Links 24/03/2009: Mozilla Promotes OpenGL, Oracle-Red Hat Rumours

Posted in News Roundup at 8:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • AtMail Announces ArchiveVault, a Secure, Searchable Email Archive Appliance

    AtMail, a leading provider of easy-to-use, Linux-based email management appliances and software, today announced the availability of ArchiveVault, a new “plug-n-play,” email archival system available in a compact network appliance. ArchiveVault automatically indexes and archives all emails and attachments in a user-friendly Web-based interface, simplifying email management, enhancing user productivity and helping organizations meet growing compliance regulations related to email storage.

  • gCalCron Automates Your Linux System with Google Calendar

    Linux only: gcalcron allows you to issue terminal commands to a computer through Google Calendar. It’s more beginner-friendly than editing cron jobs or remote shell work , and great for remote download control.

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 38

    The weekly newsletter for Linux users.

  • Leostream connection broker technology still pushing forward

    This latest partnership will help further extend the company’s support into the Linux world. Doing so could provide them with a nice niche for the company, pushing them further into a Linux world that may grow with added KVM support, currently has less competition, and at the moment isn’t being dominated by VMware.

  • Mobile Broadband On Linux To Improve With ModemManager

    With NetworkManager 0.7, which can be found in most modern Linux distributions already, there is “out of the box” support for many mobile broadband / cellular cards in this excellent network management utility. Most SM, GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, HDSPA, HSUPA, and EVDO devices can then provide an Internet connection to a Linux host usually with the click of a menu item from the NetworkManager plug-in. However, not all mobile broadband devices play well with Linux right now.

  • First-Person Shooter Games for Linux III: Urban Terror

    Developed by Frozen Sand, the team behind it, Urban Terror was initially developed as a Quake 3 mod, but the game offers now a complete package and can be run without the need of Quake 3 binaries. The last version, UrT 4.1, comes with a ZIP package for Linux, of about 700 MB, and you only need to uncompress it, make the ioUrbanTerror.i386 binary executable and run it.

  • Kernel Space

    • ATI 880G info surfaces in Linux driver

      IN AN IRONIC twist, five new ATI integrated graphics parts have surfaced in a Linux driver of all places. The successor to the 780G is based on the RS880 chip.

      The sharp eyes at Phoronix noticed it in the latest driver commit, and there will be not just one but five upcoming parts.

    • Radeon Driver Rewrite Only Has A Few Things Left

      David Airlie shares on his blog that he has been working on getting the rewritten ATI driver branch into a useful state and recently has been focusing on the FBO support under a DRI2 and kernel mode-setting enabled environment. Today he has reached a point where the Frame Buffer Object support has been merged into the radeon-rewrite branch.

    • Linux 2.6.29

      It’s out there now, or at least in the process of getting mirrored out.

      The most obvious change is the (temporary) change of logo to Tuz, the Tasmanian Devil. But there’s a number of driver updates and some m68k header updates (fixing headers_install after the merge of non-MMU/MMU) that end up being pretty noticeable in the diffs.

      The shortlog (from -rc8, obviously – the full logs from 2.6.28 are too big to even contemplate attaching here) is appended, and most of the non-logo changes really shouldn’t be all that noticeable to most people. Nothing really exciting, although I admit to fleetingly considering another -rc series just because the changes are bigger than I would have wished for this late in the game. But there was little point in holding off the real release any longer, I feel.

    • Gallium3D: TGSI IR, OpenCL, LLVM Work Ahead

      FreeDesktop.org hacker Zack Rusin has provided an update on his blog about some of his recent activities when it comes to Gallium3D.

    • Linux 2.6.29 Kernel Released; Hello KMS and Btrfs!

      With much anticipation, the Linux 2.6.29 kernel was released just moments ago by Linus Torvalds. Besides introducing an interim logo to stand-in for Tux, the Linux 2.6.29 kernel most notably introduces support for kernel mode-setting on Intel hardware. Also in the graphics realm are a few updates to the Graphics Execution Manager and DRM updates for various pieces of hardware.

    • Benchmarking The Linux 2.6.24 Through 2.6.29 Kernels

      With the release yesterday of the Linux 2.6.29 kernel, we have set out to explore how the desktop performance has evolved over the past six major kernel releases. On a few occasions in the past we have provided kernel benchmarks (at one point even benchmarking 12 kernels), but this time around we have included nearly two dozen benchmarks using the Phoronix Test Suite. How has the Linux performance evolved since the release of the Linux 2.6.24 kernel back in early 2008? Well, simply put, the Linux 2.6.29 kernel in a few areas does pack some serious performance benefits.

