05.28.10

Novell’s Results Not Enough to Prevent Takeover

Posted in Finance, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Companies arguably see what’s coming and they stop buying Novell, leaving the company at Microsoft’s mercy and the hands of vulturous hedge funds

THE BIDDING is not public yet, but it is likely to become publicised next week, just like in the previous quarter. Yes, it is highly probable that Novell will be bought soon and Novell customers feel “nervous”, as reported the other day. Don’t take it from anecdotal evidence; here is Novell’s CFO talking about the issues more statistically:

Novell Inc. (NOVL US): Chief Financial Officer Dana Russell said customers are delaying some contract signings until they better understand the long-term prospects for the maker of Linux operating-system software. Novell has said it’s reviewing whether to sell itself.

Here is a transcript of Novell’s Earnings Call (sliced into three pages), here is an event announcement, and Novell’s press release about its results. UNIX/Linux expert Timothy from The Register has it covered and he goes beyond press releases and fluff sourced from Novell.

Whatever drama is going on at Novell in the boardroom — where the company is apparently soliciting takeover offers from up to 20 different prospective buyers — it has spilled over into the company’s financial results.

[...]

In a call with Wall Street analysts, Dana Russell, Novell’s chief financial officer, said that fiscal Q2 revenues were in line with expectations and profits came in at the high end of the range. Linux bookings were down 3 per cent and Linux invoicing was down 1 per cent in the quarter, with a tough compare because so many Microsoft shops cashed in their SUSE Linux certificates in the year ago quarter.

Excluding these Microsoft deals, Russell said that the SUSE Linux invoicing in the quarter was up 46 per cent compared to last year. But that seems to indicate how weak SUSE Linux sales were a year ago and how dependent Novell’s Linux biz is on what Microsoft customers do. Part of the problem is that Microsoft bought SUSE Linux licenses at 45 per cent of the then-current list price in 2007, and at current prices for SUSE Linux support, these licenses are renewing at something closer to 15 per cent of that original value. This makes the compares for the Linux biz doubly tough. But, Novell is optimistic as always. “We are pleased with the growth in our core business,” Russell said.

Novell is too Microsoft dependent. Red Hat sells GNU/Linux without this silly reliance on software patents tax and that is why Novell’s future looks neither so promising nor long. There is no reason to buy SLE* anymore.

Some additional references are added below.
____
[1] A Look Ahead to Novell’s Earnings Announcement; NOVL, SYMC, MFE, ASIA

[2] Novell (NOVL) Expected TO Report Q1 Earnings Of $0.07 Per Share

[3] Macquarie Maintains Bullish Stance on Novell (NOVL) Into Q2 Results

[4] How to Make Money During Market Corrections: M&A Plays

It’s certainly not reasonable to assume that NOVL’s final buyout price will be affected much by the market dropping on a given day. Therefore, on days like this I tend to buy more NOVL.

[5] Ahead Of Novell’s Q2 Report (also here)

[6] Novell, Guess Trade Higher Ahead of Earnings Reports Due After the Bell

[7] Notable Earnings After Thursday’s Close: GES, BCSI, JCG, NOVL, OVTI, SXE

Novell, Inc. (NASDAQ: NOVL) is scheduled to release its fiscal second-quarter earnings after the closing bell on Thursday, May 27, 2010. Analysts, on average, expect the company to report earnings of 7 cents per share on revenue of $204.85 million. In the year ago period, the company reported earnings of 8 cents per share on revenue of $215.60 million.

[8] Macquarie Research Sets $7.50 Price Target on Novell (Nasdaq: NOVL)

[9] Wall Street Set For Higher Start

After the markets close, Adaptec (ADPT), Diamond Foods (DMND), Guess (GES) and J Crew (JCG), Novell (NOVL) are among the major companies that are due to release their results.

[10] Novell (NOVL) Profits Rise, But Just Match Estimates

Novell Inc. (NASDAQ: NOVL) posted on Thursday fiscal second-quarter results mostly in-line with the market expectations, while also failing to impress investors with its guidance for the current quarter.

[11] Novell Inc. (NASDAQ:NOVL) Cautious

[12] Top NASDAQ Stocks to Watch (JCG, NOVL, AIG)

[13] Novell Reports a 28% Gain in Quarterly Profit

[14] Novell reports 28% profit gain

[15] Novell 2Q Profit Up 28% On Lower Expenses; Revenue, Margins Down

[16] Novell Q2 profit beats Street, sees weak Q3 rev

[17] Novell FY Q2 Revs Miss; Q3 View Below Estimates; Shrs Slip

[18] Viacom, Guess, Novell

[19] Novell Q2 Profit Rises; Guides Q3 – Quick Facts 2

[20] Novell, Inc. Reports Q2 2010 Earnings, Net Revenue Down from Last Year (NOVL) (also here)

[21] Novell 2Q Profit, 3Q Revenue View In Line With Expectations

[22] Novell Q2 Profit Rises 25%; Sees Q3 Revenue Below Consensus

[23] Novell (NOVL) Posts $19.9 Million 2nd Quarter Income

[24] After-Hours Movers 5/27: OVTI, ESL, LAVA, DITC, JCG Higher; BCSI, GES, NOVL, UPI Lower

[25] Earnings Recap: J Crew (JCG), Novell (NOVL), Blue Coat Systems (BCSI)

[26] After-Hours Earnings Roundup: GES, NOVL, JCG, BCSI, OVTI

[27] Novell posts higher 2Q profit but revenue slides (also here)

Operating costs fell 7 percent to $142.8 million.

[28] Novell Reports Q2 2010 Income of $20M

Links 28/5/2010: KDE 4.5 Features; OLPC XO-3

Posted in News Roundup at 11:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Five tips for desktop malware first responders

      2: Carry a Web-enabled smart phone and carry a big (16GB USB) stick

      Pay for that data plan. Get reasonably proficient with a favorite mobile browser. Store bookmarks. Most phones support flash cards where additional remediation software can be stored. Also, consider carrying a hefty USB drive containing favorite anti-malware utilities, if not a fully bootable OS with security tools on it, such as Slax.

    • Welcome to the world of free software

      Free operating system: Let’s start with the operating system (OS). A Microsoft OS is chosen by a majority of users as no retailer bothers to inform buyers about the free to load open source OSes like Red Hat, OpenSolaris or the most popular one, Ubuntu. A word of caution: If you are a newbie at open source, it might be advisable to get a technical expert to upload the OS.

      Cost Saving: An entry-level Microsoft OS would cost you between Rs 4,000 and Rs 14,000.

  • Server

    • From Obsolete Servers to Private Cloud in 3 Easy Steps

      1. Assemble the Pieces

      CentOS is the free version of the popular Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. It is a community-supported, mainly free, software operating system based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It exists to provide a free, enterprise-class computing platform, and it strives to maintain 100 percent binary compatibility. CentOS stands for Community ENTerprise Operating System.

      We knew that CentOS had clustering capabilities, so we installed it across all five of our servers. Once we patched them and hardened the servers, we used the native clustering functionality to run all five servers as one environment. The really nice thing here is that the enterprise investment in the RHCE certification for us was not wasted. Our server administrators already had the skills to carry out the architecture design, so right there we were able to avoid contractor or training expenses.

    • Wanted: Virtual Personal Email Servers
  • Audiocasts

  • Graphics Stack

    • Radeon “R600g” Gallium3D Driver Merged To Master

      Those owners of ATI Radeon HD 2000, 3000, and 4000 series (R600/700) graphics cards not only have a reason to celebrate today over the voltage adjustment support to improve their GPU power management, but there’s another reason too. The Radeon R600 Gallium3D driver known as “R600g” has been merged to Mesa’s mainline “master” code-base.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • KDE 4.5 beta brings window tiling, new notifications

        One of the additions that I’m particularly enthusiastic about is support for tiled window management in KDE’s KWin window manager. This feature allows users to snap windows together in non-overlapping arrangements and resize them together, much like the behavior of Ion and other tiled desktop environments. The feature was implemented as a Summer of Code project last year and was finally merged last month. I’ve long been a fan of tiled window management, so I’ve been looking forward to seeing this feature land ever since work on it was started.

        KDE 4.5 is getting a new panel notification area that is designed to be more consistent and functional. This feature is based on a D-Bus protocol that the KDE development community has submitted to the FreeDesktop.org organization with the aim of making it a cross-desktop standard. Although the upstream GNOME community has rejected the protocol, it has been adopted by Canonical and is used to power the new application indicator feature that is included in Ubuntu 10.04.

  • Distributions

    • Sabayon 5.3 Progress, Get Involved with Testing, Bumps

      It must be about time for an update, tough to blog when summer is here. 5.3 is in the works and is at a RC2 status. Some of the changes include bug fixes of course, btrfs support, mono removed from grub and installer fixes. Keep in mind that btrfs is very young in development and should not be used in a stable environment. I did try it out in a virtual box setting and it seemed to work good for the little bit of time I worked with it. Mitch follows the progress of it and has been a good source for information. It sounds like in kernel 2.6.36 things will even be better for btrfs. I’ll have to try and keep an eye on it myself, seems promising.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • PCLinuxOS

        The fact that I really like about PCLinuxOS is its small community with great connection between one another. I can always reach to its developers easily. I know who is working on the distro that you are using. This is a great advantages for me to learn about Linux and grow to love it. I learned about packaging even though I seldom practice it.

    • Ubuntu

      • Guitars to Goat Festivals – Ubuntu For All!

        Pete found a local place, B-Sharp Music.Pete started talking to the owner Stan, who as it turned out is an advocate of Open Source. After they talked and he took a look at Ubuntu, he switched his computers over to Ubuntu. Karmic at the time, but now Lucid. Stan also asked for some CD’s and fliers so that when people asked what he was running on the computers in the music store he could tell them and help them switch to Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Pandora Open Source, Linux-based Handheld Game Console Now Shipping

      Pandora is also designed for the emulation of older computer systems and video game consoles. It has working emulators for Dreamcast, PlayStation, Nintendo 64, Amiga, SNES, Atari Jaguar and Sega Mega Drive software.

    • Nokia

      • Impressions of the latest MeeGo release

        MeeGo, in its first release, is pretty damn good, and this coming from a KDE loving maniac! It used to be Maemo, all Gtk in the backend, but now it is MeeGo with Qt (v4.6) as its backend now with a really nice MeeGo API as well. With MeeGo using Qt, KDE apps and Qt apps integrate nicely. What I don’t get is this, why in the hell are all of the Apps Gtk-based then? Chromium, OK I can understand, it is an amazing browser, and my browser of choice right now. Banshee? I think Amarok would have been a better app for media. Evolution? Oh hell no! I would rather they ship Mutt. You want me to say KMail or Kontact don’t you? Well I won’t, just yet. If I used POP3 for email, then yes, KMail/Kontact for the win! But seeing as I am lazy and use GMail’s IMAP settings, KMail needs help here. Thunderbird seems like a good choice, but for what I am guessing to be as a netbook operating system for those who aren’t hardcore mostly, I would think KMail/Kontact would be perfect. You can’t beat Kontact’s tight integration, you can’t, so don’t even try to argue that. Empathy is nice and light, so I understand it, even though I do not like it. I would have loved to have seen Kopete here, especially with its Skype plugin.

