Links 12/06/2008: Debian Super-Success Story, GNU/Linux for Obama

Posted in News Roundup at 3:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish









Smear Campaign Against Boycott Novell (Updated)

Posted in Boycott Novell, Novell, OpenSUSE at 2:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Headline modified (was: “OpenSUSE Board Member and Colleagues/Devs Launch Smear Campaign Against Boycott Novell (Updated)”) due to uncertainty or lack of sufficiently concrete evidence

How low Novell has sunk…

Would Novell or its community resort to gaming the system in Digg, FS Daily, and Ubuntu Forums? Would new accounts be opened merely to fuel this effort and “yes men” engage in a sockpuppet act? It sure seems so. (Hi, Francis)

Congratulations, Novell and/or OpenSUSE. You have reached an all-time low. Lower than Miguel de Icaza'a threats.

Rebutting all the libel you guys have spread would not be worth the effort. So, we’ll finish off with the famous S.u.S.E. words: “Have a lot of fun!”

“Some years back, Microsoft practiced a lot of dirty tricks using online mavens to go into forums and create Web sites extolling the virtues of Windows over OS/2. They were dubbed the Microsoft Munchkins, and it was obvious who they were and what they were up to.”


Update: In the IRC channel it has just been pointed out that “some openSUSE articles have shown up on FSDaily’s queue and are being upvoted by many [of] the same people.”

What Open Source Means to Microsoft, Nokia

Posted in DRM, Fraud, GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Play by the rules or pick up those toys and go home”

Microsoft’s understanding of open source consistently mirrors its own ambitions — ones that define it to be hybrid and vendor-dependent. Here is the latest example.

It’s official: Microsoft will not accept any external code contributions to its planned Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR), which will run Microsoft’s new scripting languages for the web and Silverlight content on .NET

Microsoft will, though, continue to accept source-code contributions to its slowly emerging implementation of Ruby for .NET, IronRuby. Contributions are helping to build IronRuby and shepherd the language towards the first-full release.


The reason Microsoft decided to leave the DLR closed, despite taking contributions to the languages that will run inside it, is to protect itself from unwanted licenses and IP claims.

If you look more closely you’ll find that what Microsoft wants is free labour — moreover labour that results in developers and end-user getting dependent on proprietary and pricey programs.

“Give us code, lots of code, more code…”

“But it’s ours. We control it.”

That’s not open source (Free software aside). The story behind Microsoft's grab of Ruby with .NET is noteworthy also, particularly in light of those Silverlight-bound ‘extensions’. It’s mainly about control. Remember what Microsoft said just days ago and this quick interpretation also: “So could you ask, what is this collaborative development, this new syntagm [Microsoft's] Mr. Matusow is using all over the place? Well, buried deep towards the very end of his post,”

Sadly enough, Nokia too seems far from committed. It is adamant about enforcing software patents, DRM and other consumer-hostile mechanisms. Bruce Pernes has just responded to that latest lecture from Ari Jaaksi.

…perhaps the community has some education for Jaaksi and Nokia. Jaaksi hosted me at a Nokia dinner in 2000, he’s a nice guy and has been interested in Linux for a long time. But Nokia’s barking up the wrong tree this time, because Nokia can do everything it wants with DRM, IPR, and SIM locks without bothering the Linux developers about it – and both Nokia and the Linux developers will like it better that way. It’s surprising that Nokia doesn’t understand that at this late date.

Here is what Pamela Jones said about this: “Do what you like, but if you wish to use the code, you obey the license. If not, please write your own. Personally, I won’t use DRM’d products. I can wait. I understand Hollywood is a problem for you, but until they wake up and realize they are destroying their old business model by scrupulously avoiding any new ones, instead trying to graft the old one onto a new age, I’ll just avoid their offerings. I can live without Hollywood, I find, when it’s something this vital. I understand that puts Nokia in a tough spot, because they want to do deals with Hollywood. Go ahead and do deals, but leave me out. And please don’t use FOSS code until you are ready to play by the rules. I just won’t buy or use any Nokia phones if you break the rules. I think that’s fair.”

Why can’t these 2 companies simply abide by the rules and spirit of the licences/establishments they embrace (OSI in the former case and GPL in the latter)? Novell is no exception. Novell too happens to be among those sinners. It uses GNU/Linux to sell proprietary software (“mixed source”) and it signs software patent deals.

Gates on SUSE

Novell’s SUSE “Infuriatingly Complicated, Cranky Implementation of Linux”

Posted in GNU/Linux, HP, Novell, OpenSUSE at 1:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The release of OpenSUSE 11.0 is approaching. We gently remind readers that despite all the pretty colours in the Qt-based installer and the flexibility complexity of YaST, the distribution hasn’t sufficient added value to work better than counterparts, many of which are free and decent.

