IRC Proceedings: May 15th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Links 15/5/2010: 65,000+ Linux-based Google Phones Per Day; English Leadership on F/OSS

Posted in News Roundup at 6:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • CERN cranks up its LHC network

    According to HPCWIRE, the LHC doomsday device’s network has linked mass data storage sites, such as the Ohio Supercomputer Centre and more than 1,000 international physicists, engineers and technicians.

    Apparently the LHC detectors spew out 1.25GB of data per second. That’s about six times the contents of Encyclopedia Britannica including the index every second.

  • Ballnux

    • Nexus One gives the iPhone a run for its money

      Google made a wise decision when it decided to release an open source mobile operating system — it has allowed it to quickly infiltrate the smartphone market because of the business model: it’s free and open source like Linux.

      Despite this, most of the Android devices on the market today are not really true competitors to the iPhone, due to the immaturity, sluggishness and the availability of apps. But with the release of the latest device, the HTC Nexus One running Android v2.1, Android is finally becoming a threat to the iPhone, which has held its own for almost two years as the most desirable mobile device.

    • Nexus One changes in availability

      But, as with every innovation, some parts worked better than others. While the global adoption of the Android platform has exceeded our expectations, the web store has not. It’s remained a niche channel for early adopters, but it’s clear that many customers like a hands-on experience before buying a phone, and they also want a wide range of service plans to chose from.

    • Say Hello to the TELUS HTC Triumph!

      Got to hand it to TELUS as they keep bringing on very strong Android devices. First it was the HTC Hero, followed up with the Motorola Milestone then the very unique Motorola Backflip… now behold the HTC Triumph!

    • Samsung Wave out soon, SDK out now

      As has been widely reported, Samsung’s eagerly anticipated Wave handset is due out in the next month or so and is based around the new open-source bada platform. As a result, people eager to start creating apps for the smartphone device can start doing that right now, by downloading the Software Developers Kit directly from bada.com.

    • Ok, For Real Guys… Android 2.1 Available for Samsung Moment
    • US Cellular’s Samsung Acclaim Pic Confirmed

      Engadget is reporting that the handset pictured to the left is the new Samsung Acclaim that US Cellular has recently scored exclusive rights to. Their confidence that this is the Acclaim is high, with their “doubt meter hovering at zero.”

    • Is this T-Mobile US’s Galaxy S? UPDATE

      This is another one of those posts that could be way off the mark, but it could be right on. Howard Chui from howardchui.com recently posted a video walkthrough of the Samsung Galaxy S. If you will kindly take note of the icons in the screen shot to the right, you’ll notice there are a couple recognizable icons there, icons that are commonly found on T-Mobile US Android devices. I’ve looked through several Galaxy S videos from CTIA and none of the demos show these icons in the app tray, only this video.

    • Samsung Galaxy S Promotional Video Surfaces
  • Instructionals

    • How To Check URLs You Don’t Trust

      There are alternatives which may or may not have their own HTTP engines. Did you know Firefox and Google Chrome have a view-source protocol handler? You can view the source code for my blog at view-source:http://blogs.pcmag.com/securitywatch/.

      And then there’s Curl, a free and open source Internet URL retrieval engine. It’s most famous for retrieving HTTP URLs, but it handles many other protocols too (HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTPS, SCP, SFTP, TFTP, DICT, TELNET, LDAP or FILE).

    • VLC Media Player Download
  • Games

    • Four indie games to go open source

      The developers of the Aquaria, Gish, Lugaru HD and Penumbra Overture have all pledged to release the their code as open source. Wolfire Games, makers of Lugaru HD, have already posted their source code under the GNU General Public License (GPL) and within hours of the release a number of people have created and submitted patches.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • VectorLinux 6.0 Standard Edition

        Ten years after the first release, the VectorLinux team announced a new version of the Standard Edition. The 6th generation of the Linux operating system has an installer with Graphical User Interface for the first time, developed by Moises Henriquez (M0E-lnx) and Uel Archuletta (uelsk8s). We have delivered a stable, clean and fast Operating system, that is easy to install, configure, and use.

      • eBox 1.4-2
      • CentOS 5.5
      • Toorox – Linux Live System: 05.2010


        * Kernel 2.6.33-gentoo
        * KDE 4.4.3
        * Xorg-Server 1.7.6
        * OpenOffice 3.2.0
        * VLC 1.0.6
        * IceCat 3.6.3
        * Thunderbird 3.04
        * K3b 1.91.0_rc2
        * Gimp 2.6.8
        * Wine 1.1.43
        * Amarok 2.2.1
        * Audacious
        * Ardour 2.8.2
        * Kino 1.3.3
        * Cinelerra 20100320
        * …

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Rocking Out With A Linux Guitar

      By working the LCD screen with one hand and pressing down on virtual strings on the neck of the instrument, you can create synthesized sounds. For guitar geeks, this looks like a great gift, but there isn’t any price cited yet.

    • Nokia

      • What does Nokia need to do to become relevant again?