        Overall though, I am still impressed with MeeGo, though I don’t think it is my replacement for the KDE Plasma Netbook Workspace. I think it is a perfectly fine solution for many though, and I am excited to see the ongoing work that is going into it. I know a few of the developers and I know they will be doing an amazing job on it in the future, especially as it starts getting on the more mobile devices out there. It uses Yum/RPM, which took me a few minutes to get used to again, but package management was as fast as I am used to when using APT or some other Debian package manager.

        Good job MeeGo devs, and keep up the good work! I am fairly certain my review here sucked, so if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask them in the comments section, or email me at nixternal AT gmail DOT com, or even hit me up on IRC (freenode) as nixternal.

    • Android

      • Key WebOS developer jumps ship to Team Android

        Departure of Palm’s Matias Duarte may signal a vote of no confidence in HP’s ability to compete on mobile

      • Top 10 Android 2.2 Features Developers Can’t Wait to Use

        Android 2.2 (codename: Froyo) is a minor SDK release, but it still packs some punch, providing both developers and users with some much-anticipated features. After attending the Google I/O conference and witnessing the Froyo announcement, here are the top ten features (in no particular order) that we think developers cannot wait to get their hands on.

    • OLPC

      • One Laptop Per Child Revamps Tablet Plans

        The One Laptop Per Child foundation’s aim to create the world’s most innovative tablet computer for the developing world just took a giant leap toward reality. But as is often the case, reality may not be quite as exciting as imagination.

        On Thursday the foundation announced a partnership with chip maker Marvell to collaborate on a sleek and cheap touch-screen tablet for developing-world school children, a device it now plans to launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in January 2011 for less than $100. One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) says that’s close to two years ahead of its scheduled release for the so-called XO-3, the long-awaited upgrade to the non-profit’s XO, the so-called “hundred-dollar laptop” launched in 2007.

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Thriving FOSS Community on the North

    Living in Sweden, conferences usually include travelling abroad. This is all fun, but it also means spending time away from family and work. This in turn means catching up on work, i.e. spending even less time with the family. Not exactly what I want to do all my life.

    Recently this has changed. First of all, the free community conference FSCONS (held in Gothenburn Sweden), has gained more and more technical content (without losing the free community angle!). This means that it is more and more attractive to my flavour of geeks. This year, in November, they are even pursuing an embedded track and I definitively plan on both attending and speaking!

  • Why Open Source Makes Sense: Scientifically Proven

    Check out this video below. Its basically an animation about an MIT social experiment, where sociologist found a bizarre pattern when it came to work and incentives. When the task at hand was a mundane and a repetitive task, money was found as perfect incentive. However, when the task required “rudimentary cognitive” skills, money, it turns out, wasn’t the best incentive. This makes perfect sense when we look at the amazing open source projects out there. From Linux to Wikipedia to Open Street Map, all these project tap into this basic human behavior.

  • Open source pays off for TimeTrex

    Many open source businesses have a multi-tiered product model, offering an open source version for free and a closed source version with extra features that users have to pay for. TimeTrex, a Canadian company that offers a web-based payroll and time management application, offers free Standard and commercial Business and Professional editions of its TimeTrex software, but all of them are open source. “Having a freely available edition allows potential customers to test out the software without any restrictions before deciding if they require support or features available in our other products,” says developer Jon Hutchison.

  • Free as in Speech

    • Wiki As an Example to Demystify Cloud Computing

      Cloud computing is supposed to save you money and make things easier for your business/organization. If a self-proclaimed cloud computing provider tries to sell you some expensive and fancy new technology that requires a lot of training on your employees, then be alerted that this may just be a hoax. Try partially replacing MS Word and Frontpage with wiki before buying any cloud solutions. Wiki is a minuscule, and yet most used form of cloud computing. It takes more cultural changes than monetary investment to introduce cloud computing into your organization/business. You can forget about cloud computing if your employees cannot get accustomed to this new culture of transparency, participation, and democracy.

    • Openness, transparency, and community: The future of commenting on the web

      But should that be the default for the entire web? Is complete openness always the best way? Are there valid reasons for completely closing comments (as a policy, not for specific posts) on a news site like NPR? What about the heavy policing implied in this comment? At the very least, shouldn’t it be more transparent–visible comment deletions, and reasons given to banned users?

    • What is “open source”? (And why should you care?)

      Although the term gets used quite a lot in technology circles, there is often some confusion about exactly what it means, particularly when it comes to questions of whether or not software that is “open source” is necessarily “free.” In an oft-repeated saying, open source is free as in “free speech” not free as in “free beer.” In other words, it is meant to be open and accessible, but that doesn’t necessarily come without a price-tag.

      In other words, open source is a practice that opens up the source (in the case of technology, this is typically the source code) so that others beyond the original creators can develop, expand, and modify the code. Unlike proprietary systems in which you are forbidden to “open the hood” to tinker with the moving parts, open source allows anyone to download the code and then alter it without restriction or fear of punishment.

  • Databases

    • CouchDB Moves to the Cloud With Couchio

      According to its motto, the underlying premise behind the open source CouchDB NoSQL database is about helping developers “relax” — chiefly by providing them with a simple, powerful database alternative.

  • Government

    • European Union lost open source decision C(2006) 7108

      A final version of the decision is not found in the register. In Europe you can file a request for public document access under the regulation EC/1049/2001 and usually get what you ask for. IDABC is now superceded by a new EU programme for interoperability, ISA. Apparently the Commission decision was later updated when the 1.1 version of the European Union Public License was approved. The EUPL is a wise choice for software from the public sector and enterprises as it is the legally best reviewed license for European market jurisdictions, available in all EU languages, it does not contain a political agenda and is compatible to most common licenses such as the GPL.

  • Open Hardware

    • Five Reasons Willow Garage is Going to Succeed

      4. Willow Garage is community first, personal gain second. The whole company is focused on how they can work with the global community to advance the field of robotics as a whole. This is largely expressed in the open source licensing of everything they do, and their insistence that everyone who uses the PR2 follow the same open sharing. Even more than that, it’s apparent in their attitudes. Keenan Wyrobek, Co-Director of Personal Robotics, freely admitted that other groups are working on PR2 like robots, and may soon make them cheaper and perhaps even better. He liked this idea. He wants other groups to innovate, to expand, and to improve the field of robotics. It’s cooperation first, competition later.

  • Programming

    • Dynamic Open Source Languages Head to the Cloud

      According to a poll conducted by analyst firm Redmonk and sponsored by dynamic language vendor ActiveState, over half of the developers surveyed have deployment plans for cloud applications within the next 12 months. Those cloud deployments are likely to be a hybrid of both public and private cloud platforms, according to 37 percent of respondents.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • WebM – The New Open Source Codec on the Block

      In August 2009, Google acquired codec developer On2 Technologies for a rumoured $106 million. The flagship On2 codec was VP8 and it was also rumoured at the time that Google may open source this technology in the future, although a number of challenges lay ahead.

      Late last week this rumour became reality and WebM was born. Alongside Theora and Dirac, WebM now enters the open source HTML 5 ready codec battle. Almost immediately all major web browsers, except one, but including Internet Explorer announced support for the codec. Using the might and muscle of Google WebM must have a solid chance of taking on the dominance of H.264 in the web video delivery battle. This really will be a solid kick in the pants for Theora, which now seems destined to remain a reasonably niche product, even with direct HTML 5 support from Firefox.

    • VLC 1.1.0 Release Candidate supports WebM / VP8

      The VideoLAN Project developers have announced the availability of a release candidate for version 1.1, the next major release, of their popular VLC Media Player. According to the developers, the latest 1.1 branch of VLC is much faster and more stable, thanks in part to a substantial amount of “important code clean-up” and rewrites. VLC is a free open source cross-platform multimedia player for various audio and video formats.

    • Mozilla trying to build VP8 into HTML5 video

      Mozilla is working to incorporate Google’s newly released VP8 video technology as part of the specification for Web video.

      “That’s our hope,” said Mozilla Chief Executive John Lilly when asked if VP8 could be built into the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) specification for Web-based video. “We’d love for VP8 to be specified in the HTML5 standard. Once it’s in the spec, it can really get better traction from other players.”

    • Intel eyes hardware acceleration for Google’s WebM

      Google last week announced the high-definition WebM video file format to deliver high-quality Web video to multiple devices including TV sets and handhelds. WebM files will include video streams compressed with the open-source VP8 video codec, which was acquired by Google when it bought On2 Technologies in February.

      “Just like we did with other codecs like MPEG2, H.264 & VC1, if VP8 establishes itself in the Smart TV space, we will add it to our [hardware] decoders,” said Wilfred Martis, general manager for retail consumer electronics at Intel’s Digital Home Group.

Leftovers

  • UK

    • The EGM debate: BCS v Len Keighley

      The BCS is facing a call for an Extraordinary General Meeting from 50 BCS members. Supporters of the EGM motion, led by former BCS trustee Len Keighley, have listed 20 reasons for suppporting the EGM. In the debate below, the BCS and Len Keighley put forward their arguments for and against the EGM.

    • A search wall for UK Times

      The UK’s Times and Sunday Times are putting up search walls in addition to pay walls.

      The papers, which plan to start charging users for access to their newly redesigned Web sites in late June, will prevent Google and other search engines from linking to their stories.

  • Science

  • Security/Aggression

    • Identity cards scheme will be axed ‘within 100 days’

      The 15,000 people who voluntarily paid £30 for a card since the 2009 roll out in Manchester will not get a refund.

    • New proposal would require identification to buy prepaid cellphones

      A bipartisan pair of Senate leaders have introduced a first-of-its-kind bill aimed at stopping terrorist suspects such as the would-be Times Square bomber from hiding their identities by using prepaid cellphones to plot their attacks.

    • CERT Releases Basic Fuzzing Framework

      Carnegie Mellon University’s CERT (Computer Emergency Response Team) has released a basic fuzzing framework to help identify and eliminate security vulnerabilities from software products.

    • 44 Million Stolen Gaming Credentials Uncovered

      In previous blogs, Symantec has highlighted threats that steal user data. We recently analyzed a new sample submitted to Symantec and came across a server hosting the credentials of 44 million stolen gaming accounts. What was interesting about this threat wasn’t just the sheer number of stolen accounts, but that the accounts were being validated by a Trojan distributed to compromised computers. Symantec detects this threat as Trojan.Loginck.

