Quick Mention: Another Large Software Maker Supports OpenDocument Format

Posted in Formats, OpenDocument, Standard at 9:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Spread ODF

I have always been in the MATLAB camp myself, but it reassuring to find that Wolfram now supports OpenDocument format in its product, Mathematica. Via Groklaw:

Note Mathematica is claiming full import/export for ODF. Here’s the import explanation, and note the lovely graphic. And here’s the import/export page, showing all the other formats it can handle. I wonder if this could be used for our tables conversion work on monthly statements in the bankruptcy? Even if not, it’s another application on the list of applications that support ODF.

That’s a nice addition to many others (some examples below).

Quick Mention: UK Intellectual Property Office Revokes Software Patent

Posted in Europe, Patents at 8:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This new case ought to be an interesting one to watch.

A patent for the handling of gratuities in card payments has been revoked by the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) for being a business method implemented by a computer program. The decision follows recently-revised guidance on patentability.

One of the inventors told OUT-LAW today that his company spent more than £100,000 trying to enforce and defend the patent before passing the rights to another company, which he described as a “patent troll”. He believes that company will appeal this month’s ruling.

At the moment, Brits can pretty much ignore Microsoft patent FUD against Linux. The same applies to the vast majority of the world. Amazon, which we mentioned a couple of days ago, is still hungry for junk patents [via Slashdot].

theodp writes “Just in time for holiday shopping, the USPTO has awarded Amazon a patent for Generating Current Order Fulfillment Plans Based on Expected Future Orders, which explains how to use modeled net present value to adjust an order’s delivery date favorably or unfavorably based upon expectations that the customer will have high-profit orders in the future…”

The above phrase is just a complicated way to say that Amazon owns the idea of VIP (very important person), who receives special treatment for being rich. Is it better or is it worse than Amazon’s one-click patent (articles presented below)?

Related articles:

Criticise Mono for Patents, Get Attacked

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Patents at 4:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Can’t anyone see a taboo on opening this can of worms?

Fine. So we decided to confront and actually face an issue that has been hanging around the Web for several years and whose severity culminated amid Microsoft patent deals that explicitly mention Mono. None of what we said is new, yet it’s seen as controversial and we’re even being accused of lying, which we are not. Here is the response from Slated to these accusation:

Let him rant.

Some anonymous Mono fanb misquoting you, then linking to a non-existent post on Steadfast’s blog, is nothing to worry about.

And it still doesn’t disprove that Gnome is effectively dependent on Mono.

”Wouldn’t they celebrate the fact, rather than exert so much effort denying it, and making ad hominem attacks?“Think about this: If all these Mono fans are so dedicated to their cause, then why would it bother them that Gnome is dependent on their poisonous little toy? Wouldn’t they celebrate the fact, rather than exert so much effort denying it, and making ad hominem attacks?

They’re “doing evil”, and they know it. They’re just trying to disguise the fact.

Note that this VSQA blog is a “Visual Studio Questions and Answers” site, that deals entirely with Microsoft proprietary technology, such as VB.NET and ASP.NET, as well as C# and of course Mono.

This is the kind of people fighting the Mono cause now, this is the kind of people defending Mono’s corner, these are de Icaza’s and Steadfast’s “associates”.

Something has gone badly wrong when Microsoft fans are defending supposedly Linux developers. But then, of course, people like de Icaza and Steadfast are not really Linux developers … any more, they’re just “evangelists” for Microsoft’s encumbered technology.

Love GNOME, Beware of Mono

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Mono, Videos at 2:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

NØvell, gNØme, and moNØ

Jeff waugh, who is interviewed in the video below (from 2006), is unhappy with the output we produce in this Web site. He must understand, however, that we are seeing Novell’s increased level of intervention in the GNOME project. With Ximian on board and with SuSE’s focus gradually shifted away from KDE, Novell must be responsible enough to keep Mono conveniently separable from GNOME. As mentioned hours ago, Mono is close to intruding Evolution. Please, Jeff, assist the prevention of Mono-isation of GNOME. It’s an excellent desktop environment and we believe we know what Microsoft is up to with Mono.

Quick Mention: ‘CNR Virus’ Finds New Host

Posted in GNU/Linux, Linspire at 2:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Linspire DNA Passes on to Pioneer Linux

A loud critic of Linspire has recently said that CNR should be abolished because of its roots in Linspire and other associated issues of dependability. Sadly, Pioneer Linux seems to have embraced it.

The Pioneer Explorer and Renegade offerings include the LinSpire CNR client preinstalled.

Say No to Mono

Asus Eee’s GPL Violation, Xandros Replaced by Debian GNU/Linux and Ubuntu

Posted in Debian, GNU/Linux, GPL, Hardware, Microsoft, Novell, OLPC, Ubuntu, Windows, Xandros at 2:40 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent protection expires

It is probably easy to forget that this Web site also calls for a boycott against Xandros, whose deal with Microsoft was as bad as Novell’s. The domain boycottxandros.com is still alive and well. Xandros is a company far smaller than Novell, so there is rarely an opportunity to mention it in context and in line with the news.