Here is what the Washington Post has just had to say about Novell’s SUSE:

Novell’s infuriatingly complicated, cranky implementation of Linux is almost guaranteed to send a beginner reeling in horror, or at least distaste.

YaST updateThe opinion about Vista isn’t particularly flattering either, but the author has, on numerous times in the past couple of years, expressed satisfaction with Ubuntu GNU/Linux.

You don’t need SUSE. Your peers, colleagues, family and friends probably do not need it either. I happen to keep track of OpenSUSE on a daily basis, so this is not an impulsive and spontaneous rant. SUSE is not the market leader. It lost momentum after the deal with Microsoft.

Links 12/06/2008: Migrations to GNU/Linux in Government, Another Linux Sub-notebook, YDL Unleashes Quad-core PC

Posted in News Roundup at 3:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

  • SITA braves open source

    SITA has chosen Ubuntu for its desktop operating environment. Running on top of this will be open office, as well as several other FOSS applications, aimed at improving SITA’s collaborative and engagement environments.

  • Brazil explores SA open source push

    Brazilian ICT companies are keen to capitalise on the South African government’s latest e-government push.

  • Tirupur Association Trains Partners on Open Source

    Tirupur IT Association (TITA) recently conducted a two-day training programming on Linux desktop and server administration for dealers in Tirupur.

  • Quad-core PowerPC workstation runs Linux

    Terra Soft Solutions announced a development workstation billed as the heir to the Apple PowerMac G5 Quad, except more open. The Yellow Dog Linux (YDL) PowerStation offers four PowerPC cores clocked at 2.5GHz, up to 32GB RAM, and four bays for serially attached SCSI (SAS) drives.

  • CTL’s Sub-$400 Mini-Notebook For Business Debuts

    Pricing for the IL1, which will be available by the end of the month, is $389 for the Windows version and $349 for the Linux model. The device comes with a one-year warranty.

  • Review: Asus Eee 900

    The Linux version of the Asus Eee PC 900, tested here, is probably the better option for customers who only want to use the machines for what they are best at – surfing the web, e-mail and word processing.

  • Sugar Labs’ Walter Bender on the Sweetness of Collaborative Learning

    He has founded Sugar Labs, a foundation that seeks to advance development of Sugar, the user interface originally designed for OLPC.

  • Are Cisco and Red Hat Getting Cozy?

    Microsoft spent the 1990s ignoring and dismissing competitive threats from Linux. Apparently, Cisco is determined to avoid that mistake in the modern age of Web 2.0 and open applications.

  • Mandriva Flash 2008 Spring released


  • The Power of Plasma theming – a gallery of 23 themes

    One of the most often mentioned concerns at the KDE booth at LinuxTag was the question if Plasma would force the user to have a black panel. While we did have a second machine showing another theme to resolve all doubts it showed that not all users now yet the power of Plasma theming.

  • KDE Commit Digest – Issue 110 – 11th May 2008

    A wordprocessor-like ruler for repositioning and resizing the Plasma panel. Scripting support re-enabled in KRunner. More developments in the NetworkManager Plasma applet. Initial work to allow closer interaction of Plasma with KNotify’s popups. Work on theming, Magnatune membership support, and the ClassicView in Amarok 2.0.

  • French KDE Day Conference Videos Available

    To celebrate the release of KDE 4, the KDE French contributors and the Toulibre LUG organised a two-day event on January 25th and 26th 2008 in Toulouse, France.





IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 11th, 2008

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Read the rest of this entry »

Software Patents Roundup and What Novell Should Have Done

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 2:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Yesterday we just passed on the news about Red Hat's settlement. We did this as quickly as possible without expressing a spontaneous opinion or studying the situation. A responsible lawyer’s take was bound to be more valued than most.

It seems as though Red Hat did the right thing given the tough situation it was in. Here is what Eben Moglen said:

“Red Hat’s settlement of outstanding patent litigation on terms that provide additional protection to other members of the community upstream and downstream from Red Hat is a positive contribution to the resources for community patent defense. We would hope to see more settlements of this kind–in which parties secure more than their own particular legal advantage in relation to the third-party patent risk of the whole FOSS community–when commercial redistributors of FOSS choose to settle patent litigation. SFLC welcomes Red Hat’s efforts on the community’s behalf.”

Noteworthy is also the comment “Novell needed this lesson”.

This is what the Novell/Microsoft secret pact should have been – instead of throwing the rest of the open source community under the bus, Novell should have pushed for broader coverage and been open about it all. Look and learn Novell, don’t be so slimy and see how the a real leader operates.

In light of this, there is also the obligatory rant about the sordid mess that is the Intellectual Monopoly system.