  • Distributions

    • Interview with Robert Shingledecker, creator of Tiny Core Linux

      You would be hard pressed to find someone who had never heard of Damn Small Linux (DSL), the tiny Linux distribution which aims for a nearly complete desktop at under 50 MB. It’s not the only mini distro, however. This week we interview Robert Shingledecker, former DSL developer and now founder of the new kid on the block – Tiny Core Linux. This distro is just 10 MB small and, as the name suggests, it boots to a core graphical environment. The possibilities don’t end there, as Robert explains.

    • Red Hat

      • Red Hat shares up on speculation of Oracle deal

        Investors have long speculated that software giant Oracle would one day buy Red Hat, which sells subscriptions to maintain services for its version of the open-source Linux operating system.

        Jefferies & Co analyst Katherine Egbert said the speculation surged on Monday, but that she believed the timing was not right for a deal.

        “Oracle does not have a history of purchasing still-fast-growing companies,” she said in a note to investors.

    • Ubuntu

      • Canonical Announces Ubuntu Server Training Course

        The success of the Ubuntu Training Program, combined with the growing popularity of Ubuntu Server Edition, led Canonical to announce a new course that exclusively focuses on the server edition. Called “Deploying Ubuntu in the Enterprise Environment,” the training program lasts five days and addresses intermediate-to-advanced enterprise system administrators working with Ubuntu desktops and servers.

      • Everything You Need to Know About Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope)

        The newest version of Ubuntu (9.04, codenamed “Jaunty Jackalope”) is set to be released on April 23, 2009. While there are some noticeable differences, much of the improvement in 9.10 can be found under the hood.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Free Culture Showcase Winners!

        Ladies and Gents, I am pleased to announce the results of the Ubuntu 9.04 Ubuntu Free Culture Showcase. This is the competition in which creative types can submit their work for inclusion in the Examples/ folder of the next edition of Ubuntu. In this competition we expanded the Audio and Video categories to also include a Graphic/Photo category too. We netted a fantastic range of entries and many great submissions!

      • OpenGEU 8.10 ScreenShots

        OpenGEU 8.10….. All I can say is WOW, what a A beautiful Desktop! I mean I never realized how beautiful Enlightenment really is. And the way you can download the preconfigured themes. You also have all the great features of Ubuntu just with the added beauty of Enlightenment as well as a cool Enlightenment Manager. Enjoy the screenshots below!!!

      • Taking your first Linux baby steps

        In the screenshot below you can see the Nautilus file manager. If you look closely you can see that by right-clicking on a file, you will get a menu chocked full of options and file operations. Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, and Move to Trash is there of course, but also notice some of the more advanced operations such as Uploading to server, Sending as an email, Setting as a Wallpaper, or Opening with another application. All this without ever touching the commandline.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • A Thin Slab of Book

      Not very bigThe Kindle is one of those devices that tends to elicit one of two responses: “waste of money” or “must have it now.” For quite awhile, I had the first reaction. Then, after what one might call a “context shift,” I found myself squarely embracing the second.


      No device has yet to offer the full mix that I’m looking for — but increasingly, it seems like the pieces are all coming together.

    • Linux STB design tapped in Russia

      Belarus-based “full-service” device design startup Promwad announced a design win for a Linux-based DVB-T set-top box (STB) destined for a Russian manufacturer of TV antennas. The STB design will be built around an ST Microelectronics (ST) STi5205 system-on-chip (SoC) clocked to 266MHz, says Promwad.

    • Linux support available for Altera’s Nios II embedded processor

      Altera Corporation and Wind River have jointly announced the availability of Linux support for Altera’s Nios II embedded processor. Embedded developers deploying products based on the Nios II processor can use this Linux solution across Altera’s entire portfolio of FPGAs and HardCopy ASICs.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • The Sub-$200 Netbook: A War That Windows Can’t Win

        Some pundits claim that Linux has already lost the netbook war against Windows. From where I sit, however, the real battle is just heating up.

        A few weeks ago, I discussed Freescale’s plans to launch a new, low-power processor architecture for use in netbooks. These systems will be designed to retail for less than $200 and will run several Linux-based operating systems, including Ubuntu Linux and Google Android.

      • Imagining the end of high-cost computing?

        Cloud computing: Not everything will reside in the cloud but Web-based computing increasingly dominates what we do in front of the terminal. If all you need is a good data connection, there’s less rationale for paying top dollar to buy a fancy computer. You don’t need a top of the line machine to access YouTube.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Where are the Alpha *Female* Hackers?

    Not surprisingly, my first thought was: who have we got in the world of free software? There are certainly some big names like Mitchell Baker, Chief Lizard Wrangler of Mozilla and Stormy Peters, Executive Director of the GNOME Foundation

  • Calibre: A Good, Free Open Source eBook App

    You’ll find a list of Calibre’s features here, and there is a User Manual, and a Tips and Tricks collection. You can access ebooks with it from your browser via a View button, or sync your books to ebook reader devices and convert them to ePub, MOBI, or LRF formats. You can also fetch metadata with it, for book cover art, summaries of the content in books, etc.