  • Environment

    • Obama defends handling of gulf oil spill

      As BP continued its effort to gain control of its untamed deep-sea well, President Obama announced more restrictions on offshore oil drilling Thursday and insisted his administration is firmly in charge of the response to the spill, now believed to be the largest in U.S. history.

  • Finance

    • Mathematical Logic Finds Unexpected Application on Wall Street

      The monetary advantage of the current strategy is rapidly exhausted after a lifetime of approximately four seconds–an eternity for a machine, but barely enough time for a human to begin to comprehend what happened. The algorithm then switches to another trading strategy of higher ordinal rank, and uses this for a few seconds on one or more electronic exchanges, and so on, while opponent algorithms attempt the same maneuvers, risking billions of dollars in the process.

  • Genetics

    • Prof. Correa in Munich – Jul 19 2010

      In the past decade, an increasing number of patents on plants and animals have been granted, especially in industrialised countries. The negative impacts of these patents on farmers, on breeders and on innovation have became more and more evident during the last years, as has the patents’ contribution to market concentration. There is a growing rejection of these patents by NGOs, farmers’ organizations, breeders and even governments. The conference “Patents on Seeds – The turning point?” shows current trends, highlights the negative impacts of the current patent system. Conference participants will discuss what the necessary changes are and what the possibilities are to effect such changes.

    • Genetically Engineered Bugs Can Smell Blue Light

      Fruit fly larvae made this mistake while participating in a study recently published in Frontiers in Neuroscience Behavior. By adding a light-sensitive protein to certain smell receptors in the larvae, German scientists allowed the genetically engineered bugs to essentially smell light.

  • Copyrights

  • ACTA

    • Tell Your Lawmakers: “Anti-Counterfeiting” Treaty Is a Sham

      ACTA is being negotiated by a handful of countries behind closed doors and is on track to be finished by the end of this year. Despite its potentially far-reaching impact for consumers and the future of the open Internet, the U.S. Trade Representative has claimed that it can shut out Congressional oversight by treating ACTA as a “sole executive agreement” under the President’s executive power, rather than a treaty.

      We can’t sit back and let this fake “anti-counterfeiting” agreement become law! If your congressional representative is on one of the committees below that has oversight over the U.S. Trade Representative, tell your lawmaker not to be fooled by this chicanery and demand that ACTA be limited to addressing international counterfeiting.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – VE – Systems (10/16/2003)


Novell for Sale: Impact on OpenSUSE, Mono, and SCO

Posted in GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, SCO at 7:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dog with a sign

Summary: Novell is “acting as a lap-dog and providing Microsoft with good PR while simultaneously dividing and hurting the FLOSS community,” argues The Source, which sees no substantial future for Novell’s projects

THE SOURCE has just published an excellent analysis (as always) of Novell’s situation now that it's up for sale. The impact on projects like OpenSUSE, Mono, and Moonlight is also mentioned. To quote some portions:

Right, so, Novell is up for sale and there’s a couple dozen potential buyers.

First, let me tell you what is not going to happen:

Microsoft is not going to buy Novell.

Novell has served their purpose to Microsoft, which is basically acting as a lap-dog and providing Microsoft with good PR while simultaneously dividing and hurting the FLOSS community.

Microsoft could not have hoped for a better partner in the Open Source space, but Novell is of ever-diminishing use to their Redmond masters: anyone naïve enough to accept Microsoft’s “golly-gee-we’ve-changed” overtures has done so and Microsoft is now backing off “interoperability” talk and going back to the “customers just want one solution from one provider” strategy in public (which they never changed in private, mind you.)

Furthermore, Microsoft wants nothing to do directly with selling Linux. Novell served as a DMZ between the GPL and Microsoft, and staring across a DMZ is about as close to Linux as Microsoft wants to get. Microsoft is not about to get into the business of directly distributing/selling/supporting Linux.

[...]

OpenSUSE is greatly diminished under this scenario: as a community-only distro and without corporate backing, it’s looking at the bottom end of the Top 10 List. With Novell’s stained name out of the picture, OpenSUSE may become acceptable to people who actually care about FLOSS, so I won’t count it out of the picture.

Team Apologista takes a major hit, but sadly probably not a finishing blow. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Mono-based spinoff. There’s money to be made there and Lord knows Team Apologista has some players with personal, professional and emotional investment in Mono that guarantees they won’t be giving up that fight.

Yesterday we explained why OpenSUSE developers ought to fork and rename. “SUSE” is just too tainted a name after the Microsoft association (the Microsoft boosters promote this relationship even after the patent vouchers ran out), although technically it is a powerful distribution with a new release coming soon. One of the best things about SUSE is YaST, which has this new article about it:

Continuing with our look into OpenSuSE, we examine YaST. One of the best things going for OpenSuSE (and SuSE as well) is their take on the tried and true “control panal” YaST. YaST is, quite literally, a one-stop-shop for configuring Linux. Among the cornucopia of Linux configuration tools, YaST might very well be the top of the heap. It’s really that good. And with reason. YaST has been around for a long, long time, so it’s had plenty of time to mature.

One must also wonder what Novell’s situation will mean to the SCO case. Pelican is being brought up again (for background see [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]) and it seems like SCO will continue fighting against Novell without much interference. What would happen if Novell’s new owner decided not to bother with the SCO case anymore?

Added below are some other bits of news about Novell. We will shortly cover the company’s financial results.
_____
[1] Nuance, Novell Veteran Takes Channel Reins At Meru Networks

“I remember Eric Schmidt when he’d just joined Novell, and I remember him saying, walking around, ‘There’s more technology oozing out of the offices around here’ than he’d ever seen before,” Cole said. “I see that at Meru in a different way, with solutions. With my solutions background, it’s like a kid being in a candy store around here.”

[2] Former A&M star joins senior PGA field

Veriato, 64, is a former Texas A&M standout who won the 2001 Novell Utah Showdown on the Champions Tour. The ex-head pro at Onion Creek Country Club in Austin was the 1996 PGA Senior Club Professional Player of the Year.

[3] PDS Wins Novell Partner of the Year in End-User Computing Category (also here)

[4] Heads in the Cloud at Gov 2.0

Equally enthusiastic about cloud computing was Randi Levin, CTO of Los Angeles, who ditched the city’s Novell collaboration software for Google’s enterprise solution last year — a decision, she says, that will save the city $5 million “in cash” over three to five years (the cost of the contract is $7.25 million over five years).

Prior to switching to Google, the Los Angeles Information Technology Agency (ITA) was using Novell GroupWise 7, but citizens complained about the email system and calendaring — and the city was dealing with a budget crisis.

[5] Novell to offer identity management with Verizon

MeeGo is Hijacked by the Mono Team

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mee gnu

Summary: Novell/Microsoft influence in MeeGo is threatening Nokia and Intel with software patents tax

A MICROSOFT MVP seems to be confirming what we feared 3 months ago and knew after Lyle warned us yesterday. Here is what Lyle told us an hour ago:

Techrights logo

May 28th, 2010 – 11:08:47-12:21:56

lyle schestowitz: did you see about MeeGo? May 28 11:08
lyle it’s contaminated by MONO :( May 28 11:08
oiaohm How lyle May 28 11:09
lyle it comes with banshee by default May 28 11:09
lyle and comes with mono compiler May 28 11:09
lyle but no gcc May 28 11:09
oiaohm meego 1.0 has gcc in it. May 28 11:10
lyle my copy doesn’t May 28 11:10
lyle I’m using LiveCD May 28 11:10
lyle is that what you are using? May 28 11:10
lyle meego-netbook-ia32-1.0.0.20100524.1.img May 28 11:11
lyle there’s no gcc May 28 11:12
oiaohm That is a 800 meg image ? May 28 11:13
lyle yea May 28 11:13
lyle is there a different one with gcc? May 28 11:13
oiaohm I have development straith out git May 28 11:14
lyle I’m sure I can install it after the fact, but the LiveCD doesn’t have it May 28 11:14
oiaohm What gets me is straight out git does not have mono. May 28 11:15
lyle weird May 28 11:15
oiaohm At all May 28 11:15
lyle seriously, try the LiveCD – you will see MONO May 28 11:16
lyle what media player does meego have in git? May 28 11:16
lyle rhythmbox? May 28 11:16
lyle I think I see my boss May 28 11:17
lyle finally May 28 11:17
lyle yep, that’s him May 28 11:17
lyle what media player does your mego git have oiaohm? May 28 11:18
oiaohm QT based one. May 28 11:18
lyle I wonder what player got pushed aside May 28 11:18
oiaohm As I say wiered. May 28 11:18
lyle did MONO boosters hijack the project at the last minute and force their MONO into meego? May 28 11:20
lyle maybe that explains it May 28 11:20
MinceR are the image and the git repo from the same site? May 28 11:20
oiaohm Yes May 28 11:21
lyle I got it from meego.com May 28 11:21
oiaohm And he is right. May 28 11:21
oiaohm Question now is why. May 28 11:21
lyle btw, just saw this: http://tirania.org/blog/archive/2010/May-27.html May 28 11:22
Techrights Title: Linux for Consumers: MeeGo Updates – Miguel de Icaza .::. Size~: 16.62 KB May 28 11:22
lyle this is worrying May 28 11:22
oiaohm Wound not been pulled in by evolution would it not. May 28 11:22
lyle banshee is MONO too May 28 11:22
lyle btw gotta go, shop opened up – gotta get to work May 28 11:23
lyle would love to find out wtf happened tho May 28 11:23
lyle good luck guys May 28 11:23
*lyle has quit (Quit: Page closed) May 28 11:24
-BNtwitter/#boycottnovell-[schestowitz] #Microsoft is Not an Open Source Company, It’s a Software Patents Company With Lobbyists http://ur1.ca/040wz #swpats May 28 11:48
Techrights Title: Microsoft is Not an Open Source Company, Its a Software Patents Company With Lobbyists | Techrights .::. Size~: 107.97 KB May 28 11:48
oiaohm Posted question to meego developers over mono.  schestowitz May 28 12:13
schestowitz Hey May 28 12:14
schestowitz I’m working on a post about it May 28 12:14
schestowitz Remember Moblin May 28 12:14
oiaohm banshee included as a sample app cased the include. May 28 12:14
schestowitz OpenSUSE+mono has their grubby hands on it. May 28 12:14
schestowitz Banchee is a big patent trap May 28 12:15
schestowitz More so then others May 28 12:15
oiaohm Mono might magically disappear. May 28 12:15
schestowitz It contains libs that Microsoft /EXPLICITLY/ excluded May 28 12:15
oiaohm Or there might be an agreement with Intel that covers mono. May 28 12:15
schestowitz So we already know that Microsoft uses Banshee as a Trojan May 28 12:15
schestowitz oiaohm: yes, that’s what I reckoned May 28 12:16
oiaohm I want to find out what is there. May 28 12:16
schestowitz Intel must be x-licensing w/ Microsoft already May 28 12:16
schestowitz Same with H-P May 28 12:16
schestowitz But… May 28 12:16
oiaohm Depends on how its licenced. May 28 12:16
*Python1320 (Python1320@dsl-tkubrasgw1-fe2cdc00-164.dhcp.inet.fi) has joined #boycottnovell May 28 12:16
*Python1320 has quit (Changing host) May 28 12:16
*Python1320 (Python1320@unaffiliated/python1320) has joined #boycottnovell May 28 12:16
schestowitz Nokia’s Ari said Nokia would defend against Microsoft swpats attack May 28 12:16
oiaohm Novell one suxs for downstream. May 28 12:16
schestowitz So I’m mildly baffled May 28 12:16
schestowitz Mixed msgs May 28 12:16
oiaohm If Intel one is good for downstream. May 28 12:17
oiaohm We might have a mono solution that makes everyone bar Novell happy. May 28 12:17
MinceR oiaohm: how? May 28 12:19
oiaohm If intel has a downstream protection agreement it can be exploited. May 28 12:21

Mono is a threat to software freedom. Join us now at the IRC channel where the subject is being actively discussed.