”The companies violate the licence by not passing back modifications to the Linux kernel, apparently.“The Asus Eee has been making a lot of media buzz ahead of Christmas and amid the Christmas shopping season. It is one of the most sought-after gifts, according to an article from The Register (published last Thursday). We did not neglect to mention the Eee before, if only due to the fact that it uses Xandros Linux [1, 2, 3]. The Eee, along with Intel which it sports, is also somewhat a foe to One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), which is a not-for-profit project that was sabotaged mercilessly by Microsoft and Intel. That’s a long story worthy of a separate post, which would not fit the theme of this Web site.

The Eee is designed, built and assembled by Asus, but it runs Xandros (i.e. just Debian with proprietary bits and Windows-esque ‘strap-ons’). That said, it has probably already violated the GPL, which we spoke about yesterday. The latter part means that even if you wanted to replace the Microsoft-taxed Linux with a Free Linux (one whose maker did not sell out), you would not be able to make it work. The companies violate the licence by not passing back modifications to the Linux kernel, apparently.

What you won’t find on that site are sources. ASUS is bound by the GPL to make the sources for the software they’re distributing available, even if they have not modified them. (Check the license if you don’t believe me.) ASUS has posted a 1.8GB ZIP file on their website that they claim is the sources, but it’s not — it contains a few .debs (not even the versions that ship on the machine) and some kernel headers. (Perhaps they figured nobody would pull 1.8GB from their slow-as-molasses site and find out.)

I have this confirmed by a second person who tried to reproduce this quick test earlier today. According to this article, this isn’t the first case of violation.

”This whole situation is also akin to installing Linux on an H-P PC which came with Windows preloaded.“The encouraging news is that there is a new project (http://debian-eeepc.alioth.debian.org/) which is intended to have the Asus Eee converted to Debian, but without the missing bits above, there’s little chance of getting all the hardware working properly. But wait! It gets worse.

This whole situation is also akin to installing Linux on an H-P PC which came with Windows preloaded. Microsoft strives to capitalise on the channel in the same way that railroads owners abused the market early in the century (or the last one). History has taught us that companies will try to ensure that they get paid no matter whose product you buy (theirs or their competitors'). In this case, Microsoft uses FUD and even ‘bribes’ companies like Novell ($300,000,000+) to accept some sort of liability that is associated with patents, which they are unwilling to talk about (and probably never counted anyway). They try to make it a precedent and then pass on the liability to other companies such as Xandros. Whether Microsoft gets paid for each Eee laptop which is sold we do not know for sure. If that is not the case, it might change in the future (change for the worse, that is).

If people don’t stand up against this, they are simply allowing the abuse to grow and thrive (unless/until regulators break up the offending party). Again, this is just a case of looking and history and learning from it. Some of us, for one, are unwilling to be a neutral party and refuse to intervene.

The Asus Eee can also run Ubuntu by the way: Ubuntu 7.10 Gibbon swings on the Asus Eee

The Gibbonfest continues. We’ve just had an Asus Eee in to look at – the £220 laptop that everyone who’s seen it is going to buy. It’s one of the hottest things in the office this year: the combination of the insanely low price tag, the perfectly functional specification (512MB RAM, 4GB internal flash SSD, wi-fi, real keyboard, VGA display) and its extreme portability makes it an instant hit.

Also see: Asus Eee PC 4G sub-sub-notebook [as a hackable and hacker-friendly machine]

Linux buffs and geeks will love its sheer hackability. For two hundred quid, it’s a perfect impulse buy for folk who love messing around with operating systems.

Some people claimed to have already installed Mac OS X and Windows on this unit also.

Related old articles about the Xandros deal:

Xandros is only one among 8 companies that have signed a Linux patents deal (or one that alludes to Linux) with Microsoft. Xandros was a second fiddle to Novell.

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: Things for Novell to be Thankful for This Week

Posted in GNU/Linux, Marketing, Novell, Patents, SLES/SLED, Virtualisation at 1:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The American holiday translates into fewer news stories than usual. Here they are broken down and categorised by theme.

SUSE Linux Enterprise

CIO.com has run a series of articles which provide an overview of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise, Fedora Linux, and Ubuntu Linux. The articles were actually written by leaders and holder of honorable positions in the companies whose products are introduced to the reader. Novell was no exception.

SUSE Linux Enterprise: The Leading OS for Business

By Roger Levy, senior vice president and general manager, Novell

Novell’s Testing Festival

Some jolly good time totally geeking out in Bangalore, India.

