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05.03.14

The European Union Legitimises Software Patents by Intervening in Android Patent Case

Posted in Apple, Google, Patents, RAND, Samsung at 8:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mistakes made in the EU as well

Made in EU

Summary: Software patents make an appearance in Europe again, this time in FRAND form

SOMETHING troubling has happened in the Apple vs. Samsung case, which is how Microsoft’s subversive club of Android foes (Nokia, Apple, and Microsoft plus smaller trolls for the most part) has been trying to make Android expensive, undermining its principal selling point, The patent-stacking battle, which Microsoft has been wittingly and visibly involved it (Microsoft supports Apple and Oracle of course), now reaches a phase of EU intervention:

EU moves to end smartphone patent wars in landmark ruling

The ruling will help to draw a line under long-running feuds between smartphone makers

Apple propaganda sites have been covering this case, saying that “jurors deciding the outcome of the second Apple vs Samsung trial haven’t yet returned a verdict, but their options are limited to a few possible outcomes, ranging from a fiery thermonuclear blast to a wintery new Dark Ages.”

Well, “thermonuclear” is a term borrowed from Steve Jobs himself. He strives for thermonuclear outcome. He is as apocalyptic as he is “visionary”.

Anyway, here is Richard Stallman’s response to the EU’s intervention:

The European Union is stopping Apple and Samsung from suing each other for patent infringement.

Unfortunately, its “solution” is a terrible mistake: imposing “reasonable and nondiscriminatory” terms. In practice, this means patent licenses that discriminate against free software by charging license fees per copy, which free software developers can’t possibly pay. There is nothing “reasonable” about that.

FRAND, as we have argued for years, is a Trojan horse for software patents in the EU and elsewhere. We need to reject this. Ideally, the EU should just send Apple and its “thermonuclear” ambitions somewhere far away — a place where the Sun won’t shine. Apple is the aggressor here and it is part of a broader plot to undermine Android and Linux rather than outwit or provide technical competition.

02.27.14

Tizen and Samsung

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Samsung at 12:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Samsung’s proximity and increasing control of Tizen is another reason to avoid Tizen, not just Samsung

LONG before Samsung was really into Linux there were numerous efforts to bring Linux to mobile. It’s a shame that one of the largest such efforts is now controlled by Intel/Samsung but officially steered by the Linux Foundation, which is funded by those companies that help Microsoft. By far the biggest player, however, remains Android, which is also based on Linux (some journalists don’t seem to know that Android has Linux in it [1] and others overlook the contribution of Alien Dalvik back in MeeGo’s days [2]). There are numerous articles about Samsung’s adoption of Tizen as an important platform [3-5], but none of them offers a critical take on Samsung’s special relationship with Microsoft.

CBS had a lot of coverage regarding the latest Samsung phone [6-8] which increasingly involves the likes of Intel [9]. The coverage in Muktware [10,11] focused on the features and release date, but there too there was no criticism of Samsung, which increasingly imitates the bad side of Apple.

The bottom line is, Samsung has too much control of Tizen and only to a lesser degree of Android. This is not a good thing; Samsung never cared about freedom, instead emphasising DRM and other such negative aspects of technology. This issue merits an open discussion.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Samsung ditches Android for Tizen on Gear 2 smartwatch — Google loses, Linux wins!

    Tizen has a long road ahead in terms of matching Android in apps or popularity. Quite frankly, that happening is very unlikely. Of course, many would have said BlackBerry was unbeatable years ago, so never say never.

  2. Software converts Android apps to Tizen OS — too bad there’s no phone yet

    With a simple click, the Polaris App Generator software is able to wrap an Android APK and convert it to a Tizen OS executable file. This means developers don’t have to pour additional resources into manually porting their apps.