Two Questions: Will Steve Ballmer Leave and Did He Make Bach/Allard Leave?

Posted in Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 6:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USS Stewart sinking

Summary: Unanswered questions about what happened behind the scenes and what’s deeper inside people’s minds

THE FAILURE of Windows continues to this date with caricatures and evidence that not much has changed. Windows Vista — as terrible as it was — brought a lot more income than Vista 7 and Microsoft’s value is sinking like a rock (it has just fallen below Apple's).

One blogger compares Microsoft’s failure to the post-IBM era and OStatic asks, “Will Microsoft Crumble In The New Era Of Tech Threats?”

These are good points, but it’s also worth asking whether Microsoft really needs “dramatic changes in direction” to remain viable.

Several days ago we wrote about the latest Microsoft exodus and here is the full text of Allard’s goodbye E-mail (a Microsoft president fled along with him).

This new article suggests that Ballmer may leave or be forced to leave the CEO position:

—Was Bach fired? Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) insists Bach was not forced out and instead is retiring; Bach also tells TechFlash in an interview that it’s a “pure coincidence” that he decided to move on at the same time as E&D CTO J Allard. But considering the division’s recent travails and that Ballmer himself will now take direct control over Microsoft’s mobile and gaming efforts, it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to think Ballmer may have pushed Bach out or at least didn’t put up much of a fight when Bach told him he was going to leave. If so, that suggests—ominously—that Ballmer may not have had much confidence in some of E&D’s recent and upcoming product launches, including the Kin phone for teens and the forthcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system.

[...]

—Who succeeds Ballmer as CEO? Ballmer is only 54 and has the support of chairman Bill Gates, but he has now been Microsoft’s CEO for 10 years and has had a decidedly mixed tenure. Bach had been mentioned as a successor to Ballmer in the past. Bach’s departure would seem to leave chief operating officer Kevin Turner or the widely respected Steven Sinofsky, who leads the company’s Windows division, as the most likely successors. Indeed, there were rumors earlier this year that Sinofsky would be given oversight of Windows Mobile in addition to Windows—something which could still potentially happen.

Canonical’s COO has this to say:

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has a new job: overseeing the company’s entertainment and mobile businesses in the wake of high-profile executive departures. It’s not the first time Ballmer has taken the reins of struggling business units, having managed the Windows and Internet search businesses directly at different times, but arguably Microsoft doesn’t need new management.

Did Ballmer actually fire or pressure for departure?

Ballmer’s strategy is classic Microsoft: punish and intimidate with a bold reorganization of the company’s struggling hardware unit.

Rupert Murdoch’s press points out that “Since Mr. Ballmer took over from Bill Gates as CEO in January 2000, Microsoft’s market value has more than halved from $556 billion to Wednesday’s close of $219 billion. Rival Apple’s market value has surged from $15.6 billion to $221 billion over the same period.”

Microsoft seems to have been busy hijacking other companies*. It is already ruining Yahoo!’s name and therefore engagement, right after it got rid of the talent inside the company (mostly Free software contributors on the engineering side). The question is, how much damage will Microsoft cause before it becomes the next McDonnell Douglas?
____
* The previous post reminds that Microsoft is also trying to hijack “Open Source”.

Microsoft is Not an Open Source Company, It’s a Software Patents Company With Lobbyists

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Interoperability, Microsoft, Windows, Xen at 5:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Ask the partner to give you heads up on customer situations – bribe them!”

Steve Winfield, Microsoft

Brian Behlendorf against Microsoft

Summary: How Microsoft’s money and unwatchable influence allow it to subvert laws in foreign jurisdictions while projects like Xen and Apache are paid money to keep quiet on the matter and occasionally defend Microsoft

Earlier this month we explained why Microsoft is the biggest enemy of “Open Source” and warned that IDG has a new spin blog (the “open source” blog in IDG is not pro-”open source”). This blog is currently peddling some hogwash from someone who is working for Citrix, Microsoft’s ally.

The message of appeasement is all too comforting, but Microsoft is not interested in it. Microsoft keeps suing, threatening, and lobbying to make “open source” illegal or impractical to use. A good example of Microsoft’s direct attack on “open source” is currently found in Europe, where Microsoft’s role is described under:

  1. European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Corrupted by Microsoft et al, Its Lobbyists
  2. Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications
  3. No Sense of Shame Left at Microsoft
  4. Lobbying Leads to Protest — the FFII and the FSFE Rise in Opposition to Subverted EIF
  5. IBM and Open Forum Europe Address European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Fiasco
  6. EIF Scrutinised, ODF Evolves, and Microsoft’s OOXML “Lies” Lead to Backlash from Danish Standards Committee
  7. Complaints About Perverted EIF Continue to Pile Up
  8. More Complaints About EIFv2 Abuse and Free Software FUD from General Electric (GE)
  9. Patents Roundup: Copyrighted SQL Queries, Microsoft Alliance with Company That Attacks F/OSS with Software Patents, Peer-to-Patent in Australia
  10. Microsoft Under Fire: Open Source Software Thematic Group Complains About EIFv2 Subversion, NHS Software Supplier Under Criminal Investigation
  11. British MEP Responds to Microsoft Lobby Against EIFv2; Microsoft’s Visible Technologies Infiltrates/Derails Forums Too
  12. Patents Roundup: Escalations in Europe, SAP Pretense, CCIA Goes Wrong, and IETF Opens Up
  13. Patents Roundup: Several Defeats for Bad Types of Patents, Apple Risks Embargo, and Microsoft Lobbies Europe Intensely
  14. Europeans Asked to Stop Microsoft’s Subversion of EIFv2 (European Interoperability Framework Version 2)
  15. Former Member of European Parliament Describes Microsoft “Coup in Process” in the European Commission
  16. Microsoft’s Battle to Consume — Not Obliterate — Open Source
  17. Patents Roundup: David Hammerstein on Microsoft Lobbying in Europe; Harrison Targets Lobbying on Software Patents in New Zealand, Justice Stevens Leaves SCOTUS

The EIFv2 is a fine example not only of Microsoft’s lobbying for software patents (almost all of Microsoft's patents are software patents) but also the company’s unethical activities that involve AstroTurfing, cronyism, and intimidation in other countries. This is a company which is not interested in producing technology; rather, it bends laws, overthrows opposition, and bribes with great pride.

The Free Software Foundation Europe has just updated its Web page which shows what Microsoft did to Europe’s digital agenda through its lobbyists, essentially rendering it useless, discriminatory, and unfair.

EIFv2: Tracking the loss of interoperability

[...]

From our analysis, we can conclude that in key places, the European Commission has taken on board only the comments made by the Business Software Alliance, a lobby group working on behalf of proprietary software vendors. At the same time, comments by groups working in favour of Free Software and Open Standards were neglected, e.g. those made by Open Forum Europe.

As we speak, Microsoft lobbies to legalise software patents in Europe. When it does not sue it intimidates in order to earn “protection money” as it so often gets in the far east (where software patents bear some legitimacy, as in the United States).

It is important to say “United States” and not “America” because south America rightly disregards many unjust monopolies, Mexico is fighting against software patents, and Wayne gives a Canadian’s perspective:

Richard Stallman, one of the truly elite software developers has spoken out many times about the dangers of software patents. Curiously those most in favor of software patents appear to be lawyers from the Patent Bar.

Here is the term “Americans” used loosely in the second part of this essay.

One issue is that Americans think that their patent system is the be all and end all, and that everyone else should imitate them. Curiously a lot of Americans even believe that their Constitution requires that a patent system exist, due to a misreading of it.

One famous case where the system in the United States was shown to be corruptible involved the FDA (Microsoft connection noted), which has a close relationship with Monsanto because employees are shared among the regulators and the regulated company. Here are some “corporate takeover videos” from GM Watch:

One of the greatest concerns about genetic engineering is the way in which it facilitates the corporate takeover of the food supply. These videos show how GM crops are removing the ability of farmers to freely use their own seeds or grow food in the way they choose.

Added below is a popular video which shows what happened to Monsanto in Canada (where it didn’t have enough insiders). This might as well teach us about the role Microsoft entryism has played over the years, even in the European Commission (we gave many examples). Things also changed for Xen when Microsoft put its hands on the project, brought it to its back yard, and put Microsoft managers in it. Matt Taibi famously described Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity”; perhaps Microsoft’s entryism is evidence that it became a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of IT just as Monsanto became a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of agriculture. Unless people emphasise a message of software freedom, Microsoft will continue its takeover of “open source” and suppress Free software, replacing it with software patents and so-called ‘interoperability’ that depends on them.

Eye on Apple: Monopolisation and GPL Violation

Posted in Apple, GPL at 4:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU eats Apple - delicious or a forbidden fruit?

Summary: The selfish, greedy side of Apple and what it means to people’s freedom

DOJ inquires about Apple’s hold on digital music [via]

The U.S. Department of Justice has begun asking questions about Apple’s role in the recent scaling back of special music discounts and promotions at Amazon, according to two high level music industry sources.

FSF: Apple’s iTunes Store terms of service at odds with GPL

The Free Software Foundation is up in arms over Apple’s iTunes Store Terms of Service, suggesting that these terms fundamentally conflict with the terms of the GNU Public License. The foundation has warned Apple that a version of GNU Go distributed by the App Store makes Apple liable to comply with GPL terms that allow free sharing of code, but warned that its “Usage Rules” violate those terms. The fallout could potentially affect any app that uses GPLed code.