  • Servers

    • Open source and SaaS offerings rethink the database

      Thrift, a tool that Facebook.com built and donated to the Apache software project, isn’t really a database. In fact, it’s more of a pre-compiler that converts a file describing the data structures into a pile of code in your choice of languages. This code may need some extra libraries (Java comes with some methods that serialize the data to an output stream), but it’s ready to include with your own code. The project includes formatters for many of the major languages (including C, Perl, Java, PHP, and Python), and it aims to honor the various idioms used by the programmers familiar with a language. You give it the schema and it does the rest.

    • Pentaho and Amazon.com deliver BI to the cloud

      Open-source business intelligence application Pentaho is joining the roster of applications available via Amazon.com Inc.’s EC2 Web hosting service.

  • Web

    • Villiers High School hits e-learning goals with open source Moodle solution

      Meeting the Government’s latest eLearning targets, students and teachers at Villiers High School, Middlesex now have access to an engaging, interactive online learning environment that provides anytime, anywhere learning.

      Choosing to tailor the free open source learning platform Moodle with the help of Moodle Partner Synergy Learning, the school is benefiting from technology tailored to the specific needs of its staff and students at the fraction of the cost of an off-the-shelf solution.

    • Open Source Drives Tata Nano Website!

      Even before Tata’s Nano starts creating traffic jams on Indian roads, as claimed by many critics, Nano has given first hint of massive traffic it generated towards its website. The website would go off and on and you will be greeted by a page that says: “Our website is experiencing heavy traffic. Please try again a little later. Sorry for the inconvenience.” The surge of traffic was created by the much-awaited availability of the People’s Car on Indian roads.

    • bringing accelerated 3D to the web

      The proposed spec (found in one of vlad’s post on 3D Canvas) is a pretty light wrapper on top of OpenGL ES 2.0, with some changes to support some JavaScript pleasantries. OpenGL ES is a decent starting point, which is why we picked it. OpenGL is supported as part of every major operating system and in it’s being picked up as a standard on mobile devices as well. Compared to the full OpenGL spec, the ES variant is a smaller subset that reflects the reality of what’s being used on the ground and most hardware and software vendors have actually been re-tooling to support OpenGL ES with support for older versions of full OpenGL emulated on top of OpenGL ES. Mixed with the fact that there’s a decent amount of knowledge out there in the industry of how to use OpenGL, we think that this smooths the integration between the current set of OpenGL users and larger web developer community.

  • Business

    • CIO Open Source Corner – The Top 5 FUD Myths used against Open Source

      Myth: There is no support. Do you want to rely on forums.
      Fact: Commercial open source offers commercial Service Level Agreements

      Myth: It costs more really.
      Reality: Supported open source is typically a tenth of the cost of traditional enterprise software. See my previous post on cost.

    • Screen Pages Launches Next Generation, Open Source E-Commerce Service Using Magento

      The Magento e-commerce platform, developed by California-based Varien, is a feature-rich e-commerce platform built on open-source technology that provides online retailers with unprecedented flexibility and control over the look, content and functionality of their online shops. It has a modular architecture, industry-leading features and powerful marketing and merchandising tools which have quickly made Magento the fastest growing e-commerce platform on the market.

  • Healthcare

    • Fred Trotter On Preventing An Anti-FOSS Policy In Health IT

      I can tell you that in Health IT, FOSS is the future. Imagine a world where there is GNU/Linux, but no Microsoft Windows. That is what is coming for Health IT. There has been an utter market failure by proprietary EHR vendors over the last 30 years. Part of that is the fault of the Clinical community, they have been very resistant to computerization. But most of the blame is from the proprietary lock-in tactics used by the majority of the HIMSS vendors.

    • Open source to meet with CCHIT at HIMSS

      Since CCHIT is the organization that presently certifies solutions, and it locks out open source, Trotter fears open source is being locked out of the health care market.

  • Events

  • Funding

    • Go Open, Obama and Save Us Some Money!

      The Obama campaign web site that revolutionized online politics was created with web tools that are not owned by any company. They are open source. The new administration web sites — www.whitehouse.gov, and www.recovery.gov — are also crafted with open, free tools.

      Obama should direct the federal government to use hosted and free tools across all branches of government. This will save the government a LOT of money and make it much easier to share this info on the web.

      Instead of using Microsoft Office, if government documents were created in Openoffice.org, Google Docs (which is not open source, but is free) or other hosted and open sites, we could all get access right away to important government information. Microsoft Office no longer makes sense in a world that is sharing information on the web rather than in print.