  3. Tizen devices are HERE…. Hello, Samsung Gear 2 smartwatches
  4. Samsung smartwatches run on Tizen
  5. Tizen Smartwatches Tip Samsung’s Ecosystem-First Strategy

    The long wait for a major Tizen OS device is finally over, and it’s a…smartwatch? At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, Samsung skipped the unveiling of its first Tizen smartphone, and instead rolled out a trio of Tizen-based wrist computers: the Gear 2, Gear Neo, and Gear Fit. Due to ship in April, the devices are lighter and more stylish than Samsung’s Android-based Galaxy Gear.

  6. Samsung Galaxy S5: Why I’m rooting for the little guys
  7. Samsung wants you to make Gear 2 apps, ASAP

    The Korean electronics giant unveiled three new software development kits to make it easy to create programs that work with its new wearables and its Galaxy S5.

  8. Samsung Galaxy S5: Evolution, not revolution, but still packs a powerful punch (review)
  9. Intel LTE poised to join upcoming Galaxy S5 family
  10. Samsung Galaxy S4 vs. Galaxy S5 vs. iPhone 5S

    The much-anticipated Galaxy S5 is finally here! After months of rumors and leaks, Samsung unveiled the successor to the Galaxy S4 at a press conference at Mobile World Conference (MWC) 2014 in Barcelona. Though it’s a minor evolution of the Galaxy S4, the new phone packs a sharp 5.1-inch screen, a faster, 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB of RAM and a 16-megapixel camera. Taking cue from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, the smartphone is also waterproof. It features a new fingerprint scanner similar to the iPhone 5S.

  11. Galaxy S5 revealed in all its glory — launches in April

    We’ve waited for this moment for quite some time, but now the S5 has officially been revealed. Samsung’s latest offering comes with a 5.1″ 1920 x 1080p screen, 2GB of RAM, 16 or 32GB of storage plus the ability to host a Micro SD card. Android 4.4.2 is on board as expected, and it sports a 2.5Ghz quad-core Snapdragon process (not sure of 800, 801 or 805).

02.25.14

After Nokia, the Rise of MeeGo Seen in Tizen and Sailfish (But Don’t Use Tizen)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Samsung at 9:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How Samsung/Tizen and Jolla/Sailfish continue a tradition started with LiPS, LiMo, Moblin, Maemo, etc.

NOKIA is dying in Microsoft's hands and is now turning to Android for intrusion. It turned out that the “burning platform” which Elop had famously spoken about was actually Microsoft’s platform, not MeeGo or some of Nokia’s other Linux-based OS attempts (in addition to Symbian). Linux always gets its way, especially when the code is free and cannot be buried.

Sadly enough it is actually a company that pays Microsoft for Linux (Samsung, not Amazon, an Android ‘forker’ which does this too [1]) taking over much of MeeGo with the project now called Tizen. Jolla is a small company; it can’t match the size of Samsung. While this company develops some cutting-edge hardware [2,3] it turns out that it increasingly standardises on Tizen for gadgets [4,5].

Whatever small operating system emerges these days (COS, Ubuntu Touch, WebOS, Firefox OS, Sailfish OS and more), it is always Linux-based. What makes Tizen unique, however, is that it’s controlled by a company that is in bed with Microsoft when it comes to patents. So, for alternatives to Nokia look at Jolla, not Samsung. Let Samsung fail. It does not honour people's freedom.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Amazon’s Android set-top box reportedly set for March release

    It didn’t make its intended launch window of the 2013 holiday shopping season, but Amazon’s web TV set-top box is apparently still very much on the roadmap. Recode reports word from multiple sources today that Amazon is aiming for a March rollout of its Apple TV and Roku competitor. Having invested in developing a rich and varied Prime Instant Video library, Amazon has done a good job of distributing that content across platforms, but there are obvious benefits to the web company controlling and selling its own hardware.

  2. Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner ‘confirmed’
  3. First Public Evidence Of Samsung’s 64-bit SoC Surfaces But It’s Light On Details
  4. Samsung’s Tizen on Gear plan makes sense

    Samsung will reportedly use its Gear smartwatch as a trial balloon for its Tizen operating system. The move makes a lot of sense to see if Tizen can really hold its own relative to Android.