Apple’s GPL Snafu and Opportunity

Apple is finding itself on wrong end of the Free Software Foundation (FSF). An iPhone port of GNU Go has made its way into the App Store, which is all good — except that the terms of the App Store conflict with the GNU General Public License.

Death by Foxconn

Foxconn is the largest contract manufacturer in China and the world, making products notably for Apple and for other American companies, too. The company has been in the news lately because of very public worker suicides by jumping from the factory roof.

Were these people worked to death? Were they worked insane? In one case was the suicide the result of a suspected leak of Apple intellectual property? What kind of sweat shop is Foxconn, anyway?

I don’t know and nether do you. What we do know is the annual suicide rate per 100,000 people in China is about 13.5, with slightly more women than men taking their own lives (the only major country where that is the case, by the way). That means the Foxconn factory, with 300,000 workers, ought to be experiencing almost 40 suicides per year, while the reported numbers are a lot less than that.

Links 28/5/2010: GNOME Shell 2.31.2, Ubuntu Redesigns

Posted in News Roundup at 4:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop (GNU/Linux Versus Windows)

    • Washing the windows myths. Ease of use.

      With the latest releases of both windows and Linux there is really not much to separate them in terms of ease of use and eye kandy. They both look really pretty at first glance and even have similar features. I would go so far as to say that both Linux and windows have “borrowed” ideas from each other. Personally I am quite happy with that as it makes it easier for people to migrate from windows to Linux ;P

    • World’s Funniest Windows Error Messages

      Since some people have learned to look at the bright or should I say funny side of life, they have decided to create something out of those error messages. They have Photoshopped or edited some Windows error messages and made them look so realistic to try to tickle our funny bone.

  • Server

    • Top 5 Free Linux Distributions for Servers in 2010

      1. Debian

      Surely a seasoned pro with more than a decade of development. The distribution is entirely based volunteers bound by Debian social contract. There are leaders elected annually from and by members of the Debian project.

      Those using the up-to-date and they age rapidly, especially since the new stable releases are only published. The users who prefer the latest packages and technologies are forced to use the potentially buggy Debian testing and unstable branches.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • LinuxCon Program Announced: This Year’s Themes

      It’s been a hectic few months narrowing down the content for this year’s LinuxCon. Craig Ross and I have been working on this schedule for what seems like years, but we are very proud to announce it today. You can find it here.

      I think the program has an amazing mix of business, operations and of course developer content that reflects the growing ecosystem that is Linux. I’m especially proud of the technical content that features many of the best minds behind the kernel and other upstream Linux projects. But LinuxCon is much more than just technical kernel topics: it also has content touching mobile computing, cloud and legal and business issues facing enterprise IT managers today. Linux is now becoming dominant in mobile and cloud computing so it’s no surprise LinuxCon’s content matches those themes.

    • LinuxCon 2010 Program and Schedule Announced
  • Graphics Stack

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Which Low Resource Linux Distribution Should You Use For Your Old Computer?

      If you have an old machine that no longer has an operating system, you don’t have to throw that machine away. You can put it to good use with an operating system that doesn’t require a fast processor or big disk drive. Fortunately there are plenty of Linux distributions that will work on your old hardware and run at fairly moderate speeds even if your machine is really old. There are quite a few Linux distributions that don’t demand too much resources so that your computer will run relatively fast.

      First of all, you need to stay away from distributions that use Gnome and KDE. These tend to use too many resources for old hardware and will cause the machine to lag way too much for basic applications. Look for these distributions that don’t use these graphical interfaces.

    • Measuring the popularity of distros – Part 2 Google Trends

      Here you can see that Linux Mint and PCLinuxOS do actually exist in Google’s eyes, but not compared to Ubuntu’s search rankings. Still they only have a fraction of the googles of OpenSUSE, which only has a fraction of the googles of Ubuntu.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Linux 2010 Spring background contest winners

        Here are the results of the contest Mandriva launched one month ago. Thanks everybody for your interest and for contributing, we had almost 150 photos submitted (rules were more strict this time for submission, explaining why submission pool was smaller).

        We had to pick 10 photos, choice was really hard. You will find below the 10 winners. Note that we have a 11th photo we wanted to add as we found it really nice (and it is from one of the 10 winners). Again congrats for all contributers and especially to the winners.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Szulik to step down as Red Hat chairman

        Matthew Szulik, chairman of Red Hat’s board of directors, is stepping down in August after his term expires, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

      • Fedora

        • Review: Fedora 13 “Goddard”

          As far as I am concerned, I consider Fedora a distro suited for experienced and advanced users, and Fedora13 is no exception.

        • Fedora 13

          Summary: Fedora 13 adds social media to the desktop, the GNOME Color Manager and numerous other updates and enhancements. It’s definitely worth an upgrade if you’re currently using Fedora 12.

          Rating: 3.5/5

        • Fedora 13: Boring yet Good

          Overall: 4/5 (Good)

        • Fedora Remix “Lucky13″ featuring mintMenu

          A few months ago, I talked about mintMenu being ported to Fedora. I was excited to see it happen. Using technologies such as Git and GitHub.com we can easily fork projects and keep track of the improvements and bug fixes done on each fork. Commits can be selectively applied and so the more our technologies are forked, the more momentum they get, the more communities provide feedback and ideas for them, and the faster they improve.

    • Ubuntu

      • Canonical, Ubuntu: We’re More Than Mark Shuttleworth

        Shuttleworth will need similar help to keep Canonical moving in the right direction, especially as new rivals potentially step in to acquire Novell and/or Mandriva.

      • Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04 can read your iPhone’s secrets
      • Design

        • The Challenge of Understanding Icons

          As these results suggest, our methodology should help us develop a systemic representation of icon attributes from which we can build a coherent design language and it promises to provide pointers to problem areas as it suggests alternative interpretations. Some of the learnings from this first effort…

        • The keyboard menu

          Quite often, designers work on a design for something they’re unlikely to use themselves. This is a situation I’ve found myself in the past few weeks, designing a new keyboard menu for Ubuntu.

          [...]

          At UDS earlier this month we discussed the new menu. We’d also like your feedback on the full specification, especially if you use input methods or multiple keyboard layouts.

        • New Ubuntu website live

          The official Ubuntu.com website has finally gone live with its new re-branded design.

      • Ubuntu Control Center

        • Contributing Back to Gnome?

          I was reading about the Ubuntu Control Center-UCC fever from a lot of blogs and twitter from people linked to the Ubuntu Community.

          The author did a very good job. He made glowing lights come out from people’s eyes staring at the application layout looking very Ubuntuish.

        • Ubuntu Control Center (ucc) – Simple tool for ubuntu administration

          Ubuntu Control Center or UCC is an application inspired by Mandriva Control Center and aims to centralize and organize in a simple and intuitive form the main configuration tools for Ubuntu distribution. UCC uses all the native applications already bundled with Ubuntu, but it also utilize some third-party apps like “Hardinfo”, “Boot-up Manager”, “GuFW” and “Font-Manager”.

        • Ubuntu Control Centre project aims to make System config simple
      • Reviews

        • Review: Ubuntu Unleased 2010 Edition: Covering 9.10 and 10.4
        • Karmic To Lucid – A Few Bumps

          Ubuntu improves a bit with each release. This release is no exception. I recommend that all Ubuntu users do the upgrade as long as their equipment permits it.

        • Review: Ubuntu 10.04 Server Edition

          KMS would be especially nice in a server environment without X installed.

        • Ubuntu 10.04 review

          We are in the middle of another release cycle. Folks in the community are busing updating their systems, and demoing distributions that hold promise. Should Ubuntu 10.04, Lucid Lynx, be on your demo list? I can’t answer that for you. The best I can do to help you decide, is present to you a list of features that should make you smile and also ones I think will not be good for your blood pressure.

      • Variants

        • Linux Mint 9: A Fresh Spin on Ubuntu

          In addition to the use of SLAB, Mint has its own Software Manager as well as its own Software Updater that look different and are more streamlined than Ubuntu’s. Mint also includes its own software/file backup tool.

        • Qimo 2.0 is now available!

          After much hard work, and some delay, we are pleased to bring your the second version of our popular Linux Desktop for Kids!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Nokia

      • MeeGo 1.0 (Moblin + Maemo) – Linux Based OS By Intel And Nokia – Has Been Released!

        ConnMan (which is sponsored by both Intel and Nokia) is used for connection management – application which Ubuntu will also use for its 10.10 Netbook Edition, as well as Telephony APIs (oFono) for telephony services.

      • MeeGo Netbook Performance: It’s Beating Ubuntu & Co

        Finally, we have our Bootchart numbers for the four distributions. With Fedora 13, prior to collecting the boot metrics, we set the GDM to automatically login to the GNOME desktop, since the three other desktops all use auto-logins as well.

        Fedora 13 had a boot time of 23 seconds, Moblin 2.1 had a boot time of 18.45 seconds, Ubuntu Netbook Remix 10.04 came in at 17.31 seconds, and MeeGo had a boot time of just 8.151 seconds.

    • Android

      • Motorola Shadow glimpsed in the wild: 4.1-inch screen, 8MP camera, OMAP3630 processor?

        Leave it to the very same poster who teased the Motorola Shadow’s Getting Started manual, wnrussell of Howard Forums, to provide a pretty clear shot of the device itself — yep, that’s a HDMI out port — and reveal some purported specs. Here’s the claimed technical details: 4.1-inch screen, TI OMAP 3630 processor (a 720MHz ARM Cortex A8), 8GB internal storage, 8 megapixel camera.

    • OLPC

      • $100 computing in 2010

        It’s time to take the old meme of $100 computing seriously.

      • OLPC’s Negroponte Says XO-3 Prototype Tablet Coming in 2010

        One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project founder Nicholas Negroponte said that the organization is accelerating its development of the XO-3 tablet computer and will have a working prototype by December 2010, two years ahead of projections. Negroponte said the final product would cost US$75.

      • One Laptop per Child and Marvell Join Forces to Redefine Tablet Computing for Students Around the World

        One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a global organization whose mission is to help provide every child in the world access to a modern education, and Marvell, a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, have agreed to jointly develop a family of next-generation OLPC XO tablet computers based on the Marvell® Moby reference design. This new partnership will provide designs and technologies to enable a range of new educational tablets, delivered by OLPC and other education industry leaders, aimed at schools in both the U.S. and developing markets. Marvell is also announcing today it has launched Mobylize, a campaign aimed at improving technology adoption in America’s classrooms.

      • The OLPC’s real importance is as a conversation starter

        The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) project is looking to launch a prototype of its XO-3 later this year. The real advantage of having the OLPC around is as a product conversation starter and design influence.

        IDG News Service reports that the OLPC is speeding up the development of the XO-3 tablet, which wasn’t supposed to land until 2012. The idea is that this tablet would cost $75. OLPC also provided details on its blog.