    • Assess open source products’ solvency for your client’s sake

      In November 2006, The 451 Group published a survey regarding the use of open source software to save money. What the survey revealed is interesting: As you might imagine, cost is the main motivation for turning to open source. However, cost isn’t always the primary benefit. Many IT professionals found that reduced dependency on vendors and flexibility were just as important as the money they saved. The continuing success of open source products was easy to predict.

  • Sun

    • Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz on What’s Next for Open Source

      Which is all to say, I’m not worried about the role information technology will play in the economy, nor am I worried about the relevance of open source. In the technology world, free and open is the new black. So while we all have to acknowledge, and will clearly feel the challenges of today, I cannot imagine a better time for us to come together to talk about tomorrow. I imagine that most of you attending the Open Source Business Conference share my view – I’m not worried about the future; I’m focused on delivery of it.

    • Back up OpenOffice.org Documents on Amazon S3

      When it comes to cheap and secure off-site backup and storage, few services can beat Amazon S3. And if you want to easily back up your OpenOffice.org documents on Amazon S3, you can do so using a simple OpenOffice.org Basic macro and the aws Perl scripts

    • Supercomputer lends its muscle to weather forecasters

      The bureau, with at least 1000 Sun x86 Intel-based server nodes, will be the first major weather forecasting site in the world to use an open-source software stack running on a 64-bit Linux operating system.

  • Government

    • Ambivalence about free software in Latin America

      That should be tempered with some other facts: LibrePlanet was interested enough to give some time to the Latin American free software movement in their Saturday sessions and Richard Stallman definitely “gets it” and he speaks Spanish and has worked extensively in Latin America to encourage the movement there.

      However, this isn’t an opinion I have in isolation. The people participating in the Latin American free software movement every day have voiced this complaint to me and with the connections built between NXS and free software activists in Latin America, we’ve conspired in various ways to make the incredible advances in free software in Latin America more visible to the North American/European free software movement.

  • Licensing

    • And RMS Spake, and it Was Good

      And it’s also a red-letter day when he does, as with his latest missive: “The Javascript Trap”.


      He comes up with some interesting solutions:

      we need to change free browsers to support freedom for users of pages with Javascript. First of all, browsers should be able to tell the user about nontrivial non-free Javascript programs, rather than running them. Perhaps NoScript could be adapted to do this.

      Browser users also need a convenient facility to specify Javascript code to use instead of the Javascript in a certain page.

      RMS: where would we be without him?

    • Rhomobile Launches Rhodes Open Source Smartphone Application Development Framework

      Rhomobile offers dual licensing under GPLv3 for open source apps and commercial licensing options for enterprises and ISVs.

  • Mail/Collaboration

    • Open-Xchange to Demo Social Media Platform

      The social media platform comes at an opportune time, as Facebook users find themselves binded by legalities involving data ownership and communities like Google’s OpenSocial compete to create open access to data.

    • Open Source Groupware Hits Prime Time

      Scalable OpenGroupware.org 1.0 may not sound like a sexy name, but its release this week bears checking out all the same. Based on the OpenGroupware.org standards, “SOGo,” as it’s called, has been years in the making and could give businesses a much lower cost (i.e. free) way to link employees’ calendaring, email and collaboration. As SOGo developers write, “Your users can either use a web browser, Mozilla Thunderbird, Apple iCal, or a mobile device to access the same information.”

    • 5 Open-source Programs that Give You a Better Outlook on Life


      Kontact is a well-respected Linux email and personal information application, and a Windows version is being worked on as we speak. You can download it today through the KDE on Windows project, but it is not yet ready for the average user. Keep your eye on it for the future.

      Kontact is actually a collection of integrated yet individual applications. This is very handy, since you can open just the calendar without having to open the entire suite.

  • Open (But No Source Code)

    • Take that to the Open Source bank

      Think open source and you might think many things, but I doubt very much that banking will be towards the top of the list or even on the radar for that matter. Yet the concept of a hacker bank to fund open source projects is exactly what has come out of discussions between a couple of open source hardware nuts, Justin Huynh and Matt Stack, who have now started the Open Source Hardware Central Bank.


      The Open Source Hardware Central Bank has come about due to the difficulties of getting traditional lenders, even those who ‘get’ the open source software movement to understand how open source can translate to hardware. Matt Stack explains it as open source software being made with time whereas hardware needs both time and money. According to Matt, while the principles of an open source software time economy translate easily to an open source hardware one, the same is not true of the OSHW money economy. “Just try to answer any of these questions” Matt suggests “who makes money from it, who funds it, why do they fund it, and who’s helping to make it sustainable for the community?”