  5. Samsung drops Android for Tizen in new Gear 2 smartwatches

    A mere six months after the introduction of the Galaxy Gear, Samsung is returning to the smartwatch market with two new models: the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo. Announced at Mobile World Congress today, the new watches remain faithful to the original’s look, but make a number of substantial alterations as well. The disappearance of the Galaxy branding is indicative of the biggest change: Android has been replaced by Tizen as the operating system on Samsung’s smartwatches.

02.20.14

Samsung Capitulates to Rights Violations Amid Undermined Federal Laws and Obligatory Kill Switches

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Samsung at 10:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Samsung is treading bravely towards an oppressive digital world and is playing a role in this oppression

SEVERAL politicians are making mandatory the inclusion of nasty back doors, or at least trying to do so [1,2]. “Apple has actually already implemented a kill-switch like feature on its iPhones, as of the iOS 7,” quotes iophk from the CIA-connected press, and “Samsung has also said it’s working on a similar feature.” Sosumi adds that “the killswitch and features of remote lock and wipe on the iPhone have been around since the iPhone 3G, aka 2008″ (that’s six years ago).

Proprietary software tends to be inherently malicious. Is it said that an Android backer like Samsung goes down the same route. We already called for a boycott of Samsung in 2007 and reiterated the call last year. The company is freedom-hostile in several other areas and it mimics the Orwellian 'features' of Apple. Samsung is now helping the surveillance state [3] and it’s a shame because it shines a negative light on Android (already surveillance-leaning), Samsung being the biggest seller of Android devices [4] (the biggest/most popular operating system in the world [5]). Not only Android is affected because Samsung now makes Tizen-based wearable surveillance [6], too.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Smartphone Kill Switch Could Become Federal Law
  2. Federal smartphone kill-switch legislation proposed
  3. Galaxy S5 finger print scanner confirmed and explained

    It seems like Samsung will go head to head with Apple again this year, and they will, barring some unforeseen catastrophe, maintain their spot as the ‘King of Android’. I just wish that they would have implemented on screen buttons like so many others are doing, but, they are the world wide leaders in sales after all; who am I to judge? Here’s to hoping that their implementation of the scanner works a lot better than HTC’s recent attempt with the One Max, and that their users grow to love it.

  4. Samsung leads Android pack in enterprise, but Lenovo looms

    Samsung dominates the Android enterprise charge, but Motorola has a sizeable chunk of the devices in the field, according to data compiled by Fiberlink. The real fun for Android in the enterprise will come when Lenovo closes its Motorola Mobility acquisition from Google.

  5. Android: The Most Popular OS In The World

    We have been having the biggest debate of the mobile world for a few years now… Android, or iOS? Each of them have their own major perks. Android has its insane amount of customization possibilities, and iOS has its ease of use (just to name a few). However, a new report from the IDC shows us some irrefutable proof: Android is the most popular mobile operating system in the world. Over the last three years, the Android operating system market share, in percentages of global unit shipments, has increased by roughly 29.6%, while iOS has dropped 3.6%. Windows Phone has surprisingly gained 1.5%, and BlackBerry has dropped 9.4%. As of May of last year, Samsung held the title of the first place, but that is to be expected.

  6. Tizen-based Samsung smartwatch rumored

    The next version of Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatch will run the Linux-based Tizen operating system instead of Android, suggests a USA Today report.

02.18.14

Non-Android Mobile Linux: Jolla, Tizen, WebOS and Firefox OS Gain Momentum

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, LG, Samsung at 9:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A quick look at some recent developments involving mobile Linux that’s not Android

LINUX and GNU are taking over the mobile world. Not only the Google-run Android (US-centric) is capitalising on GNU (founded in US) and Linux (centered in Portland). This is an international effort to capitalise on Free software, challenging proprietary systems like Blackberry’s and Apple’s, not only Android, which has been exceptionally surveillance-friendly.