Novell announced the close of its two-day ‘TestFest’ at its Bangalore premises. More than 130 testing professionals at Novell Software Development (I) Pvt Ltd participated in the ‘Festival of Testing’. The event was inaugurated by Mr. Naresh Shah, MD, Novell India Development Center.

“Festival” sounds better than a “marathon”.

Novell’s New Patents

Novell is listed among those who were awarded new patents.

• Intentional-stance characterization of a general content stream or repository. Stephen R. Carter, Spanish Fork; Delos C. Jensen, Orem. Assigned to Novell Inc., Provo. Filed Sept. 5, 2000. Patent No. 7,286,977.

• Computing environment failover in a branch office environment. Kyrt V. Nay, Mapleton; Thomas J. Brough, Highland; Scott A. Isaacson, Kamuela, Hawaii; Robert Wipfel, Draper. Assigned to Novell Inc., Provo. Filed March 20, 2003. Patent No. 7,287,083.


Novell is named a competitor to VMWare, which is slightly surprising because KVM, Oracle’s new VM, Xen, VirtualBox, Qemu and many others are not mentioned.

Currently the market leader, VMware effectively has no competition, though potential competitors include Microsoft, Novell, and Sun.

Novell does not just work with XenSource. SWSoft appears to be another company which Novell is close to.

The following article about Microsoft’s virtualisation talks about the exclusive (exlusionary) collaboration between Microsoft and Novell.

Microsoft is working with Novell on “bidirectional virtualization” between Windows and Novell’s SUSE Linux/Xen combo.

Third-party Support

Novell shifts some focus to its partners.

Novell today announced a new initiative to increase revenue and profitability for solution providers and consulting partners who specialize in selling Novell(R) technologies.

Many articles were written to explain the impact of this move. An ecosystem can be truly powerful and even vital to the existence of its core.

Here is some new software that comes to Novell’s Linux.

COMDOM Software has announced new partnerships with the two leading providers of Linux based server operating systems, Redhat and Novell. These partnerships demonstrate yet another significant advantage of deploying Linux based operating systems on the server infrastructure of large enterprises and ISPs.

We mentioned DoubleCheck and Novell last week, but here’s another (newer) press release that explains this technical relationship.

With the seamless integration of Identity Manager and Sentinel 6 from Novell, plus the automated financial controls test library from Greenlight Technologies, into the DoubleCheck GRC&T Enterprise Solution, DoubleCheck can address both the IT and Financial audit and testing needs of the Enterprise for any company in any industry.

New Customers

Novell has a new vanity case study which presents the story of PetroChina Liaohe Oilfield.

PetroChina Liaohe Oilfield implemented Novell® ZENworks® Desktop Management for more than 1,000 PCs, significantly reducing routine administration for its IT team while improving availability and security for users. The Novell solution automates the distribution of software patches and frees non-specialist staff in local offices from the burden of providing IT support.

Another story come from Watts Water Technologies, which has evidently adopted Novell in a big way.

The 8,000 employees of Watts Water Technologies make innovative products to control the efficiency, safety and quality of water within residential, commercial and institutional applications. To support its new ERP software, Watts Water Technologies chose SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop for use in a thin-client deployment.

Having posted these stories, which show that we do not turn a blind eye to success, we shall resume the boycott of Novell.

Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part I: OpenSUSE Praises and Developments

Posted in GNU/Linux, Mandriva, Novell, OpenSUSE at 12:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

First of all, happy Thanksgiving to our American readers (we forgot to say this earlier on). It’s this time of the week again when we say nice things about Novell and we shall begin with OpenSUSE.

There is a decent review of OpenSUSE 10.3 over at sys-con.

All in all, openSUSE 10.3 is highly recommended and is among the best distros released this year!

Andreas announced that the results of the YaST survey had finally been published. They are based on the feedback from approximately 10,000 users.

A PDF of the results is now available.

One of the of the members of the new OpenSUSE board has had an interview, which is part of a series.

Federico Mena-Quintero, the last member of the first openSUSE Board being interviewed on the ‘People of openSUSE’, is a full time GNOME ‘bug-fixing’ hacker, and one of the founders of the GNOME Project.

Here is another nice review of OpenSUSE. It actually comes from a site that has roots in Mandrake.

openSUSE 10.3 is a great Linux system, unless you run into problems. With perseverence and some time investment it is possible to fix those problems. After all, it is Linux.

Here is an even more enthusiastic reviewer.

All in all, a very pleasant experience. Definitely distro of the year.
Hopefully I’ll be doing a lot more KDE4 hacking now — instead of having to compile all of SVN I’ll use the RPMs that the SUSE guys are generating weekly over at the buildservice.

The Linux Foundation’s survey ought to be analysed more carefully in days to come. The raw data is out there and SJVN has had a first go at it just before Thanksgiving. It looks good for desktop Linux.

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