    • Update on OA in India

      India’s premier publicly-funded research organization is pushing to make all research published at its institutions open access. But its pleas are falling on deaf ears, critics say, as individual laboratories have been slow to take up the charge.

    • Flat World Knowledge Gets $8 Million for Open-source Textbooks

      Flat World Knowledge, a provider of commercial, open-source college textbooks, announced on Tuesday that it has closed an $8 million first round of funding.

    • Open-Source Textbook Firm Flat World Knowledge Gets $8 Million
    • Mod That Table: High-End Furniture Goes Open Source

      Your next piece of designer furniture could cost less than an Ikea chair—as long as you’re willing to make it yourself. Taking a cue from the Linux community and file-sharing services, Berlin-based design guru Ronen Kadushin has started a furniture free-for-all he calls Open Design. It allows crafty consumers to download the instructions, photos, and AutoCAD files needed to knock off his work.

    • Open Revolution

      In software development, almost everyone recognizes the power of sharing, verifying, reusing, and improving source code. At the same time, developing software takes time, which means that it’s expensive. It’s not obvious that you can give people the right to see, modify, and redistribute your source code without torpedoing your business model.

  • Programming

    • Eclipse to unwrap Swordfish in early April

      Eclipse’s jump into runtime puts the foundation into more direct competition with companies like Oracle, IBM and Microsoft, as well as a multitude of smaller providers. Eclipse already shook up the development tools market by offering a free and open source toolset — can Eclipse pull off the same with SOA?

    • Eclipse Shines a Light on the IDE’s Future

      The open source Eclipse Foundation has its eye on making its integrated development environment (IDE) ready for the future, with new projects designed to better adapt to cloud-based architectures and to stake a claim in runtime frameworks.

    • Flipping burgers or writing code?

      For students the world over, summertime marks the end of exams and a few months away from the books, tutorials, and professors. Harsh reality though soon comes knocking in the shape of economic reality and it also usually means, for most, the need to find a summer job.


  • Conroy’s Blacklist is Getting Blacker

    It had to happen; the ACMA is getting so irritated by the endless leaks of the Internet Blacklist that WikiLeaks servers are starting to appear in the list.

  • Apple Aggressively Pursues ‘Pod’ Trademarks

    “Apple’s got a good point about such flagrant use of the syllable ‘pod,’” commented Max Beta. “Why, just last week I was tricked into going into the office of someone who claimed to be some kind of ‘doctor.’ The guy didn’t know anything about music or iPods®, and he had some kind of weird foot fetish. You shouldn’t be able to call yourself a podiatrist unless you are associated with Apple in some way!”

    Apple must file a response to Sector Labs by April 1, and then Sector Labs will have the opportunity to respond as well.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • China bans YouTube again

      The Chinese government has again blocked access to YouTube just over a year after it shut off access to the site for hosting footage of the Tibet protests.

      China’s firewall allows sporadic access to services like YouTube, but access was shut off on Monday. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the Chinese government was not afraid of the internet – China has more people online than any other nation.

    • Facebook encourages ISP customer protests over Phorm

      Facebook’s privacy chief today urged customers of BT, Carphone Warehouse and Virgin Media who are unhappy about their ISP’s plans to work with Phorm in monitoring and profiling web use to “make their feelings known”.

      Chris Kelly was speaking at the e-Crime Congress in London this morning. Asked for a response to the open letter Facebook received this week from the Open Rights Group, he declined to say whether the firm would insist its traffic is not intercepted.

  • Copyrights

    • Three strikes too expensive for UK record labels?

      Musicweek just published an article about the deliberations on funding a Digital Rights Agency in the UK that’s full of inside baseball … but read between the lines, and you’ll find more proof that the whole three strikes idea may sound great on paper (to rights holders, anyway), but it’s really tough to implement.

    • Live Performance, Copyright, and the Future of the Music Business

      This article considers whether the emergence of business models based on free digital delivery of music and other content have rendered copyright protection less necessary or justifiable. Falling production and distribution costs have led many scholars and popular commentators to conclude that creators can and should embrace free distribution models for copyrighted works. In particular, many contend that the recording industry can survive and prosper by producing and freely distributing recordings as a form of advertising for the concert business. Some have further concluded that copyright law may need to change to reflect this new reality.

    • Live Concerts Can’t Support The Existing Recording Industry… But Did Anyone Ever Say They Would?
    • While Rome burns, Obama Administration spends time and money defending RIAA

      The Obama Administration’s Department of Justice (DOJ) has intervened on behalf of the RIAA in the file sharing case Sony BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum.

      In a 39-page brief, the DOJ argues that a United States Supreme Court decision from 1919 relating to damages in a case involving overpriced railway tickets, and a 2007 Circuit Court decision which held that the 1919 decision, should be used in determining damages in the case.