        3) Ditch Symbian for smartphones: Nokia claims that Symbian “democratises the smartphone market”. They’re saying that open source programmes make their phones more customisable and more relevant to a larger audience than, say, an iPhone. But Android is already by some measures outselling the Apple iPhone, it’s already open source and it’s already very good, when HTC design with it at least. Symbian 4 is, by virtue of its arrival later this year, surely not able to be a patch on Android 1.6, never mind the newer 2.1, and equally poor in comparison to iPhone OS3. What’s the point in backing the Symbian horse? Insiders say forthcoming OS Meego will be great. It’s too little, too late, when Android is already streaks ahead and Windows Phone 7 Series is on the way. (I’d love, by the way, to be proved wrong, but “the open source OS” Symbian 4 is currently a secret – you can take a look here at Mashable, however.

    • Android

      • 65,000 Android phones shipping every day: Google

        At least 65,000 mobile phones powered by Google’s Android operating system are being shipped every day, Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said Thursday.

      • Android is for real

        As for Android, even if it was helped along by Apple-like advertising campaigns and two-for-one offers, the Linux-based, Apache-licensed mobile OS has undoubtedly made the biggest strides in the modern smartphone market we’ve seen since iPhone. I recall immense skepticism when we indicated in our CAOS report Mobility Matters way back in November 2008 that the first Android phone on the market, the G1, represented an impressive first step and a sign of fast, carrier-supported development and advancement thanks in large part to open source. Regardless of how significant its device maker and carrier support, including two for one deals, Android has done better than expected in the market. It certainly marks the furthest a mobile OS based on Linux has ever gone.

      • Michael Dell Confirms Streak 5 for AT&T This Summer

        Michael Dell, CEO, took to the stage yesterday for a keynote speech at the Citrix Synergy conference where he promptly teased the crowd with a demo of the Streak 5 tablet phone. The 5-inch device features a 5-megapixel camera, a 800X480 touch display with 5 inches viewable screen, and a customized build of Android. We aren’t sure what version of Android the Streak 5 will have. Our first glimpse of the device had 1.6 on it but enough time has passed to get 2.1 loaded.

      • NTT DoCoMo’s Best Selling Smart Phone Ever is Probably Sony Ericsson Xperia X10

        We’ve given the Sony Ericsson Xperia a rough go at things here on the site and on some of our podcasts. To sum things up we’d have to say we’re disappointed all around. We wish it was more responsive in their Mediascape and Timescape apps, we wish it had something newer than Android 1.6, we wish it would hit the US at some point, etc… Just a general sense of letdown.

      • DROID Does More Commercials

        Droid Does Augmented reality! Well, technically most Android devices can “do” augmented reality. However, none of the other carriers and/or manufacturers are promoting the sheer amount and variety of Android apps that are available. Even if you think the videos are too industrial or crass, you have to admit that Verizon is helping to gain visibility for our little, green buddy.

      • Android Rips Up Google to Reveal a Nexus One Easter Egg

        Google sure does love its easter eggs, and here in the UK Android fans are treated to a very special sight when “meet Android” is typed and “I’m feeling lucky” hit.

    • Tablets

      • Verizon: We’re making a tablet with Google

        Google released a statement: “Android is a free, open source mobile platform. This means that anyone can take the Android platform and add code or download it to create a mobile device without restrictions. The Android smartphone platform was designed from the beginning to scale downward to feature phones and upward to MID and netbook-style devices. We look forward to seeing what contributions are made and how an open platform spurs innovation, but we have nothing to announce at this time.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Predicted to Experience High Growth in 2010

    A new survey by one of Europe’s specialist pan European headhunting companies in the software space, predicts Open Source will be a good bet to achieve high growth this year.

  • Make Your Own Creative Suite With Free Open Source Software

    When you’re getting started with web design, industry standard software such as Adobe’s Creative Suite is often far out of your budget. Fortunately there are many Open Source alternatives that go a long way towards putting together a solid suite of design tools.

    Alternative To Photoshop: GIMP

    GIMP or GNU Image Manipulation Program started in 1995 and is probably the best known Open Source image editor. It has powerful painting tools, layers and channels support, multiple undo/redo, editable text layers. There is a huge supportive community around GIMP with many plug-ins to allow easy extension of it’s functionality. Gimp can import native Photoshop files and can read scalable vector graphics (SVG) files.

  • Events

  • SaaS

    • Yahoo! to open source floating Google-Amazon crossbreed

      Known simply as “Cloud” within the company, the platform is that piece of Yahoo! infrastructure that serves up its online applications. In short, it provides the company’s internal developers with on-demand access to computing resources. But rather than offering raw virtual machines as Amazon EC2 does, it spins up “containers” of server power that are pre-configured for things like load-balancing and security. That way, developers needn’t handle the load-balancing on their own.