    • Tablets

      • Enterprise Mobility: Dell Streak Tablet, Unlike Apple iPad, Is Also a Phone, Supports Flash

        Dell introduced the Streak, a tablet with a 5-inch touch screen and the Android OS, May 25. Unlike the Apple iPad, the Streak is also a phone, offers multitasking and can support Adobe’s Flash for viewing video and animations. Its size, however, may give some consumers pause. Some analysts have called it an oversized Android smartphone targeted at high-end consumers wanting a tablet-style Web-browsing experience.

      • enTourage to Partner with The Douglas Stewart Company to Bring eDGe to Schools

        It houses two screens – one with an eInk display, and the other an LCD – for maximum functionality and flexibility. You can use one side exclusively to read, the other side exclusively as a tablet, or both sides to create a netbook-like experience. It would be perfect for students and teachers alike to use in a class-room (especially considering the cost of books and the probability that they’ll be beat up over a short period of time).

      • Via Says $100 Android Tablets Will Challenge the IPad This Year

        Via Technologies Inc., the Taiwanese computer-processor company, expects $100 tablet devices containing its chips to reach the U.S. in the second half of 2010, offering a cheaper alternative to the iPad.

        About five different models, ranging in price from $100 to $150, will be available, Richard Brown, vice president of marketing at Via, said in an interview. The new computers, made by the company’s Chinese customers, will run Google Inc.’s Android operating system.

    • Acer

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Makes a Difference

    The obvious reason to use open source software is cost savings, says Mark Madsen, president of market research firm Third Nature. But, whether you actually save when it comes to license and support costs is the question among many.

    Using public sources and vendor information, Madsen created a Pentaho-sponsored cost comparison report (“Lowering the Cost of Business Intelligence With Open Source”), comparing BI software and support costs from Pentaho, IBM (Cognos), MicroStrategy, Oracle and SAP (Business Objects).

  • An Open Source Principle: One Good Thing Leads To Another

    In open source, the idea that the endgame for a project won’t necessarily closely resemble the origin is a given, not a surprise. It’s part of the point of open source. If you look at what’s going on on the open source scene, now, you see this concept being played out all around.

  • The Contributor’s Code: What Should be Expected of FLOSS Contributors?

    Free and open source projects provide an amazing example of what volunteer contributors can do. While many folks are paid to work on open source, there’s still an enormous amount of work done by volunteers. Like any volunteer work, though, contributions can be disrupted by more pressing work and personal issues. What do, or should, contributors commit to when volunteering with a project?

  • Will an open source BitTorrent be good or bad?

    BitTorrent has decided to open source its new uTorrent protocol, which has now entered a public beta.

    The software is available at GitHub and the license can be viewed here. Reportedly this is the MIT License.

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla hires open-standards guru Celik

      Firefox parent company Mozilla Corp. has hired Tantek Çelik, a well-known figure in the developer and open-Web community, for the role of Web standards lead.

      But as Mozilla deals with internal issues and a continued threat from Google’s Chrome, where exactly does this hire fit in? CNET spoke with Çelik on Tuesday, on the eve of his first day at the new job, and rather than talking about keeping ahead of Chrome or dealing with Facebook’s increasing dominance, he said that what’s really in his crosshairs is the iPhone–and how pretty it makes everything.

  • Business

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • RMS: AMA

      Richard Stallman has agreed to answer your top ten questions. RMS will answer the top ten comments in this thread (using “best” comment sorting) as of 12pm ET on June 2nd. This will be a text only interview (no video). Ask him anything!

  • Government

    • TR: Ministry of Justice and law courts consider open source desktop

      Turkey’s ministry of Justice, all of its institutions and all law courts are considering to move or partly move to a complete open source desktop, according to judge Cengiz Tanrikulu. That migration would complete the implementation of an information system built on open source software, the National Judiciary Informatics System (UYAP, Ulusal Yargi Aği Projesi).

      Judge Tanrikulu, involved in the development of UYAP, said the government’s law offices are considering a move to Pardus, a Linux distribution primarily developed by Turkey’s Research Institute of Electronics and Cryptology. “We are already using OpenOffice on all of the desktops. We began using OpenOffice in 2007 and it has helped us to save billions.”

      The judge presented UYAP in Amsterdam in a workshop organised by NOiV, the Dutch government project on open standards and open source, on Wednesday.

      Development of UYAP started in 2000 with a document management system, built using open source components. It offers access to legal documents to civil workers at the ministry, at law courts, police, prisons, prosecution, Home Office and to the Land Registry. The system can also be accessed by any mobile phone.

  • Licensing

    • Google demands more openness from the Open Source Initiative

      Google’s open source programs manager, Chris DiBona has asked the Open Source Initiative to delay consideration of Google’s WebM license, and in doing so has called on the OSI to be more open. Specifically, DiBona said Google “will want a couple of changes to how OSI does licenses” and that he thinks “that OSI needs to be more open about its workings to retain credibility in the space”.

      DiBona statement came in response to Bruce Perens’ request for the OSI’s License Discuss mailing list to consider the WebM license introduced by Google for its VP8 video codec, and follows the declaration by Open Source Initiative board member, Simon Phipps, that WebM is “not open source”.

  • Openness

    • Over Bogus Industry Studies On Co

      CC Korea prepares “The 1st Shared Film Festival” for showing and sharing global movies with CC License. The festival, lasting from June 3 to June 9, will be held at Cine-maru located in Seoul, South Korea.

    • Open Data

      • What We Can Learn From the Guardian’s New Open Platform

        The Guardian isn’t the kind of tech-savvy enterprise one would normally look to for guidance on digital issues or Internet-related topics. For one thing, it’s not a startup — it’s a 190-year-old newspaper. And it’s not based in Palo Alto, Calif., but in London Manchester, England. The newspaper company, however, is doing something fairly revolutionary by simply changing the way it thinks about value creation and where that comes from in an online world.

      • DRM: Publishers don’t want it. So why?

        I should make it clear that although I campaign gently for Open Access publishing (as opposed to frenetically for Open Data) I accept that there are closed-access publishers. My concern there is that they make it clear what they are providing, what rights they have extracted from the author, what restrictions they have placed on the reader (sorry, enduser-customer) and whether they provide reasonable value for money. For example, a closed-access publisher usually has an Open Access option where authors can pay – in some cases this is very good value (e.g. Acta Crystallographica) and in others (ACS) it’s very poor (the freely visible material is not open and festooned with restrictions).

      • Open Government and open data

        In a classic example of the Broken Window Fallacy successive governments have regarded the data they, or government-supported monopolies such as the Post Office, collected as the government’s property to be monetised to the hilt. They have also kept many details of their own working practices secret. In this article I will deal with the case for as much openness as is possible in both these areas: government produced data and data about government.

        So, first on government produced data. The previous government had some good track record on the principles here, passing the Freedom of Information Act and setting up data.gov.uk. The principles were right here, but they failed to go the distance and truly change the attitudes embedded in government that data by default should be kept secret and only opened up when necessary. the incoming government need to work hard to change this attitude and free the data. Unless it is PII (see Lilian’s article on the challenges for the new government on privacy) government data should be free (as in speech). Very narrow lines requiring significant work to justify closure should be put in place otherwise.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Academia as a Commons

        The very mission and identity of academia is implicated in the future of digital technologies, the Internet and copyright law. At stake is the ability of colleges and universities to act as inter-generational stewards of knowledge… to assure that their own scholarly output is freely accessible and usable…. to curate knowledge in better ways and to disseminate it as broadly as possible….and to foster innovative research and learning.

    • Open Hardware

  • Programming

    • Django 1.2 Brings Security Improvements

      The Django Web framework got a major update this week with the release of Django 1.2 on Monday. This release brings some security improvements, better email handling, performance improvements, and better localization support.

    • [Eclipse:] Call for Participation

      We consider everyone who attends ESE to be a participant. When you come to the conference, you’re learning and teaching about Eclipse by attending the sessions, talking with colleagues, and joining in the networking at the social events.

Leftovers

  • Vulnerability contest – Find the oldest bug!
  • Zer01 Loses $43 Million Judgement For Vaporware

    Last summer we skeptically directed your attention to a carrier by the name of Zer01, which was promising users unlimited voice and data on smart phones for $69.95/month, without a contract. The service claimed to use a VoIP application to route all calls. According to the founders, the service tunneled over GSM networks, though Zer01 claimed to have their own IP network — and claimed to be using interconnect (roaming) agreements to make calls. In short, Zer01 was supposed to be a mobile virtual network enabler (MVNE).

  • The developer obsession with code names, 114 interesting examples

    So what kind of code names are developers out there coming up with? Here is a collection of code names for software products from companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, Canonical, Red Hat, Adobe, Mozilla, Automattic and more. We’ve tried to give some background information where possible. You’ll notice that some code name schemes are definitely more out there than others.

  • Wyoming judge blocks news stories on college trip

    In a rare move, a Wyoming judge has blocked two newspapers from publishing stories on an internal report about a college president’s trip to Costa Rica, saying the report was improperly taken and that releasing details could prompt the federal government to cut college grant money.

  • No Contempt, No Jail for Spamming a Judge

    The Chicago judge’s inbox was flooded with hundreds of messages, and his Blackberry froze. He promptly found Trudeau — who was being sued by the Federal Trade Commission — in contempt of court and sentenced him to jail. The term was stayed pending appeal.

  • Times Online Says Competitors Will Go Out Of Business Without A Paywall

    As Rupert Murdoch and News Corp. get ready to begin their latest paywall experiments with the Times of London and the Sunday Times, the company has revealed a few more details, and it looks like this particular paywall will be fairly complete. Unlike the WSJ, this won’t be a “leaky” paywall. The content will be opted out of Google, and there will be no way to get to it, unless you subscribe at the rather hefty price of £1 per day. What’s amazing is that the folks behind this experiment still think it’s going to be a huge success — even as nearly all of the papers’ competitors are remaining steadfastly free.

  • Revenue per Employee – Key Stats from Technology Companies
  • Science

    • X-51A races to hypersonic record

      The scramjet engine in the experimental aircraft burned for a little over three minutes at around 10 a.m. PDT Wednesday in a test range over the Pacific Ocean, pushing the X-51A to the hypersonic speed of Mach 5, or five times the speed of sound. That was the top speed reached by the aircraft in its brief flight, according to Boeing and press reports citing U.S. Air Force officials. (Editors’ note: A separate Air Force News Service report had initially cited a higher speed, but was amended to give the Mach 5 figure.)

    • Sony shows off super-flexible OLED display
    • Tracking the Ancestry of Corn Back 9,000 Years

      It is now growing season across the Corn Belt of the United States. Seeds that have just been sown will, with the right mixture of sunshine and rain, be knee-high plants by the Fourth of July and tall stalks with ears ripe for picking by late August.

      [...]