    • Obama administration sides with RIAA in P2P suit

      The Obama administration has sided with the recording industry in a copyright lawsuit against an alleged peer-to-peer pirate, a move that echoes arguments previously made by the Bush administration.

    • Obama Sides With RIAA, Supports $150,000 Fine per Music Track
    • U.S. Sides with RIAA in Filesharing Case
    • Say it ain’t so: Justice Department Run by Former Content Industry Lawyers Sides with Content Industry

      Copyright law currently provides copyright plaintiffs with two options. The first option is to prove how much damage the individual has caused and force the individual to pay that back in damages. The second option is to invoke statutory damages. With statutory damages, copyright owners do not have to prove any actual damages. Instead, they can simply demand that the court award them an amount specified in the statute.

    • Security Researchers Shouldn’t Face DMCA Liability While Protecting Users From Faulty DRM

      Longtime Techdirt readers may remember Alex Halderman, who conducted influential research into the problems created by CD-based DRM during his time as a grad student here at Princeton. He’s now a professor at the University of Michigan, and he’s working on a new project: seeking a DMCA exemption for security research related to defective DRM schemes that endanger computer security. We’ve seen in the past that DRM schemes can open up security vulnerabilities in users’ computers, and Halderman argues that the public would benefit if security researchers could examine DRM schemes without being threatened with litigation under the DMCA for doing so.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Nat Friedman 01 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

The Mono Trap

Posted in GPL, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SLES/SLED at 9:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How Mono can interfere with the GNU GPL, along with freedoms the GPL protects

A few days ago, Richard Stallman wrote about “the JavaScript trap,” but what about Mono?

Let us look at Mono licensing again. According to the Mono Web site:

We use three open source licenses:

* The C# compiler is dual-licensed under the MIT/X11 license and the GNU General Public License (http://www.opensource.org/licenses/gpl-license.html) (GPL).

* The tools are released under the terms of the GNU General Public License (http://www.opensource.org/licenses/gpl-license.html) (GPL).

* The runtime libraries are under the GNU Library GPL 2.0 (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/library.html#TOC1) (LGPL 2.0).

* The class libraries are released under the terms of the MIT X11 (http://www.opensource.org/licenses/mit-license.html) license.

One reader asks, “can I download the full Mono source code and under what license?”

Since Novell controls development, what would be the point? And moreover, as this reader indicates, “the point is, if Mono isn’t GPL then neither can the apps. [...] Can I recompile that [Mono-based] app without Mono?”

It is worth remembering what Novell achieves with SUSE.

Mono, ECMA, Microsoft

Does the European Commission Harbour a Destruction of Free/Open Source Software Workgroup?

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Access to already-leaked documents is denied, despite clear rules that make it an obligation

HAVING WITNESSED some serious injustices where Microsoft's American lobbyists took over Europe and subverted the continent's assessment of Free software, we decided to respond. Recall “Innovation Day” and the Wiki-leaked document that eventually reached Matt Asay at CNET. Since it had become public knowledge that all of this was happening, it was only reasonable to ask for the full details to be revealed. So we embarked on little journey that we shall describe hereon.

The first step was a request for the documents. These should be in the public record, even without getting leaked out. It is, after all, the “free open source” component of the European Software Strategy.

After a long look and some inquiries, we managed to get hold of E-mail addresses from which to request the documents simultaneously, not independently as that would lead to duplication of effort. We sent this to two of the (potentially) responsible people, only one of whom replied, which makes perfect sense.

Here is the first communication:

Request for the Contributions of ACT to European Commission Report


I have just read http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10193433-16.html with great concern. This suggests that a Microsoft lobbyist, J Zuck, is tilting a report on open source software against its whole raison detre? Since I can only find this document in Wikileaks (and it is therefore out there already), would it please be possible for me to receive a copy of Zuck’s edits? I have always mailed Zuck and he confirmed to me that he is on this panel.

Could you please send me confirmation that you have received this request and preferably mail me the edits too? This should be an open process

I appreciate your time.

We received a response shortly afterwards:

Dear Mr. Schestowitz,

All request from the press should be directed towards the spokespersons of the relevant area.

We replied:

Hi [anonymised],

Thank you for responding.

Who is the spokesperson in this case? I could find no information about it, but I do know about my entitlement to receive this information:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32001R1049:EN:HTML (Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents)

One of our involved readers responded with “An outrage I say. An absolute outrage! Europe to the Europeans!”

The response we received next is the following:

Dear Mr. Schestowitz,

The document you are referring to is not a European Commission document, but a document that are made by Zuck and many others from industry.

All the European Commission’ spokespersons are listed here: http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/communication/contact_en.htm

This page contains the names of about 100 people. We are not able to see who to speak to, having already identified the people who are adequate for this type of communication. So they pushed us away, which was not terribly useful.