  • Databases

  • Healthcare

    • IAC to VA: Modernize VistA

      The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should commit to and announce as a matter of strategic policy a plan to move to an open source, open standards model for the re-engineering of the next generation of the department’s integrated health information system, VistA, according to a new report from the Industry Advisory Council (IAC). The 100-page report from the Washington, D.C.-based IAC provided recommendations to VA on how to modernize VistA (VA Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture).

    • A Look Into the Mind: WiseWindow Leverages Open Source, Cloud Computing to Gauge Opinions

      I understand Rajiv has been named advisor and architect for a new open source project funded by the National Institute of Health and executed by Caltech. What is the goal of this effort and what exactly does it have to do with open source?

      Dulepet: The goal of this effort is to provide scientists an open platform for bio-medical research where they can share analytical applications and data with their colleagues.

  • Business

  • Government

    • Whitehall’s new IT minister, who’s it gonna be?

      Whomever is handed the government’s IT portfolio will, among other duties, be responsible for overseeing the Cabinet Office’s open source and open standards software procurement policy, which the previous Labour administration rejigged under then IT minister Angela Smith in January this year.

    • UK hot-swaps leaders – Brown out, Cameron in

      The Tories also look like following many European and US authorities on open source and open standards. The party has promised to make government data available upon request in open-standard formats.

    • Tories and Lib Dems form coalition government

      The Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, both of which opposed ID cards and favour open source, have formed a coalition government.


      Both parties are keen on open-source software. The Tories have backed the use of open standards in major government IT projects, which they say will create a “level playing field” for open source, and the Lib Dems have sung the praises of open source’s cost benefits.

    • New Government: Tory-Lib Dem Coalition Will Agree On Most Public Sector ICT Issues
    • Goodbye Gordon: The Labour Tech Legacy

      7. Open source government

      Brown’s government was one of the first to use open source tech to help the public sector cut IT costs during the economic downturn. The decision to encourage greater use of open source was based on the need for greater support for community development by IT vendors, and some commentators claimed savings could be as much as £600 million a year.

      However, Britain has been found to be lagging behind many other countries when it comes to open source, and many open source vendors have criticised the policy as toothless. Meanwhile, the European Commission has warned that any progress in using open source and open standards will have to be tempered against the possibility that the software could have downsides in terms of security.

    • European Commission Releases New Version of Open e-PRIOR To Push eProcurement Across EU

      The Directorate-General for Informatics (DIGIT) has recently announced that a new version of Open e-PRIOR, the open-source version of the e-PRIOR (electronic PRocurement, Invoicing and Ordering) platform has been published on the Open Source Observatory and Repository for European public administrations (OSOR.eu).

  • Open Data

    • Cory Doctorow, geek culture icon (Q&A)

      From his home in England, the Canadian-born Doctorow, a Hugo Award nominee, is one of the most prolific writers going, constantly turning out blog posts, magazine articles, novels, and everything in between. And he travels more in a year than most people will in a lifetime.

      His Boing Boing posts can cover issues from the fact that there are now at least 13 open-source hardware companies making $1 million or more annually, to anything related to Net neutrality, to the current battle over the U.S. Federal Communications Committee’s decision to give Hollywood permission to activate the so-called “Selective Output Control” technologies in consumers’ set-top boxes.

  • Open Hardware

  • Open Access/Content

  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Technology: Beautifully Rendered Music Notation With HTML5

      An anonymous reader writes “This is incredible. This guy has built a music notation engraver entirely in JavaScript, allowing for real-time music editing right in the browser. Here’s a demo. The library has no external dependencies, and all the glyphs, scores, beams, ties, etc. are positioned and rendered entirely in JavaScript.”


  • Feds to examine ways to jam prisoners’ illicit cell phone calls

    Federal regulators are now seeking input on ways they can jam signals or otherwise crack down on prisoners who smuggle and use cell phones in federal jails.

  • Successful Businesses Focus On Innovating

    Anyone working at a small company has likely experienced the time distractions of playing phone tag and chasing down late payments. These diversions can drain enthusiasm and energy that could otherwise be put to better use. Given this common problem, we’re on the lookout for how others in small businesses are creating innovative projects. Software as a service offerings are often cited as examples for saving time — allowing small companies to focus on their own tasks, rather than dealing with maintaining IT resources and installing software packages.

  • Science

    • NASA’s moon program gets a boost from Congress

      Two Republican lawmakers today moved to block White House efforts to kill NASA’s Constellation program, adding an amendment to a broad budget bill that prohibits NASA from taking steps to terminate efforts to return astronauts to the moon.

      The provision, inserted in an emergency spending bill aimed at funding military operations in Afghanistan, is the latest salvo in a months-long battle between Congress and the White House on what to do with NASA after the agency retires the space shuttle fleet at the end of the year.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Inside Sourcefire’s Vulnerability Research Team

      In many IT security shops, administrators rely on open-source tools to keep up with the malware bad guys continue to toss their way. One industry favorite is Sourcefire, parent of the Snort IDS tool and ClamAV.