      But George W. Beadle, while a graduate student at Cornell University in the early 1930s, found that maize and teosinte had very similar chromosomes. Moreover, he made fertile hybrids between maize and teosinte that looked like intermediates between the two plants. He even reported that he could get teosinte kernels to pop. Dr. Beadle concluded that the two plants were members of the same species, with maize being the domesticated form of teosinte. Dr. Beadle went on to make other, more fundamental discoveries in genetics for which he shared the Nobel Prize in 1958. He later became chancellor and president of the University of Chicago.

  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment

    • Despite Moratorium, Drilling Projects Move Ahead

      In the days since President Obama announced a moratorium on permits for drilling new offshore oil wells and a halt to a controversial type of environmental waiver that was given to the Deepwater Horizon rig, at least seven new permits for various types of drilling and five environmental waivers have been granted, according to records.

    • Gov’t Subsidizes Deep-Water Drilling With Big Tax Breaks

      By now there’s little debate that the technology used to obtain oil in deeper waters was developed and rapidly put into use before safety technology could keep up. As we’ve noted, that’s a development that regulators allowed, despite their concerns.

    • Shifting BP’s Clean Up Costs to Consumers? Say It Ain’t So!

      Who is going to pay to clean up BP’s disastrous oil spill, besides BP? After all, they made $14 billion in profit last year alone. BP has asserted it will pay all “legitimate claims” for damages — talk about a lot of wiggle room there — but beyond actual cleanup costs, BP’s economic damage liability is legislatively, and outrageously, capped at $75 million, a pittance to a company that made 186 times that amount in profit in 2009. Senate Democrats attempted to increase the liability cap to $10 billion by proposing and passing a bill, but their efforts were thwarted by Senate Republicans. The current tally for the cleanup cost stands at $760 million, but that is surely understated.

    • More Reports of Illness Emerge Among Gulf Cleanup Workers

      Fishermen hired by BP to help with the oil spill cleanup in the Gulf of Mexico are coming down sick with “severe headaches, dizziness, nausea and difficulty breathing” after working long hours in oil- and dispersant-contaminated waters, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    • Crisis Commons releases open source oil spill reporting

      Crisis Commons has released a new open data initiative to enable response organizations to report from the oil spill. Oil Reporter allows response workers to capture and share data with the public as they respond to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

    • Deepwater Horizon Blowout: This is What the End of the Oil Age Looks Like

      There will be plenty of blame to go around, as events leading up to the fatal rig explosion are sorted out. Even if efforts to plug the gushing leak succeed sooner rather than later, the damage to the Gulf environment and to the economy of the region will be incalculable and will linger for years if not decades.

    • Push to teach “other side” of global warming heats up in Colorado’s Mesa County

      A national group that thinks global warming is “junk science” and that teaching it is unnecessarily scaring schoolchildren brought its first petition effort for “balanced education” to Mesa County Schools on Tuesday night.

      Rose Pugliese, an unsuccessful candidate for a District 51 school board seat in the last election, presented a petition with 700 signatures to the board asking that science teachers stop giving lessons on global warming.

    • Don’t Even Mention Global Warming to Kids

      A new group called “Balanced Education for Everyone”(BEE) is rolling out a national effort to stop the teaching of global warming in schools, calling it “unnecessary.”

    • Daily Dump: A Creative Commons Concept for Composting Worldwide

      Why throw away valuables as waste? That is the simple yet profound idea behind Daily Dump. As of May 2010 Daily Dump customers keep 4095.8 kgs of organic waste out of landfills every day. Simply because Daily Dump enables them to do so.

    • Protecting biodiversity reduces poverty in developing nations

      Among conservationists, policy-makers, and the public, there is great debate about whether the establishment of national parks and reserves in developing nations causes poverty or helps to alleviate it. While opponents claim that protected areas limit agricultural development and the harvesting of natural resources, supporters contend that protected areas generate tourism income and improve infrastructure in the surrounding areas. A new study in PNAS this week suggests that, in the long term, establishing protected areas in developing nations does reduce poverty in local communities.

  • Finance

    • E.U. Proposes Bank Levy to Pay for Future Crises

      A European Union official proposed Wednesday that member states tax banks to raise money for a fund that would be used specifically to manage future financial crises.

    • Geithner Sees Consensus on Finance Reform

      Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said in Berlin on Thursday that the United States and Europe were in “broad agreement” on the need for stricter market regulation but stressed that they would take different paths when necessary.

    • Creepy Pennsylvania Tax Agency Ad Goes Big Brother

      A threatening TV commercial appearing in Pennsylvania has residents of the state spooked by its “Orwellian” overtones, and critics are calling it a government attempt to scare delinquent citizens into paying back taxes.

    • Proposed Overhaul of Accounting Standards Contains Mark-to-Market Rule

      The group that sets corporate accounting standards proposed an overhaul Wednesday of the way lenders record the value of their assets, hoping that more stringent and consistent reporting rules might help avert another financial crisis.

    • Not Enough Skin in the Game

      There is a fifth way to improve the financial reform bill that has received scant notice. Both the House and Senate versions are almost identical on this point, because the authors of the pertinent section were evidently not familiar with current industry practice. The bills require that the packagers of asset-backed securities that fail to meet certain underwriting standards (which have yet to be specified) retain ownership of 5 percent of those securities. The basic idea is that by requiring issuers of subprime securities to have some “skin in the game” (a phrase used in the Senate bill summary), they will have the incentive to be more careful underwriters.

    • Down Under Consumers Leading the Way?

      The fees in question are honour and dishonour fees on overdrawn bank accounts and over-limit and late payment fees on credit cards. Financial Redress refers to these as “exception fees” and alleges that the banks have been charging customers an “unfair” amount. Customers are both individuals and businesses.

    • So Damn Little Money

      Or look at the lifetime contributions by the financial sector to (some) senators who voted for and against the Brown-Kaufman amendment, which would have imposed a hard size cap and a hard leverage cap on the biggest banks – over $2 million per senator by this one partial count.

      But wait. This is actually very little money considering what is at stake. For an individual large firm actively engaged in derivatives trading, the stakes could easily be in the billions of dollars. For the big banks as a whole, the amount they will be allowed to earn (and pay themselves) as a result of the failure of these financial reforms is – conservatively speaking – in the tens of billions of dollars.

    • Bank Fight Continues — Now It’s Lincoln v. Obama

      Not long after the financial crisis, it was clear that the “solutions” that would emerge from the administration would be weak. With Tim Geithner and Larry Summers in the driver’s seat it was clear that there would be no bold transformative vision, no “New Deal” for the 21st century, but tweaks like a “systemic risk regulator” that would somehow endow failed regulatory bodies with the foresight needed to predict the next crisis and the back bone needed to take decisive action.

    • Exclusive: US Probes Goldman’s Timberwolf Deal, Alleged Victim Says ‘Whole Thing Was Fraudulent Concoction

      The federal prosecutors investigating Goldman Sachs are focusing on Timberwolf, the infamous “shitty deal” repeatedly cited in a tense Senate hearing last month, according to people who have been contacted by the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office.

    • The Last Hold Out: Senator Blanche Lincoln Against 13 Bankers

      Legal authority against market manipulation would be greatly strengthened and there would be more protection for whistleblowers. And the kind of transaction that Goldman entered into with Greece – a swap transaction with the goal of reducing measured debt levels, effectively deceiving current and future investors, would become more clearly illegal. All of this is entirely reasonable and responsible – and completely opposed by the most powerful people on Wall Street.

      Of course, most of the anti-Lincoln fire has been directed against the idea that “swaps desks” would be “pushed out” to subsidiaries – i.e., the big broker-dealers could still engage in these transactions, but they would need to hold a great deal more capital against their exposures, thus making the activities significantly less profitable.

      It is striking that while Treasury argues that increasing capital is the way to go with regard to financial reform, they are adamantly opposed to what would amount to more reasonable capital levels at the heart of the derivatives business.

      This is beyond disappointing.

    • Goldman Sachs Girds for Battle With the SEC Over Fraud Case

      Goldman Sachs is preparing to file a full-blown, point-by-point defense against the fraud allegations filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, according to people familiar with the matter.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The smart paranoid’s guide to using Google

      Google is nearly everyone’s best friend. But have you ever stopped to think about just how much Google knows about you?

    • So, Why Do We Trust Google with Our Data?
    • Bordentown Mayor James Lynch Seeks to Shut Down BordenTownMayorReallySucks.com

      There’s so much wrong with Mayor Lynch’s resolution that I can’t quite get my head around it. Even if the gripe site has published false and defamatory statements about the mayor or his family, shutting down the entire site would not only be ham-handed, it would be blatantly unconstitutional.

    • Australia official: Google deliberately took Wi-Fi data

      It is hard to understand why some enterprising TV company hasn’t already created a game show called “Breach of Privacy.” This would entail people telling their stories of the most egregious ways in which their privacy was removed from them, with viewers voting for the winners.

    • Google Balks at Turning Over Private Internet Data to Regulators

      Google has balked at requests from regulators to surrender Internet data and fragments of e-mail messages that it collected from unsecured home wireless networks, saying it needed time to resolve legal issues.

    • European Commission seeks high privacy standards in EU-US data protection agreement

      The European Commission today adopted a draft mandate to negotiate a personal data protection agreement between the European Union and the United States when cooperating to fight terrorism or crime. The aim is to ensure a high level of protection of personal information like passenger data or financial information that is transferred as part of transatlantic cooperation in criminal matters. The agreement would enhance the right of citizens to access, rectify or delete data, where appropriate. EU citizens would receive a right to seek judicial redress in the US if their data is unlawfully processed. Independent public authorities would be given a stronger role in helping people exercise their privacy rights and in supervising transatlantic data transfers. The Council must approve the Commission’s negotiating mandate before talks can begin. The European Parliament will be fully informed at all stages of the negotiations and will have to give its consent to the outcome of the negotiations.

    • Guy Who Encouraged People To Commit Suicide Online Banned From The Internet

      While there’s no way to defend what this guy did, so far this whole case seems to go in dangerous directions, both from the standpoint of free speech questions, as well as overly aggressive internet bans, due to one particular activity done on the internet.

    • Experts say censorship not the way to stop terrorists from recruiting online

      Censoring websites used by terrorist groups to recruit supporters is counterproductive, according to expert testimony on the Hill Wednesday.

      Any laws or regulations aimed at blocking or removing extremist web content could hamper law enforcement’s ability to collect information on the groups, according to civil liberties advocates at a hearing of the House Select Committee on Homeland Security.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Gameloft Keeps Getting it Wrong

      This time around we’ve learned that the DRM and app protection is unlike anything we’ve seen on the platform.

      Short version: Any games you purchase from them are good for only one install on one device. That’s it.