Next, we wanted to get an official answer from the Spokesman. We were also advised to prepare a list of E-mail addresses of MEPs of the LIBE committee who are responsible for the pending access to documents directive. We accumulated this information and sent another polite request similar to the one above, namely:

I have just read http://news.cnet.com/8301-13505_3-10193433-16.html with great concern. This suggests that a Microsoft lobbyist, J Zuck, is tilting a report on open source software against its whole raison detre? Since I can only find this document in Wikileaks (and it is therefore out there already), would it please be possible for me to receive a copy of Zuck’s edits? I have always mailed Zuck and he confirmed to me that he is on this panel.

Could you please send me confirmation that you have received this request and preferably mail me the edits too? This should be an open process[1].

I appreciate your time.

[1] http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32001R1049:EN:HTML (Regulation (EC) No 1049/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2001 regarding public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents)


3 days have passed and we received no response from this third person. We omit names to protect their privacy.

Going back to the more responsive correspondent, getting a reply is one thing, but according to the legal base, we must make a “confirmatory application”, so we did. Commission officials are obliged to help us and it is irrelevant who wrote it. What counts is that the Commission is in possession of the document. If they say it is a document of “the industry”, then they are obliged to consult the third party if they are in possession of it. To quote the legal base:

(a) “document” shall mean any content whatever its medium (written on paper or stored in electronic form or as a sound, visual or audiovisual recording) concerning a matter relating to the policies, activities and decisions falling within the institution’s sphere of responsibility;


4. As regards third-party documents, the institution shall consult the third party with a view to assessing whether an exception in paragraph 1 or 2 is applicable, unless it is clear that the document shall or shall not be disclosed.


Article 6


1. Applications for access to a document shall be made in any written form, including electronic form, in one of the languages referred to in Article 314 of the EC Treaty and in a sufficiently precise manner to enable the institution to identify the document. The applicant is not obliged to state reasons for the application.

2. If an application is not sufficiently precise, the institution shall ask the applicant to clarify the application and shall assist the applicant in doing so, for example, by providing information on the use of the public registers of documents.

3. In the event of an application relating to a very long document or to a very large number of documents, the institution concerned may confer with the applicant informally, with a view to finding a fair solution.

4. The institutions shall provide information and assistance to citizens on how and where applications for access to documents can be made.”

Article 7

Processing of initial applications

1. An application for access to a document shall be handled promptly. An acknowledgement of receipt shall be sent to the applicant. Within 15 working days from registration of the application, the institution shall either grant access to the document requested and provide access in accordance with Article 10 within that period or, in a written reply, state the reasons for the total or partial refusal and inform the applicant of his or her right to make a confirmatory application in accordance with paragraph 2 of this Article.

2. In the event of a total or partial refusal, the applicant may, within 15 working days of receiving the institution’s reply, make a confirmatory application asking the institution to reconsider its position.

3. In exceptional cases, for example in the event of an application relating to a very long document or to a very large number of documents, the time-limit provided for in paragraph 1 may be extended by 15 working days, provided that the applicant is notified in advance and that detailed reasons are given.

4. Failure by the institution to reply within the prescribed time-limit shall entitle the applicant to make a confirmatory application.

We shared the response that we had initially received with one of our readers to get a second opinion. The person said: “I read that the commission is telling you that the leaked document does not belong to them which means: 1) they are taking distance from their own ESS initiative [OR] 2) they are scared to be identified by it.”

Moreover, said that reader, “you are ENTITLED to get assistance from the commission as long as it is an European commission-backed WG document. So you have to insist and demand this. At the very least you can report on the Commission’s attitude on this and attitude on Zuck.”

Finally, in order to make it more formal and compliant with the directive/regulations, we wrote again to the responsive official who is familiar with these matters. Our message — in full — was as follows:

Document access application purpusant to Article 6 EC/1049/2001

As a reply, please answer the following

1. If you intend that

“The document you are referring to is not a European Commission document, but a document that are made by Zuck and many others from industry.”

is a negative reply upon my 1049/2001 request of access to the document please consider the specific provisions of the regulation that guide your obligation in the formal processing of an application under 1049/2001. For instance you have the formal obligation to “inform the applicant of his or her right to make a confirmatory application in accordance with paragraph 2 of this Article.” and the statement above is not in line with the formalities under 1049/2001.

If your statement was such a negative official reply, please regard this mail as a request for a confirmatory application under 1049/2001 for access to European Software Strategy documents. The origination of the document is irrelevant. You have to state reasons for access refusal. I inform you about the substance of Art 4.4 “As regards third-party documents, the institution shall consult the third party with a view to assessing whether an exception in paragraph 1 or 2 is applicable, unless it is clear that the document shall or shall not be disclosed.”