    • Friday Funnies
    • Single group did 66% of world’s phishing

      A single criminal operation was responsible for two-thirds of all phishing attacks in the second half of 2009 and is responsible for a two-fold increase in the crime, a report published this week said.

    • Report reveals DNA sample failings by police in London

      Failings in the way police officers in London dealt with DNA samples linked to violent crime, rape and murder have been highlighted in a report.

      The inspection found samples had been left in a freezer at two police stations in Hackney, east London, instead of being sent for analysis.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs Defending “Hot News” Claim in New York Court

      From DarkReading.com, a story about a federal lawsuit against Goldman Sachs and several unknown Goldman Sachs employees who allegedly logged into, and stole thousands of records from, the plaintiff’s database of investor contact information. The database was protected by a restrictive license and by passwords.

      The lawsuit has several aspects that make it worth watching. First, the plaintiffs claim that Goldman Sachs should be liable for its employees’ violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Few cases discuss the circumstances under which an employer can be held liable for an employee’s CFAA violations. Cases like Butera & Andrews v. IBM Inc., No. 1:06-CV-647 (D.D.C. Oct. 18, 2006), create a high hurdle for plaintiffs, stating that intentional conduct on the part of the company must be proven to create CFAA liability.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Facebook founder called trusting users dumb f*cks

      Loveable Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg called his first few thousand users “dumb fucks” for trusting him with their data, published IM transcripts show. Facebook hasn’t disputed the authenticity of the transcript.

    • Facebook Should Follow Its Own Principles

      About a year ago, Facebook suffered a tremendous consumer backlash over its changes to the Terms of Service. To quell the uproar, Facebook introduced a set of Principles. Through a “Facebook site governance” vote, users voted on whether these Principles should serve as the foundation for governing the site.” At the time, the company trumpeted the success of the vote, by which about 75% of voters selected the new Facebook Principles: “We strongly believe that our proposed documents satisfied the concerns raised in February.” As Facebook explains, the Principles are “the foundation of the rights and responsibilities of those within the Facebook Service.” A year later, the foundation is cracking.

      Now Facebook flatly contradicts its own stated Principles. The contradictions are clearly shown in Facebook’s widely panned ([1][2][3][4][5]) response to New York Times readers’ questions on the social network’s brave new privacy practices. A reader asked Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s vice president for public policy, the key question: “Why can’t I control my own information anymore?”

    • Why Open Alternatives Are Bound To Challenge Facebook

      Still, as we’ve noted before, both Facebook and Twitter suffer from the fundamental problem that they are closed systems. They harken back to the early days of email, when you had to be on, say, MCI Mail, or CompuServe, to send another computer user a message. Facebook and Twitter are walled gardens that don’t allow users enough control over their interaction with others. Diaspora is unlikely to ever threaten Facebook’s dominance, but the welcome it has received in such a short time shows how fed up people are with Facebook’s policies. In the long run, Facebook will likely face more serious challenges from open alternatives to its service.

    • Facebook ID theft Mr Big just a sprat, says social network
    • VA Continues Its Annual Tradition Of Losing Laptop With Unencrypted Sensitive Data

      When we last checked in with the Veterans Administration (VA) it was to suggest that it rename itself the “Ministry of Data Leaks.” That’s because every year or so they admit that they’ve lost a computer that happens to contain unencrypted personal data on VA members. And, each report seems to get worse than the previous one. So you would think that, by now, the VA would have at least put in place some system to encrypt and protect the data it stores. That would be wishful thinking. It’s now come out that the VA has had two major data breaches in just the last month — both involving laptops that had unencrypted data.

    • Google Admits It Was Accidentally Collecting Some Open WiFi Data

      There’s no way around the fact that Google should not have done this, and in doing so, it’s just handed years worth of “evidence” of Google’s evil nature to the company’s critics. In context, however, it’s still not clear that what Google did was really that bad. Anyone using a WiFi network can similarly see unencrypted data used by others on that same access point. It happens all the time — which is why if you are using a shared network, you should always encrypt your traffic — and most sensitive websites (webmail, banks, etc.) automatically encrypt the traffic. On top of that, as Google notes, since the data collected came from cars driving around, they were not connected to any particular WiFi network for very long at all.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Hollywood backs Viacom in Google legal fight

      Ever since Viacom first filed a lawsuit accusing Google’s YouTube of violating copyright law, most of Hollywood has appeared determined to stay neutral. That seems to be changing.

    • Subway To Everyone Else: Stop Selling ‘Footlong’ Sandwiches

      Last week, the restaurant got a letter from a lawyer representing Subway, which, as you may have heard, sells 12-inch sandwiches for five bucks.

      After explaining that Subway “has applied for the trademark FOOTLONG (TM) in association with sandwiches,” the letter says:

      You are hereby put on notice to cease and desist from using FOOTLONG (TM) association with sandwiches. You must immediately remove all references to FOOTLONG (TM) in association with sandwiches.

    • Viacom Still Not Getting It — Files Bogus Takedown And Kills Some Free Transformers Buzz

      Yes, it appears Paramount promptly filed a DMCA takedown — which seems like a fantastic way to kill excitement for the movie. According to the takedown, Brown’s video “matched third party content,” which, of course, is impossible since Transformers 3 has yet to be finished (let alone released) and obviously Brown took the video himself. The filming took place in a public alley, so anyone around is totally free to take pictures or video and share them.

      Now, not only is it ridiculous to claim that these videos are covered under Paramount’s copyright, it’s hard to fathom why Paramount would want to bother quashing these videos at all. After Brown and Krimmel posted their videos, entertainment blogs picked the story up and started to build buzz about the movie. Isn’t that a good thing?

    • Copyrights

      • Public Knowledge Proposes Changes To Copyright Technical Protection Law

        In the second part of its Copyright Reform Act project, Public Knowledge (PK) today suggested critical changes to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) to correct crucial flaws in the law’s section that covers permissible circumvention of technological protection measures.

        The latest PK report about Section 1201 of the DMCA found that the law “fails to appropriately distinguish between circumvention for lawful purposes and circumvention for unlawful purposes, causing a range of harmful effects to befall creators, consumers, researchers, innovators, and competitors.” At the same time, the report found, that the “anti-circumvention provisions have failed to provide copyright owners adequate relief from large-scale infringement.”

      • Shepard Fairey: OBEY my lawyers

        What do you do if you’re a street artist turned marketing phenom who uses other people’s images when someone uses one of your designs? If you’re Shepard Fairey, apparently, you call your lawyers.

        Fairey, of Obama HOPE poster fame, is defending himself against charges he infringed on an Associated Press copyrighted photo in making the poster. He’s also been criticized by artists for using others’ work without attribution (see background here and here). His lawyers claim in the AP case that he is protected by fair use provisions of the copyright law.

      • Has Shepard Fairey Learned That He’s Been Hypocritical When It Comes To Others Appropriating His Works?

        But there’s another part of Fairey’s actions that has been equally troubling: he’s been known to aggressively go after others for copying his work, despite the fact that the entire basis of his work is appropriation art. Fairey has used his lawyers in a manner not unlike the recent case we wrote about involving the estate of appropriation artist Roy Lichtenstein threatening a band for using an image that was copied not from Lichtenstein’s painting, but from the same original source material.

      • The Music Industry Needs Fair and Open Markets, Not Regulation

        This is the ORG website; you are not likely to find here the usual complaints about freeloading filesharers destroying opportunities for artists and blighting the creative industries’ digital future. Instead here’s a much more pro-business and pro-artist agenda for the five year coalition to consider, and it is one which does not need mass surveillance, consumer ‘education’ campaigns, and regulation. Nor does it require Ofcom to spend millions of pounds of public money studying how close Sisyphus is to the top of the mountain.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – AATC – Future NASA Technology (2001)

“US International Trade Commission Supports Patent Trolls”

Posted in America, Apple, Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 9:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

United States International Trade Commission seal

Summary: How the International Trade Commission (ITC) is adding to harm already caused by the USPTO

ON many occasions in the past we criticised the ITC for incentivising embargoes. Apple and Microsoft both misuse this power.

Law.com has this new report and Florian labels it an “article on how the US International Trade Commission supports patent trolls”

Patent Litigation Weekly: ITC Rolls Out the Welcome Mat for ‘Trolls’”


The International Trade Commission was created in 1916 to protect U.S.-based companies that made and sold goods within the country’s borders. In recent years, however, the agency’s definition of what qualifies as “domestic industry” has expanded to the point that small patent-holding companies with just a handful of employees (Saxon Innovations, St. Clair Intellectual Property Consultants) and even individual inventors have been allowed to proceed with ITC litigation.

Congress helped expand the ranks of who could seek remedies at the ITC in 1988 when it amended the “domestic industry” requirement to include “licensing” as qualification. Patent-holding companies have relied on that change ever since to justify their arguments that the taxpayer-funded ITC should ban imports of certain products on their behalf. Of course, in 1988, the patent litigation landscape was very different, and patent-holding companies—aka “non-practicing entities,” or “patent trolls”—in the modern sense simply didn’t exist.

It is curious that a US agency is called “International Trade Commission”. There are other examples like that, but they are beyond the scope of this post although these too employ sanctions/blackmail. See what the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) does to Free software for example. It’s a recent case.

“The ITC is a mechanism of colonisation and it assumes that the United States deserves the power to restrict trade beyond its borders.”Given the harm ITC can cause to innovation, more countries need to voice dissent. The ITC is a mechanism of colonisation and it assumes that the United States deserves the power to restrict trade beyond its borders. It’s hardly conceivable that huge populations like Brazil or India would impose similar restrictions using their hypothetical newly-minted agencies, which would in turn operate beyond their borders.

The ITC not only serves US interests; it also serves the interests of aggressors like Apple and Microsoft or parasites like Acacia, whose case against Linux we recently covered in:

According to Groklaw, some of the site’s contributors played a role in defeating Acacia, which has former Microsoft executives amongst its staff.

First, a call went out on Groklaw for prior art. When news of this litigation first broke in 2007, and I asked if any of you knew of any prior art, one of the first comments mentioned the Amiga. I kid you not. Another almost immediately mentioned still owning an Amiga or two. In 2009, Red Hat officially asked the world for prior art, and again someone here mentioned the Amiga. So you guys knew before the lawyers did, which of course you would. It’s your area of expertise. That’s what I get from it. And that I should have made sure they were reading Groklaw in 2007. Next time.

Better still, you want to help. When Novell put out a statement about the jury’s ruling, it said that the open source community will always fight for its software. And that is true. It did, it still does, and it always will.

Isn’t it ironic that Novell says this (rather than Red Hat, for example)? It is Novell which is harming the Free software community, parts of which are fighting against Novell/Microsoft. That’s the type of shameless PR we wrote about earlier today (Novell routinely uses the SCO case in the same way, essentially for PR purposes).

SAP Could Buy Novell Just Like It Bought Sybase

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Novell at 8:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

For sale signs

Summary: Why it makes sense for SAP to scoop Novell up and carry on with the same corporate agenda

SAP is a close ally of Microsoft and probably its principal ally in Europe (Microsoft nearly bought SAP).

While Novell loses business in Kuwait, much to Red Hat’s chagrin [1, 2] (more new links about it here), Novell gains a little in India, thanks to SAP, which has just acquired Sybase (Novell would be about 6 times cheaper to buy). From a news report we have:

The company has set for itself an aggressive plan to expand to 100 stores across India and has built its IT architecture using Novell Linux systems integrated with SAP and a point of sale software solution from Tiversity.

As pointed out earlier today, SAP can still buy Novell. SAP, Novell, and Microsoft have had a “triangle” as we called it two years ago. They all endorse software patents and strive to spread Microsoft-taxed SUSE at the expense of Red Hat. There is a war being waged here over the so-called ‘cloud’, which Novell’s vice president of partner marketing and enablement commented on some days ago:

As Scott Lewis, Novell vice president of partner marketing and enablement, noted, “Ninety-five percent of the conversation is about cloud, but only about five percent is about implementation of cloud. Joining those worlds together is where were seeing some action.”

SLES/SLED 11 SP1 is expected to come soon, but Novell is busy promoting Vista 7 now that its SP1 is seen as coming soon (and XP SP2 is expiring).

With all the new server iron being injected into the market, (and more to come later this year) and an impending release of Enterprise Linux 6 from Red Hat and the just-released Ubuntu 10.04 from Canonical, commercial Linux distributor Novell has to either put out a new version of SUSE Linux or crank out a service pack to keep pace.

There is still no word about SLES/SLED 12. Will it ever come out? Or will Novell be sold first? Either way, Novell is perhaps having one last blast in Europe. IDG’s Dave Kearns will attend BrainShare next week and Novell’s PR team mentions it very briefly (when not bragging about some prizes whose meaning is unknown).

EVENTS: This week (May 18-21) I’m at Novell’s BrainShare in Amsterdam. Say “Hi” if you see me.

What if Novell takeover chatter takes over the event like it did in the previous BrainShare? Both events almost intersect Novell’s financial results, which previously led to an attempt to buy Novell (details below).

Novell’s Marketing Team is Promoting Vista 7 (Again) and Speaks About Viral Marketing

Posted in Boycott Novell, Deception, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell, SCO, Vista 7, Windows at 7:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

No Value : Novell

Summary: Novell markets Microsoft software along with its own and Novell’s CMO talks about experimentation with viral marketing

Grant Ho, Novell’s Director of Solutions and Product Marketing, was seen promoting Vista 7 in Novell’s PR blog some months ago. We have some other examples of Novell’s promotion of Vista 7 in semi-official channels like corporate blogs [1, 2].

Here is the latest example from Ho:

Last fall, Microsoft unveiled Windows 7 and caused a gasp across the IT departments in many an enterprise. It wasn’t that the new product had issues. On the contrary, the release was one of the most well thought out and developed software in years.

Really? Based on evidence that we gathered, Vista 7 is the most well thought out AstroTurf/marketing campaign in years because it’s another Vista and it still has many of the same problems. Windows XP SP2 support is expiring, so Novell’s endorsement couldn’t come at a better time (for Microsoft).

“Here we have Novell sponsoring help migrating TO Windows 7.”
      –Jason, The Source
Later on (after already spotting the above) we found the same observation in The Source. In Jason’s words, “Here we have Novell sponsoring help migrating TO Windows 7. Don’t worry, though, because it’s business and not cheerleading” (there are some other good picks over there in The Source, which is a site we recommend).

At the bottom, says Jason, “Novell: Will Eat Bugs For Money.” (obviously a reference to what Jeremy Allison said about Microsoft’s deal with Novell after he had quit the company. By the way, check out the Web site overhaul in Samba)

“Microsoft will never stop trying to tax Linux,” writes Jason in reference to the news about Office Web Apps (also covered here and in The Register).

Novell’s marketing tricks can be rather distasteful sometimes. For instance, Novell turned the SCO case into a PR case for itself. Novell’s fight to defend its UNIX asset is valuable to Linux too, so Novell’s selfish case against SCO (good for Novell shareholders) is seen by many as Novell acting in good faith only to defend GNU/Linux.

Novell responds to SCO’s motion for judgment in SCO’s favor as a matter of law or for a new trial.

Yes, Novell wants UNIX. When Novell gets sold (which it will), who is going to end up possessing UNIX?

Here in Techrights we distrust Novell not just because of reasonable skepticism; it’s because of Novell’s history of telling lies to the public. Just watch John Dragoon’s blog this week. He is Novell’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) and here he is talking about the controversial subject of viral marketing, which is notorious for reasons we explained many times before.

3. You Can’t Manufacture “Viral,” but You Can Experiment Endlessly

When marketers first turned their attention to social media, we were all looking for that big viral hit where you spend next to nothing but get a ton of exposure. Sadly, it doesn’t work that way.

You can have good intentions, you can try to create something that will go viral, but at the end of the day, it’s not going to be you who determines whether it’s going to succeed or not. You just can’t make it so or wish it so.

Novell’s use of YouTube for viral marketing is a subject that we’ve already covered with many examples [1, 2, 3, 4].

Not so long ago, Joe ‘Zonker’ Brockmeier was hired by Novell to become a PR appendage (he resigned the following year and got back to journalism). Now he explains parts of his duties for Novell.

The first year I worked for Novell, the effect of having an openSUSE booth at events was noticeable, because the project had been entirely absent at most of the events.

Having a presence at events is sort of de rigueur for major projects. If nobody turns up, people often wonder why project X decided to skip the event. And you’ll find a handful of folks who turn up just to ask question about a project (“how the hell do I get my wireless to work on 11.0?”) and look for swag. But having spent quite a few hours doing booth duty, I wonder if it’s absolutely necessary or effective compared to what volunteers could be doing.

Brockmeier left Novell shortly after Novell’s PR people sent him to tell some lies to journalists (maybe he sincerely believed in those lies, but Professor Eben Moglen set the record straight).

Reuters: “Novell Has Put Itself up for Sale”

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Novell at 6:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Now that Novell is said to be looking for a buyer, who would dare acquire the accompanying burden?

NOVELL’S latest results are just days away. The last time Novell reported its results, a bid was made to take over Novell and the invitation to conquer Novell is still open. We covered this in:

The priority of the “Boycott Novell” campaign has since then been lowered. We expect Novell to be sold some time this year, so Novell will probably suffer the same fate as Mandriva, Turbolinux, and Linspire (all sold). Here is a new article from Reuters (also here) which says that “Novell Inc has put itself up for sale.”

Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N) is in the process of buying smartphone pioneer Palm Inc (PALM.O) for $1.2 billion, while software maker Novell Inc (NOVL.O) has put itself up for sale.

Here is a new opinion piece from one who guessed that Novell would be bought by SAP, which is still a possibility.

So what’s next for SAP? Before SAP makes its next acquisition (my wild guess will be either Novell or Redhat), SAP has to do two things right away.

Nobody is interested in buying Novell, except a hedge fund that would probably dismantle it, although it denies intentions to sell Novell in pieces. Even Microsoft would rather keep SUSE as a separate entity, for reasons that Professor Eben Moglen explained.

Why Peter Murray-Rust Should Not Work With Microsoft

Posted in DRM, Europe, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft at 6:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Peter Murray-Rust
Photo by jwyg, licensed under the Creative Commons
Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence

Summary: An open access hero asks whether or not he should work with Microsoft; Techrights responds

“Should I work with Microsoft?”

That is the question asked by Peter Murray-Rust, who sought a reply from readers. We’ll come to this in a moment, right after providing some background.

“Microsoft loves artificial scarcity, on which its entire business model is built.”Peter Murray-Rust is an admirable person and a high achiever. He is at the forefront of the open access (OA) movement and he advocates strongly the sharing of knowledge. Here at Techrights we have great respect for this man, but circumstances at work seem to have led him to the biggest enemy of open source (and by extension one of the principal foes of OA).

Peter Murray-Rust is currently pressuring the British Library to drop DRM. What he may or may not know is Microsoft’s role in opposition to his goals. What Microsoft is doing to the British Library is a subject that we covered some days ago (citing Peter Murray-Rust six times in the process). We quoted Microsoft’s CEO as saying that “DRM is the future.” One article worth reading comes from Forbes Magazine (2007) and bears the title “Microsoft: We Like DRM”.

By this point, we pretty much get the picture. Microsoft loves artificial scarcity, on which its entire business model is built.