    • Blizzard boss says DRM is a waste of time

      His company – which is responsible for the biggest videogame of all time, the worryingly-addictive online fantasy role player World of Warcraft – is to release Starcraft 2 on July 27th and Pearce has told Videogamer that the title won’t be hobbled with the kind of crazy copy protection schemes which have made Ubisoft very unpopular in gaming circles of late.

    • Invasive DRM systems are dangerous from a security perspective

      In recent times, it seems to be an increasing trend for anti-copying software DRM systems to install invasive privileged software. For example, there’s the ever so infamous “Sony DRM Rootkit” that Mark Russinovich publicly exposed some time ago. Unfortunately, software like this is becoming commonplace nowadays.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • A Look At How The Fashion Industry Thrives Without Copyright

      The thing that disappointed me about the presentation, frankly, is that while it’s titled: “Lessons from fashion’s free culture” Blakely never really gets that deeply into the lessons. She does talk about a few other areas of creative endeavors where copyright is not allowed for the most part (recipes, cars, furniture, etc.) and has an amusing slide that compares the revenue generated in industries with copyright and those not protected by copyright (the “not protected by copyright” part vastly outweighs the “protected by copyright” side). I’d like to see that slide in a bit more detail, because, while amusing, it threatens to fall into the same trap as the recent Chamber of Commerce report that tries to claim the exact opposite. It says that copyright protected industries contribute a lot more to the economy than non-covered industries. In both cases, though, I fear that there’s some cherry-picking of data and questionable classifications.

      I do think that there’s a ton to learn from industries like the fashion industry — including suggestions on ways those lessons can be applied to industries like music and movies. Hopefully we’ll start seeing a deeper analysis on that soon.

    • Roderick Long Finally Realizes IP is Unjustified
    • Cory Doctorow: Publish books free online

      Politically engaged and disarmingly geeky, Cory Doctorow is one of the better-known faces of the digital revolution: co-editor of the celebrated blog Boing Boing (“a directory of wonderful things”), he is also author of half-a-dozen science fiction novels and a journalist. Born in Canada, the 38-year-old writer now lives in London, although when we speak, he’s in the US, promoting his latest book, For the Win. This tells a story of teens rebelling against global corporations and is pitched at the “young adult” market. As with all his fiction, the book has been released simultaneously in bookshops and, for free, online.

    • Letter to MacBreak’s Scott Bourne about Open Source and the Free Market

      That said, I agree with you that there is no “religious” reason for a given individual or firm to use open source over non-open — whatever works better and is the better deal for you, of course. And in fact the “open source” model is not without problems: it also relies on copyright, and has insidious aspects — that’s one reason I, as an anti-copyright type, prefer public domain or creative commons attribution only instead of the share-alike/GNU type model (which I explain in Copyright is very sticky!, Eben Moglen and Leftist Opposition to Intellectual Property, and Leftist Attacks on the Google Book Settlement).

    • GM Sued Because Of Einstein Ad

      Albert Einstein is among the world’s top-earning dead people, and an Israeli university that holds rights to his image is asking General Motors Co. to pay for putting the physics pioneer in a magazine ad.

    • Let’s Make the Visually Impaired Full Digital Citizens

      As I wrote recently in my Open… blog, copyright is about making a fair deal: in return for a government-supported, time-limited monopoly, creators agree to place their works in the public domain after that period has expired. But that monopoly also allows exceptions, granted for various purposes like the ability to quote limited extracts, or the ability to make parodies (details depend on jurisdiction.)

      The industries based around copyright’s intellectual monopoly don’t like those exceptions, and fight tooth and nail against any extensions of them. Naturally enough, you might say – after all, they’re businesses, and it’s they’re duty to shareholders to maximise their profits. But sometimes this reflexive refusal to compromise a jot because of concerns about the bottom line goes too far. As, I would suggest, in this case.

      A draft treaty has been prepared by the World Blind Union, and put forward by the WIPO Delegations of Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay in May 2009. In essence, this treaty seeks to allow those with visual impairments to read books that are currently unavailable to them – a staggering 95% of the total market.

    • Industry minister admits to breaking copyright law to build iPod collection

      Industry Minister Tony Clement has an admission to make: He built his impressive music library on his iPod in part by breaking Canada’s copyright law.

    • Copyrights

      • Should Customs decide what’s a circumvention device?

        The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a complex and highly controversial statute, and the anti-circumvention provisions in section 1201 are some of its most complex and controversial components. Despite more than a decade’s worth of judicial interpretation, there remain plenty of unsettled questions about just what constitutes circumvention and just what constitutes a protected technological measure. And what we do know for sure makes a strong case that the anti-circumvention provisions are overbroad and have significant and harmful unintended consequences.

      • David Byrne Sues Florida Gov. Charlie Crist For $1 Million

        David Byrne is suing the governor of Florida, alleging that he used the Talking Heads’ 1985 single “Road to Nowhere” without permission or proper licenses.

      • GS valedictory Class Day speech plagiarized? (UPDATE: Yeah, it definitely was)
      • Anonymous accused Bittorrent user moves to quash subpoena using real name

        Some have already commented on their scruples arising from the large economies of scale approach to copyright litigation that’s being undertaken by lawyers with the U.S. Copyright Group to go after Bittorrent movie sharers. See, for example, what Mike Masnick and Eriq Gardner have had to say. And the ISPs aren’t all that happy about the work required to respond to a bunch of subpoenas.

      • Law Firm Asks Alleged File-Sharers To Incriminate Themselves

        Lawyers ACS:Law in the UK are now into their second year of threatening alleged pirates with legal action. Since they don’t have a good case when people deny their allegations, for some time now the firm has been sending out questionnaires which allow people to build a case against themselves. As a UK consumer magazine is pointing out, people don’t have to play this game.

      • Is Time Warner Cable about to be sued for copyright infringement?

        The legal campaign that targets tens of thousands of alleged movie pirates on BitTorrent is getting more interesting. Now one of the nation’s largest ISPs could be held responsible for facilitating copyright infringement.

        Yesterday, Thomas Dunlap at the U.S. Copyright Group filed his response to Time Warner Cable’s motion to quash or modify thousands of subpoena requests. TWC had asked the court to require no more than 28 IP address lookup requests per month, citing the burden of having to comply with discovery requests that were “far out of line with other comparable copyright infringement cases.”

      • Self-help guru Wayne Dyer sued for stealing from Tao book

        Popular self-help author Wayne Dyer has been accused of helping himself to someone else’s book.

        In a copyright infringement lawsuit filed today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, author Stephen Mitchell says Dyer “copied verbatim a significant portion” of his interpretation of the ancient Taoist scripture Tao Te Ching in two separate books.

      • Time Warner Cable Resists Mass BitTorrent Lawsuit

        A consortium of independent film producers is hitting a stumbling block in its plan to simultaneously sue thousands of BitTorrent users for allegedly downloading pirated movies. Time Warner Cable is refusing to look up and turn over the identities of about a thousand of its customers targeted in the lawsuits, on the grounds that the effort would require three months of full-time work by its staff.

      • Viacom-Google Unsealed: Take Two: Viacom Exec: ‘YouTube Mostly Behaves’
      • Lady Gaga’s Manager: We Make Music Videos For YouTube
      • Amanda Palmer And OK Go Get Together To Celebrate Being Dropped From Their Record Labels

        Recently, we’ve noted some similarities between Amanda Palmer and the band OK Go, in that both had been signed to major record label deals, both had built up an amazing (and amazingly loyal) group of fans through various means (different for each) using methods totally outside of their major label marketing effort (which was somewhat lacking in both cases)… and last month, both were officially dropped from their label deals.

      • NetCoalition/CCIA Reinforces Recent Comments To IP Czar Over Bogus Industry Studies On Copyright

        The filing talks about those three reports — all of which we’ve discussed here previously — to reiterate some of the key points made in the original filing. The first, of course, is the GAO report that debunked the claims from industry studies about all of the “losses” caused by infringement. Amusingly, that GAO report was required by the same law that created the IP Czar position in the first place, the ProIP Act. The filing notes, by the way, that the GAO’s mandate for the report didn’t even say it had to investigate copyright infringement — just counterfeiting. However, the GAO appears to have been so troubled by the bogus reports out there that it decided to publicly call those studies into question. As this new filing points out, many of the comments filed by groups in support of strong copyright enforcement, relied on those reports that the GAO has since debunked. This should call into question the legitimacy of those filings entirely.

    • ACTA

      • US Copyright Official Discounts ACTA Concerns

        U.S. copyright official Steven Tepp said Tuesday he doesn’t understand many of the current objections to the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), a 37-nation effort to enforce copyright and counterfeit laws across international borders.

        Tepp, senior counsel for policy and international affairs at the U.S. Copyright Office, dismissed objections to ACTA voiced by representatives of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), an intellectual-property research and advocacy group, during a debate on the trade agreement at the Future of Music Coalition’s Washington, D.C., policy forum.

      • US Copyright Official Pretends That Concerns About ACTA Are Unfounded; Mocks Legitimate Concerns

        The session kicks off with U.S. Copyright Office official Steven Tepp defending ACTA, by saying right from the outset, “Quite candidly, we’re in the midst of a worldwide epidemic of copyright piracy.” What kind of epidemic? Well, he uses that old line about how organized crime groups and terrorists are being funded by copyright infringement — a claim that the industry keeps making, but which makes little sense. Even if it were true that some crime operations are selling bootleg DVDs and such, aren’t they under the same, if not more, pressure from unauthorized internet file sharing?

      • U.S. Copyright Official Challenges ACTA Criticism

        U.S. Copyright Office official Steven Tepp appeared at a Future of Music Coalition debate on ACTA yesterday, arguing that the release of the ACTA text proved the prior concerns wrong. The full debate is available online as Tepp offers gruff responses to fellow panel members, but refuses to answer many other questions on the grounds that the USTR leads on the file.

      • European Parliament Members Follow-Up With WTO on ACTA
    • Digital Economy Bill

      • The future of the Digital Economy Act is in your hands

        It is also wholly wrong that customers should be footing the Bill of this enforcement scheme. The vast majority, even by copyright holders’ estimates, do not infringe their copyrights, yet they will be paying for a quarter of this scheme. A small number will be priced off the Internet by even a small rise in broadband bills – Consumer Focus estimate perhaps 10,000 households.

        BT also drew attention to the lack of a Privacy Impact Assessment for the scheme. Privacy concerns could scupper the acceptability of letter writing. Yet the engagement from the government and ICO on this issue has so far been less than acceptable.

        ORG and other groups have been willing to accept the principle of letter writing, but this current consultation shows the weaknesses in the legislation that was rammed through in the dying hours of the last Parliament. Already the Act threatens to punish innocent people with additional, unwarranted costs and bars to clearing their name.

Clip of the Day

NASA Connect – VE – Mission Statements (10/16/2003)


« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts