decided to focus on Sun’s identity and access management products. One of the four co-founders of Sun, Scott McNealy, is also involved in ForgeRock.

  2. Java 8 Officially Released, Modularity Still a Concern

    Oracle today officially released Java 8, ushering in a new era of development capabilities for the standard-bearer of enterprise IT software platforms. The path to Java 8 has been a long one for Oracle, dating back to at least 2010, when the Java Community Process (JCP) voted in favor of JSR-337, the specification for Java 8.

  3. Reality check: Java 8 finally catches a multi-core break

    Java 8 is important because it’s the base spec for Java Enterprise Edition, as well as feeding the free and open-source implementation of OpenJDK loved by open-sourcers like Red Hat.

  4. VirtualBox 4.3.8 Officially Released with Support for X.Org Server 1.15

    After a couple of development versions, the brand new VirtualBox 4.3.8 release reached the stable channel, replacing the old 4.3.6 version, for which it fixes numerous bugs reported by the community. In addition, it adds many new features and improvements that should have been implemented a long time ago.

01.24.14

Finding Database Software Without Back Doors

Posted in Database, Oracle, Security at 9:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A survey of competition in the area of databases, with emphasis on Free software and on security

ORACLE, far more so than Red Hat, has been in bed with the NSA. Oracle’s very identity (its name) is that of a CIA project — a fact that many people either don’t know or are shocked to discover. Actually, a lot of VC funds for database projects comes from the VC arm of the CIA nowadays. There are decent alternatives to Oracle’s databases, such as PostgreSQL [1], NoSQL [2], various Open Source Database management systems [3], and also GPL-licensed contenders such as RethinkDB, which has just received a lot of funding [4]. Oracle, which grabbed the most popular GPL-licensed database (MySQL), is still facing strong competition [5] and these are just examples from the past month’s news, not going further back than that. Then there’s the market share of Microsoft in database. Microsoft is famously facilitating NSA snooping, so it seems safe to say that using any database from the top proprietary providers (Oracle and Microsoft) is foolish and irresponsible when security and privacy are important. Back doors are now a fact, they are not a speculation. The trust is done.

SkySQL and MariaDB now directly challenge MySQL [6], which Oracle has neglected for the most part since it took over Sun and broke it to bits [7,8]. Oracle’s record when it comes to running big projects is not exactly good anymore [9] (and suffice to say its build/clone of RHEL cannot be trusted), so it seems safe to claims that for security and privacy one should choose the primarily Europe-based — with offices in 10 European countries — SkySQL (or even PostgreSQL), not MySQL. One little cause for concern is that a board member of SkySQL “worked as a management consultant with Indevo AB, At Kearney Inc. and Booz Allen,” according to this page. Booz Allen is the infamous NSA contractor.

It’s interesting that only few people entertain the possibility that there may be NSA back doors in the databases themselves, and given the role that the CIA played (historically and at present) in databases development we should pay close attention to that.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. PostgreSQL 9.1 Advances Open Source Database Innovation
  2. How NoSQL will power the Internet of Things

    Open-source NoSQL databases such as Apache Cassandra are (and will be) key enablers of the Internet of Things.

    This is the view of Jonathan Ellis, CTO at DataStax, a company known for distributing a commercially supported version of the open source Apache Cassandra NoSQL Database Management System.

  3. Open Source Database Management Systems Gaining Traction
  4. RethinkDB grabs $8M to show its stuff against other NoSQL databases

    RethinkDB open-sourced the database under a GNU license in November 2012, and the community is 4,000 developers strong…

  5. Meet the Open Source Trio Primed to Topple Oracle

    Over the past few years, we’ve seen an explosion of new databases. Several companies are offering relational databases that directly challenge traditional offerings from Oracle — databases that designed to store information in neat rows and columns on a single machine. And thanks to research papers detailing software built by Google and Amazon, we also have a slew of open source NoSQL databases — databases designed to store massive amounts of information across tens of hundreds of machines.

  6. SkySQL goes after Oracle MySQL with enterprise release

    SkySQL, the MariaDB MySQL fork company, isn’t just for open-source database management system (DBMS) experts anymore. With the release of its MariaDB Enterprise product, SkySQL is going straight for Oracle’s MySQL enterprise customers.