Peter Murray-Rust continues his fair and balanced struggle to rid the British Library of DRM. He speaks to an ex-Adobe person:

He’s no longer with Adobe and he has written a useful account of the way that scholarly publications should be managed – in the browser, not at the server. I like his analysis. I am not against access control per se, and it works well in most cases – certainly far better than DRM.

Here is his latest post in this long series:

Draft FOI request to the British Library (BL) on Digital Rights Management (DRM)


I shall be composing my freedom of information letter to the British Library today. A week ago I asked informally on the blogosphere and twittersphere for feedback from academic librarians on the implementation, use, and impact of digital rights management (DRM) systems on the supply of academic material from the British Library (inter-library loans, ILL). This post represents what I shall write to the BL under FOI unless I get more feedback today. (I am stunned by the passive acceptance of the UK academic library system to the BL’s DRM (and presumably DRM in general), but will retain that phrase unless they can show that they have taken action to challenge the system, even if unsuccessful. It also appears that they have no public views challenging any sort of DRM and they accept what is given them).

This is excellent stuff.

As we pointed out on some past occasions (11 separate posts in Techrights cite his blog), Microsoft occasionally works with Peter Murray-Rust’s employer or affiliates, which makes it hard for him to have Microsoft estranged. Very recently he published this post which asks, “Should I work with Microsoft?”

These are serious concerns and I will address them. I have previously blogged about the relationship of me and my group to Microsoft (http://wwmm.ch.cam.ac.uk/blogs/murrayrust/?p=2249 ) where I have shown my reasons for working with them. The current concerns are different in that they relate to sponsorship but basically have the same concern that Microsoft are guilty of actions which put them beyond the bounds of acceptability.

I do not know Filippo, but I know Glyn Moody well. He and I share positions on the Open Knowledge Foundation advisory board and most of our views coincide. However he and I differ on Microsoft. I believe his view is that Microsoft is inherently “evil” in a way beyond the natural commercial orientations and activities of any large company. I do not take this view at present although as I have acknowledged some of Microsoft’s past actions were clearly unacceptable.

Let it be clarified that Microsoft is probably worse than before. It just employs a lot of PR agencies to embellish its image and bury criticisms. We have given a very large number of examples and it would require a long time to assemble a long list that convinces the reader/observer (a lot of unethical PR efforts, propaganda, bribed bloggers, and AstroTurfing as exemplified in the previous post are partly documented).

Microsoft’s latest strand of offences is racketeering [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. People must not be misled by memes like “new Microsoft” because this new Microsoft is more aggressive than ever and more dishonest about its intentions (it’s part of the PR spiel, along the lines of a green BP logo or Blackwater changing names).

No proponent of OA should befriend Microsoft. To repeat what we wrote yesterday, “dissociation from Microsoft is a survival skill, not intolerance.”

Apple Lies About “Open Source” (and More on Apple/Microsoft AstroTurfing)

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, Marketing, Microsoft at 5:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: John Sullivan shows how/why Apple is being dishonest about its relationship with “Open Source”; a glimpse at how perception management at Apple and Microsoft actually works

APPLE is not a friend of Open Source. Apple has exploited Open Source a great deal (so has Microsoft), but it’s not the same as befriending it. Apple is suing Android/Linux and threatening Theora (links a the bottom), to name just two recent examples.

John Sullivan (FSF) accuses Apple of saying “things that aren’t true” (i.e. lying). He names one example:

This is one, from http://www.apple.com/opensource:

As the first major computer company to make Open Source development a key part of its ongoing software strategy, Apple remains committed to the Open Source development model.

Not only is the overall statement false, but so is each component.

Apple and honesty do not go hand in hand. It is a company of fake hype which relies heavily both on grassroots and on fake grassroots (i.e. AstroTurfing). Microsoft’s own AstroTurfing campaigns are greater in terms of scale (e.g. number of AstroTurfers) and severity, so they just happen to get a lot more attention and scrutiny.

A moment ago we found out that Microsoft’s AstroTurfer which it gives schwag to in exchange for his trolling (under multiple fake names) in Free software and GNU/Linux blogs is still receiving schwag. “My MVP Award Kit arrived today, gosh its gorgeous! :) Got a bit choked up,” said Andre Da Costa, whose relationship with Microsoft we have covered in:

Andre Da Costa is just one AstroTurfer among very many, so we merely use him as an example. There are probably thousands like him.

“Nice,” says OpenUniverse, “I remember, although I forgot how they bribe people with laptops.” We gave many more examples when the Vista 7 AstroTurf began. OpenUniverse also asked, “out of curiosity, how do you prove it’s the same guy and not two or three?” Well, Andre Da Costa has already admitted this when proof was presented to him (posing as “Mr. Dee” and “Lucy”).

Apple, for example, has Daniel Eran Dilger, who is also attacking Android/Linux/WebOS as long as it suits Apple’s agenda and they, in turn, give him ‘special access’ to the company, by his very own confession.

Microsoft and Apple fan sites are often built by people who are compensated for their effort by the companies they glorify. This corrupts trust.

Apple on Theora:

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