If you regard it as just an informal preliminary communication please just process the following clarified primary application.

2. I hereby request electronic access to all documents related to the Towards the European Software Strategy process in the possession of the EU-Commission, in particular access to the following documents:
* the list of participants in the industry expert group
* the list of WGs, WGs sleaders and observing Commission officials
* draft contributions of all industry Working groups on a the European Software Strategy
* draft input to all WG prepared by the Commission
* the participant list of the related meeting on January 20th in Brussels
* all submissions from industry to the ESS consultation under the applicable provisions of regulation 1049/2001 which grant me a right of access to all documents mentioned above.

I appreciate your kind assistance. If you feel that you are unable to process my request yourself it is your obligation to forward it to the competent person in the Commission.

Fortunately, a formal acknowledgment was soon received:

Dear Mr Schestowitz,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 20/03/2009 registered on 23/03/2009 I hereby acknowledge receipt.

Yours sincerely,


Is this how politics are intended to work? Since we already possess evidence of a scandal and it’s all over the press, why can’t those officials come forward and offer the transparency they must, as a matter of law? Since they refuse to make reasonable disclosure upon request, this leaves room for more of a scandal. The first scandal is the involvement and subversion of the panel but the second is the officials’ refusal to resolve the issue or at least bring it to light.

pound puppies.
Keep out while the responsible adults do their thing…

SLED 11 is About Microsoft .NET

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SLES/SLED, Videos at 7:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft SUSE
The lizard (Geeko) wears new clothes

Summary: SLE* 11 is a .NET-rich environment with software patent tax, Microsoft ‘goodies’, and lack of polish

IT WAS innocent enough when Novell decided to make GNOME the default desktop environment, at least in the enterprise space. It is another thing altogether when Novell turns its GNU/Linux distribution into a follower and devout promoter of Microsoft technologies because this has impact on other distributions which share the same code, packages, and overall integration.

“Somebody told us last week that even KDE is getting Mono-based alternatives to existing applications…”Just look at Miguel de Icaza’s blog today. He is promoting Mono-based alternatives to perfectly fine existing applications. Somebody told us last week that even KDE is getting Mono-based alternatives to existing applications because a few people prefer Mono with Qt and there might be a Novell connection. It’s not conclusive.

In any event, whilst they are trying to boost Mono (or .NET) at the expense of other technologies and at other companies’ expense (Google), Novell is also releasing SLE* 11, as expected.

Unsurprisingly, it’s filled with Mono. As The Register put it:

The Mono Extension to SUSE Linux is the first time that Novell has offered commercial support for the Mono runtime, which allows applications that are coded in C# and using the .NET Framework to run atop non-Windows platforms. Novell bought into the open source Mono project when it acquired Ximian, the company behind Mono as well as the Gnome graphical user interface, back in the summer of 2003. That’s a long time for Novell to take to get Mono commercial, but better late than never.

Jason Perlow has already taken this release for an early ride and despite being somewhat of a SUSE supporter, he was not particularly pleased.

While the technology itself in SLED 11 is impressive, Novell clearly has a lot of work to do before I can recommend deployment of SLED 11 as an enterprise desktop. Are these issues fixable? Yes, but I recommend that the openSUSE and SLE developer teams work much more closely together and rationalize their development processes, and that new usability studies be commissioned in order to flush out problems that might emerge in typical usage scenarios, and not usage by geeks or Linux enthusiasts.

Here is the report from IDG regarding this release. It begins as follows.

Novell unveiled SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 on Tuesday, with features and capabilities that reflect the company’s controversial multiyear agreement with Microsoft.

In 2006, Microsoft and Novell agreed to work on improving compatibility between their products, and pledged not to pursue patent claims against each other’s customers. The move has been widely decried by open-source software advocates.

This is the first major release (not Service Pack) since the deal with Microsoft and judging by its direction, Novell’s assimilation to Microsoft is pretty rapid.

Promotion of SLE* 11 began roughly a week ago. Novell’s filling of YouTube with advertisements [1, 2] is nothing unprecedented and there are a few more innocent videos such as this new introduction to SLED (just days old). The main problem is that Novell is almost bragging about Moon Lie (not a clone of Silver Lie) and the increasingly Mono-laden Evolution. A reader brought these pet peeves to our attention after watching the video.

Moonlight is one problem but another is Novell’s Evolution, which makes it almost impossible to remove Mono from SUSE. Sam Varghese, a technical journalist at ITWire, found that in OpenSUSE 11.1 (which SLED 11 is based on) it’s virtually impossible to remove Mono because of spurious dependencies, whether erroneous or not.

Steve Ballmer rides SUSE
Daddy loves you, SUEsie

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 23rd, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: March 23rd, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

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