  7. The mixed fate of Sun tech under Oracle
  8. James Gosling grades Oracle’s handling of Sun’s technology

    The Java founder assesses how well Oracle has managed the technologies it acquired in the four years since it bought Sun

  9. Oracle’s Oregon Website Failure

    For now, though, Oregon is stuck with a very expensive white elephant and most of its residents will not be able to take advantage of the benefits of the Affordable Care Act until 2015.

12.12.13

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

OEL

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.

12.06.13

To Oracle, ‘Community’ Means Paying Oracle Customers

Posted in Database, GNU/Linux, Oracle, Red Hat, Servers at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Oracle continues to extend only its own distribution of GNU/Linux (which is a ripoff of another), leaving everyone else out in the cold

Oracle, the selfish company run by a selfish man (who has risen to power in part thanks to CIA help), just announced a new clone of Red Hat Linux 6.5 [1,2]. This clone is not free and it’s not about Free/libre software, it is about control (by Oracle). It’s merely a copy of Red Hat Linux 6.5 [3,4] and it has some Oracle-only ‘features’ [5]. Oracle didn’t make these, it bought these from Sun.

This attitude from Oracle is not surprising. Given the way Oracle just slapped OpenOffice.org at Apache (with little or nothing done to help) [6], leaving it for people to take from there [7] and to enhance [8] amid the decline of offline word processors [9], the treatment of GNU/Linux by Oracle is not shocking. Other than btrfs, what has Oracle really done for GNU/Linux? Almost nothing. Even btrfs is hardly promoted by Oracle anymore. Let’s face it. Oracle just does its own thing the proprietary way (trying to keep up with what’s shareable [10] and then adding its own private extensions at the top). To Oracle, Free/libre software is a rival [11] which it is only ever willing to co-opt in order to help sell its expensive proprietary software. When it comes to Free software, Oracle is a user, not a developer. btrfs needed to be licensed like the kernel it targets.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Send in the clones: Oracle, CentOS catch up to Red Hat Linux 6.5
  2. Linux Top 3: RHEL Clones Update as Linux Mint Gets a new Dash of Cinnamon

    This past week marked the final release of Linux Mint 16 codenamed ‘Petra’. So far, Linux Mint has been made available in two officials builds, one with the new Cinammon 2.0 desktop and the other with MATE.

  3. Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5 ships, but still no RHEL 7 in sight

    Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 6.5 has reached general availability following a six-week beta period, making it the first minor release of RHEL 6 to ship since version 6.4 in February.

  4. Fact sheet: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.5

    The latest iteration of Red Hat Enterprise Linux (6.5) is now available, and it’s a serious contender to usurp all other platforms as king of the enterprise space. This particular release was designed specifically to simplify the operation of mission-critical SAP applications. The new release focuses on key enterprise-specific areas….

  5. Oracle integrates DTrace debugger into its Linux distribution
  6. Apache OpenOffice 4.1 to Bring Enhanced Accessibility Support

    The Apache OpenOffice project is pleased to announce that it has successfully integrated support for the Microsoft Active Accessibility (MSAA) and IAccessible2 interfaces. Support for these interfaces enables screen readers and other assistive technologies to work with Apache OpenOffice, which in turn enables greater productivity by OpenOffice users who are blind or who have low-vision.

  7. Stakeholders and Remixes: the other names of true communities

    This year we had a workshop dedicated to LibreOffice migrations inside the 3ctor and I spoke about what was going on in France. I was however reminded of a very important notion during my various conversations with the audience. Free Software licences pass on several rights to the users. But these rights or freedoms, while essential, do not mandate how a Free Software project community should work. If anything, that would be quite out of topic and perhaps going against the very spirit of Software Freedom. Among these freedoms, two are implied that are of particular importance but often overlooked in regard of Free Software development projects: the right to fork and the right -as a user- to leave the software or the vendor/supplier who is providing you support and services on the FOSS stack in question.

  8. LibreOffice now has a built in XML-parser
  9. Word processors are no longer central to the computing experience

    Word processors are no longer central to the computing experience, but there are still good reasons to use them. The question is, how well do the work in today’s computing environment?