The England-based Canonical (London-based offices) has Ubuntu for mobile devices, the Finland-based Jolla (former Nokia staff) has a promising operating system that’s a huge success in Finland and is very liberal even in the hardware sense [1], Korean giant Samsung is working on Tizen with new backers [2,3] (although none has pledged actual devices [4]), so Samsung is not focused just on Android, and LG (the other Korean giant) pushes WebOS [5]. Then there is Geeksphone, which incorporates Firefox OS but only alongside Android [6].

All these efforts ought to remind us that Linux and GNU are international endeavours that increase sharing, choice, diversity, etc. It’s not all about Android and there is no “monopoly” here, as some Microsoft- and Apple-friendly ‘journalists’ have been trying to insinuate recently. There are Android-derived alternatives such as CyanogenMod, and Google is not shunning them [7] unless they cause security risks [8].

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Mobile Customization Gets Boost with Jolla’s The Other Half

    The dream of customizing mobile devices with 3D printed modules took another step forward this week when Jolla opened sales of its promised “The Other Half” customizable backplates for Jolla smartphones. The Finnish company has even posted an SDK to let developers construct their own 3D printed backplate designs for the phone, which runs the Linux-based Sailfish OS.

  2. ZTE, Sprint, SoftBank join open source Tizen OS development
  3. Tizen adds members, teases UI

    Tizen has always been the presumed heavyweight among the new crop of mobile Linux operating systems, yet it has increasingly seemed more like a wispy shadow. Now, despite growing signs that Samsung’s first Tizen phones may not ship until late 2014, and doubts whether the company will put much effort behind the OS now that it has made peace with Google, the Tizen marketing push has cranked up for the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This week, the Tizen Association industry group that supports the Linux Foundation hosted Tizen project, announced 15 new members for its partner program.

  4. Tizen teasing continues as new members join but none pledge devices
  5. LG pushes WebOS into digital signage

    LG is launching a new line of “all-in-one” digital signage systems that run the Linux-based WebOS, including new HTML middleware for app development.

  6. Geeksphone’s dual-boot Android Firefox OS device coming next week

    Spanish smartphone maker Geeksphone has revealed more details on its forthcoming dual-boot Android and Firefox OS device.

  7. CyanogenMOD developer demos Android Mirroring to Chromecast

    Well, Google had warned not to use preview SDK to write apps as it was in initial phase. Dutta has an AllCast app which allows one to stream quite a lot of local content to Chromecast. Now since Google has released the SDK and opened Chromecast to 3rd party developers there are immense possibilities – and Dutta is back. He has teased users with an app which can mirror the Android screen on Chromecast cast.

  8. Google to banish mobe-makers using old Androids: report

    Android Police is claiming to have received a copy of a Google memo, stating that Google Mobile Services certification will no longer be available to any device submitted by an operator running anything less than Android 4.2.

01.29.14

East Asia is Taking Over More Parts of the Computer Industry, Bringing GNU/Linux to the Top

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Samsung at 4:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The world’s biggest OEM is now supporting GNU/Linux, and the nation that it’s in does too

SOMETHING fantastic seems to be happening in the computing world. Android PCs are becoming a recognised trend [1], not one to be ridiculed, and the companies behind it are mostly OEMs from Asia. Given the low cost of some devices (especially those without x86), some people are now running proper GNU/Linux on Chromebooks [2,3] and a South Korean giant, an increasingly-Apple-like Samsung (world leader in smartphones and emerging power in other areas too), is replacing Nokia (Europe), Apple (USA), and to a lesser degree Microsoft (USA/NSA), taking Android to the top as the world’s most dominant operating system. This is great for Linux.

One blogger asks: “Could Samsung Focus Exclusively on Chromebooks?” [4]

It probably should. Dell, despite payments from Microsoft, continues to use Linux for networking [5,6] and continues to sell machines with GNU/Linux preinstalled. That says a lot because even Microsoft partners (with partial Microsoft ownership) cannot resist GNU/Linux. The “Decay Of Wintel” as Pogson called it [7] is very much real; evidence of it includes Intel layoffs and Microsoft losses.

North Korea is reportedly moving to GNU/Linux [8,9] — something which South Korea can hardly do because of Microsoft’s ActiveX (although the country is reportedly trying to move to Ubuntu). Assuming that a lot of the world’s technological leadership is moving to Asia (core parts of IBM head in this direction) the writings are very much on the wall. Samsung is even approaching total semiconductors autonomy/independence because it designs and makes its own chips now, and they improve over time.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Android PCs and other Windows-alternative desktops are for real

    For years, decades, you could put all of alternative desktops — Linux, Mac, whatever — together and Windows would still beat them by ten to one. That was then. This is now.

  2. SJVN Runs GNU/Linux on a Chromebook
  3. How to run Linux on a Chromebook

    Want to run Debian or Ubuntu on your Chromebook? With Crouton, you can do that.

  4. Could Samsung Focus Exclusively on Chromebooks?

    How focused has Samsung become on Chromebooks–portable computers that run Google’s cloud-centric Chrome OS? According to a report in DigiTimes, after cutting its targets for notebook computer sales, the company may have plans to “no longer launch conventional notebook models except Chromebooks in 2015, according to Taiwan-based supply chain makers.” While there is no official confirmation from Samsung, the move would represent a big shift for Samsung and one of the biggest votes of confidence yet for Chromebooks.

  5. Dell, Cumulus Partner on Open Source Networking OS
  6. Dell Embraces Cumulus Linux for Networking

    Dell is no stranger to Linux, having supported it on its server portfolio as well as its own networking gear. Now Dell is expanding its Linux networking effort by enabling its customers to choose Linux, specifically the Cumulus Linux distribution, as a networking operating system on a pair of Dell switches.

  7. More Decay Of Wintel Seen In 2014

    Further, Wintel cannot even compete on price/performance at the low end because M$ charges way too much for licensing and restricting the freedom of users to use the hardware they buy to fullest potential. That just won’t fly any longer. There are OEMs who want to compete selling small cheap computers of every kind and they will ship Android/Linux, Chrome OS/Linux and GNU/Linux in 2014. You can bet on that. Margins are too small in this segment to pay the Wintel tax.

  8. Even North Korea Loves Linux and Open Source

    Just how popular is enterprise open source software? Popular enough, it seems, to power web servers in locations as unlikely as North Korea. That’s where Red Hat (RHT) Enterprise Linux (RHEL), and derivatives of it, are running the few public web servers that exist in the country. Who knew?

  9. North Korea embraces Linux and Open Source

01.28.14

Tuxera GPL Violations Alleged

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Patents, Samsung at 2:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Unable to cover up the deeds

A band-aid bandage

Summary: Microsoft’s partner Tuxera is claimed to be violating the GPL, adding insult to injury (helping Microsoft make money from Linux shakedowns, using code that was illegally copied)

LAST year we campaigned with great success for Samsung to obey (i.e. comply with) the GPL after it had gotten caught violating it [1, 2. 3], specifically when it served Microsoft with patent traps (exFAT). Samsung’s GPL violations go years back and they show that this company, which has just liaised with Google on patents (Google too is becoming patents-greedy), is no friend of FOSS. Samsung also commits crimes, but that’s beyond the scope of our coverage.

Another company which can easily be confused or mishandled as a FOSS company because it uses Linux (but mostly provides proprietary software with Microsoft patents) is Tuxera. Like Xamarin, all it really does is promote Linux dependence on Microsoft patent traps (the ones that allegedly have Samsung paying Microsoft for Linux). exFAT (promoted by Samsung and Tuxera) as well other forms/variants of FAT are not really needed, we need to abolish them.

The woman who told us about Samsung’s GPL violations contacted us earlier today to say that based on this file (forked to https://github.com/rxrz/asuswrt-merlin just in case), Tuxera is violating the GPL.