This is all wrong.

This is all in the line of the most idiotic pattern of the U.S. judicial system.

Someone sues you. Instead of fighting (if you believe you’re right) and go to the stage where a judge reaches a verdict, what is the common practice in business?

Financial settlements.

Bureaucracy is indeed quite an issue here the the legal system seems unlikely to seek remedies. [via Digital Majority]

Patents for All: The System That Could Not Contain Itself

The myth of an all-seeing, all-knowing Congress capable of riding to the rescue is a well-used excuse for keeping bad decisions on the books. But the question of just what is patentable is far too loaded and complex for Congress to handle — especially given all the other problems the patent system faces and the fact that even modest patent reform legislation has stalled.

Since Microsoft loves to paints itself “a victim” of the patent system. it’s worth having a look at this one. Microsoft is clearly among those that abuse the system in the most shameless of ways.

Last Thursday, Microsoft filed patent application 2008/134,132, which describes a method of “Developing Software Components Based on Brain Lateralization.” At first glance, this sounds quite impressive; direct neural programming interfaces, after all, is the stuff science fiction is made of. Closer examination, however, indicates that our dreams of writing C++ code without that pesky keyboard getting in the way remain elusive. Fancy wording or not, Microsoft is essentially attempting to patent something far more basic: the software Quality Assurance (Q&A) process.

As summarised by Digital Majority: “Read that over, and you’ll notice it mentions neither the brain nor any sort of organizational/methodological principle that could be described as brain-like.” This type of loophole is also exploited by Microsoft in order to pass software patents in countries where they are not legal. Words like “device” or “apparatus” are sometimes used to add a ‘hard’ aspect to an ‘invention’ that does not require it.

USPTOThe Intellectual Monopolies System seems unfair and broken beyond repair. It is created and maintained by a digital minority that is wealthy enough to afford this and in turn gets nurtured by the very same monopoly it shelters and legalises.

Related to this, some time ago we wrote about ACTA [1, 2], which is — plainly speaking — the output of a conspiracy of Intellectual Monopoly (IPR) owners seeking to enforce claimed rights at all costs, even it the impact is high enough to misplace and abuse basic human rights. There is an update on this. [via Glyn Moody]

A small group of countries opposing the inclusion of intellectual property-related issues in World Trade Organization negotiations has issued their response to an earlier “non-paper” that had called for IP issues to be integrated with the upcoming horizontal, or all-inclusive, negotiations at the WTO.


The paper is referring to a 26 May proposal, in the form of another “non-paper” seeking to ensure that three major IP issues are on the table for the horizontal trade talks.

None of this is up for public negotiation or scrutiny, which yet again proves that laws covering these issues are passed by few secretive elites. How can the software patent epidemic be cured if special passes are needed? Watch the older quote below and recall ACT‘s role in pushing for software patents in Europe.

“A report published by an EU task force on intellectual property claims that small businesses benefit from a patent system, despite lacking almost any participation by the small business community. Instead, the report, titled IPR (intellectual property rights) for competitiveness and innovation, was written up almost entirely by large corporations and the patent industry. [...] The report does note objections from the likes of patentfrei.de and Sun Microsystems, which were recorded at some length in the report. But this does not appear to have impacted the conclusion of the report in any way [...] Jean-Pierre Laisne, of ObjectWeb, an open source software community, said that he found the report useless: participants were told that all their contributions would be recorded but at the end only those of Business Software Alliance and Microsoft were used.”

Big businesses boast of patent benefits, for small businesses

ODF for Canadian Library Association, More Application Support for ODF

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 2:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A question of momentum

One library which is unlikely to ever change its ways is the British Library [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] (even the Library of Congress [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11), but the Canadian Library Association seems to have just made the right choice and picked ODF. [via Bob Sutor]

Whereas the preservation of and long-term access to government information are vital in a democratic society;

And whereas in order for libraries to fulfill their role of preserving and providing access to information, it is essential that governments and other public bodies take steps to ensure that future generations can access information created today;

And whereas open, interoperable, vendor-neutral file format standards play a key role in ensuring preservation and future access;

And whereas the OpenDocument Format (ODF) is such a standard;

A careful look at this short new article seems to also reveal another case of ODF support. This time it’s from Ruport.

You can even produce PDF and OpenDocument files, making it possible for the reports to be sent via e-mail and opened by non-programmers.

ODF and PDF both seem acceptable as formats for dynamic and static text, respectively. Microsoft will undoubtedly try to replace ODF with its own broken OOXML, and also to replace PDF with XPS, which is can control, ‘extend’, and exploit to leave competitors behind — always to be playing in catch-up mode.

OOXML protests in India
From the Campaign for Document Freedom

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