  10. Oracle Linux 6.5 and Docker
  11. Devil is in the details of Oracle-to-PostgreSQL migration

    EnterpriseDB execs have moved customers off Oracle, but contracts and app packages can tangle switch to PostgreSQL

11.15.13

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.

10.18.13

Oracle Hates Free/Libre Software

Posted in Database, Free/Libre Software, OpenDocument, OpenOffice, Oracle at 6:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“If an Open Source Product Gets Good Enough, We’ll Simply Take It.”Larry Ellison

Summary: A roundup of news about Oracle, which took and ripped apart many valuable Free/Open Source software (FOSS) projects

MATT ASAY, who sells FOSS databases (a disruptive force), points out [1] that “Oracle Still Hates Open Source Software” because, based on some reports [2,3], The United States’ Department of Defense is being lobbied by Oracle to avoid FOSS. Remember that Oracle has roots and connections with the CIA/NSA. This is an organisational position, not some opinion posted by an employee in some personal blog. Oracle’s current position on patents is also troubling.

As pointed out by some [4], VirtualBox is oddly enough one of the few FOSS projects which Oracle did not shoot in the back [5], maybe because it helps run proprietary operating systems. Most famously, Oracle chose to litigate with software patents over Java and pretty much abandoned OpenOffice.org, passing it to Apache at the end. Microsoft Office is widely loathed by technical people [6], so Oracle missed a real opportunity here. South Tyrol wants to be using ODF/LibreOffice [7] to avoid layoffs (through savings) while LibreOffice conferences [8] and workshops [9] show that despite SUSE stepping out of backing/support for this project (just like Oracle), FOSS is just too hard to kill. Too bad for Larry Ellison, who can’t just buy FOSS out of existence

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. News Flash: Oracle Still Hates Open Source Software

    Oracle wants the U.S. Department of Defense to believe open source costs more and is less reliable. Too bad the DOD knows better.

  2. Oracle tells the military to buy their products instead of using open source

    Oracle has never been shy about promoting its products. The Register is reporting today that Oracle is recommending that the military stay away from open source apps.

  3. Oracle says open source has no place in military apps

    Oracle has popped out a white paper that may well turn some heads, because it contains robust criticism of open source software.

    Titled “The Department of Defense (DoD) and Open Source Software” and available here as a PDF to those with Oracle accounts or here in Dropbox, the document’s premise is that folks in the USA’s Department of Defense (DoD) could think it is possible to save money if they “… avoid buying commercial software products simply by starting with open source software and developing their own applications.”

  4. VirtualBox 4.3 Lets You Run Many Cutting-Edge Platforms at Once

    It’s been interesting to watch which components of Sun Microsystems’ portfolio of products–many of which were open source projects–Oracle has chosen to embrace or abandon since its acquisition of Sun. One project that it hasn’t jettisoned is VirtualBox, which has just arrived in a new version 4.3. The popular hypervisor is now tuned to work with operating systems that have just arrived, including Windows 8.1 and Mac OS X 10.9 ( “Mavericks” ), and it’s also tuned to work smoothly with Linux distros. The new version also supports multi-monitor setups and touch interfaces conventions.

  5. VirtualBox 4.3 comes with New Multi-Touch Support, virtual cam and more

    Oracle announced the release of VirtualBox 4.3, this is a major release that comes with important new features, devices support and improvements

  6. Why Microsoft Word must Die

    I hate Microsoft Word. I want Microsoft Word to die. I hate Microsoft Word with a burning, fiery passion.

  7. Avoiding layoffs motivates South Tyrol province-wide switch
  8. Slides for my talk at LibreOffice conference
  9. LibreOffice Marketing Workshop Milano 2013 – an overview

    This year saw, among other conferences, the second marketing strategy workshop for the LibreOffice project. While a workshop’s slides tend to be rather short and relatively unimportant, I intended to publlish some feedback that’s on the Marketing Pad as well as my own impressions about the state of marketing activities in the project. My slides emphasized what was going wrong more than what was right but it was nonetheless useful to start the workshop on that basis.

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