As the reporter of this violation put it, “download the blob, run `modinfo` on it:


filename:       thfsplus.ko
license:        GPL
description:    Extended Macintosh Filesystem
author:         Brad Boyer
depends:       
vermagic:       2.6.22.19 mod_unload MIPS32_R2 32BIT

“it’s MIPS32, so `strings` won’t give the function names, rather something like this:


`strings /tmp/thfsplus.ko | grep -i tux`:
<6>Tuxera HFS+ driver 3013.11.18
/opt/tuxera/rakesh/tuxera_delivery/output/asus-router/tuxera-file-systems-3013.11.15.1-bcm4706.build/hfsplus-kmod/fs/hfsplus/extents.c
/opt/tuxera/rakesh/tuxera_delivery/output/asus-router/tuxera-file-systems-3013.11.15.1-bcm4706.build/hfsplus-kmod/fs/hfsplus/bnode.c

“Seems like a GPL violation to me,” she concluded. “I’d like to have that source code now, since it’s been based on native code from Linux.”

01.27.14

Apple is Rapidly Losing the Smartphones Market, But Don’t Cheer for Samsung

Posted in Apple, Google, Patents, Samsung at 5:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Samsung is still playing with software patents and it is now turning Android devices into restrictions devices, similar to Apple’s

APPLE ‘news’ sites are trying to elude the fact that Android is a real headache to Apple. Here is gross spin from pro-Apple sites along with a report from a former Microsoft booster (who worked for a pro-Microsoft site). One pro-Apple site says that “Apple’s smartphone marketshare continues to ease downward despite record sales for the company’s latest handsets, while rival Samsung’s share of the Android ecosystem is being squeezed in key markets, according to new analysis covering the fourth quarter of 2013.”

Samsung is not Android. Pro-Apple sites are desperate for some positive angle for Apple and negative for Android.

Samsung, as we noted in 2007, began supporting Microsoft’s patent assault on Linux and was one of the first companies (for embedded devices at least) to do so. We spent years drawing attention to this problem and here we are 7 years later with Samsung as some kind of “champion” thanks to Android. Samsung — like LG — is not championing Android, it is helping Microsoft assert ‘ownership’ and hence it is endorsing extortion.

This morning we came to discover that Samsung is boosting patents again, this time with Google. To quote the Head of Samsung’s Intellectual Property Center (notice the propagandistic terms): “This agreement with Google is highly significant for the technology industry…Samsung and Google are showing the rest of the industry that there is more to gain from cooperating than engaging in unnecessary patent disputes.”

This is nonsense. We don’t need this kind of public endorsement of patents, with or without so-called “peace” (only for large patent holders, such as IBM and Microsoft, or even Apple and Microsoft).

There are also technical and practical reasons to avoid Samsung, never mind the patent policy. Samsung is hoping to conquer the Android market with lots of new devices, not just phones [1], and based on reports such as [2,3], Samsung is now doing exactly what Apple has done, making devices jails for their users and taking control over people’s devices. This is bad and one way to say “no” to this behaviour is to avoid, as a matter of principle, anything from Samsung.

References:

  1. Samsung coming up with multiple Galaxy Tab variants in 2014

    Samsung has revealed plans to expand its smartphone and tablet portfolio in 2014. At the company’s conference, Executive Director Hyunjoon Kim announced that Samsung will first “create a new tablet category” that will be aimed at businesses with a high-end, “high-resolution,” large screen tablet around 20-inches. He added that the company will produce many variants by modifying their Galaxy Tab series.

  2. Samsung brings accessory restriction on Note 3, inspired by Apple?
  3. Note 3 users: Samsung disabled unofficial accessories via software update

    A number of users are claiming that the Galaxy Note 3 KitKat update breaks compatibility with some third-party accessories. The accessories affected are unofficial versions of Samsung’s S-View Flip Cover, a case with a window over the top half of the screen. A working S-View cover will turn the screen on and trigger a special display that shows the time and notifications through its window. In the previous update, Android 4.3, unofficial S-View covers could trigger this special display mode as well, but after the update to 4.4, the phone will only recognize Samsung-made products.

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