Software Patents FUD a Sign That Microsoft is Losing, Linux is Winning

Posted in Microsoft, Patents at 6:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Victory is nigh


Summary: The Obama administration is said to considering a “fundamental rethink of software patents” just as Microsoft bets heavily on software patents

WHEN SCO attacked Linux it did not take long for everyone to find out that Microsoft had quietly paid SCO. People have generally known since then (and beforehand) that in line with the leaked Halloween Documents, Microsoft will do anything is can to get Linux distributors sued. The same strategies remain, but the types of imaginary monopolies change and also the sources of litigation. Motorola shows the limits of Microsoft’s hastily-thought through strategy; Microsoft cannot just cycle through every single company which sells Linux because sooner or later products like Xbox 360 risk a ban from the market. If Microsoft is willing to go down this lane, then it sure is a sign of desperation and Groklaw had a good article about that yesterday, claiming pretty much the same thing because Microsoft is now running even to antitrust regulators, hoping that they too can rescue the dying monopoly (nobody violates antitrust law as much as Microsoft).

Fortunately we know that this week’s academic FUD is in fact secretly funded by Microsoft. Microsoft Florian, who admits being a campaigner for hire (he tries to avoid the word “lobbyist”), parrots Steve Ballmer today, in response to dents that I made in Identica. This is so telling that it’s not even funny and the 451 Group asks, “Is Android FUD a forebearer of Linux-like success?”

I’ve seen some criticisms of Android and Google indicating it is clear or should be clear what is open source and what is not. I would argue, however, that is has become quite unclear what is open source and what is not in all circumstances and particularly in smartphones, as we covered in our special report Mobility Matters two-and-a-half long years ago. There’s no denying the constant pressure for Android and Google and others in the ecosystem to be true to the spirit and letter of open source and its licenses, however painful, serves to strengthen its open source aspects. However, the statements and signals crying foul against Android are quite similar to the complaints, threats and, yes, FUD we saw swirling around Linux a decade ago. And let’s not forget the lesson of open enough, which becomes even more significant given cloud computing and the capabilities it is extending to smartphones and other mobile devices.

Bottom line, developers, handset manufacturers and consumers are heavily more focused on new releases every six months than who is suing whom in the IP infringement claim game and software patent ’system.’ To predict where Android is headed and what is likely to happen as a result of the FUD, we can look at Linux, which emerged stronger, more competitive and more enterprise-ready after the infamous SCO threats and lawsuits.

Microsoft has has put too many eggs in one basket because rather than create new products it kept its workers busy writing patent applications — patents being just another monopolistic paradigm which relies on pieces of paper rather than bundling in the channel. The government could, in principle, pull the carpet from underneath Microsoft’s feet by passing a patent reform that’s better than the one we’ve mentioned a lot recently. Obama plans fundamental rethink of software patents according to a new report and more articles that are being published right now provide justifications for such a move:

Based on the current status, you essentially can not write an app that doesn’t somehow infringe on someone else’s patent. One might think this is an exaggeration, but let’s take a look at the following list of legal no-no’s:

1) Pop-up note

Yes, the patent for a trusty old mouseover pop-up, used by most applications out there, was granted to Microsoft. If you want your app to be legal, you can’t use them.

2) In-game messaging

That’s a tough one for game developers – Yahoo holds a patent that basically covers sending in-game messages. And they are not afraid to use it.

3) Online games

Why not ban all massively multiplayer online (MMO) games altogether? That’s what Sheldon Goodberg could do, as he holds a very broad patent for “networking gaming system”. He had enough sense not to go after World of Warcraft, and he’s targeting online solitaire for a start. Who knows what will happen If he succeeds?

4) Progress bar

It seems that IBM is the only kid on the block cool enough to use a progress bar!

5) One-click checkout

This one goes to Amazon, because the idea of storing client’s information is so innovative. However, it shouldn’t matter to you, because you are not allowed to conduct internet sales anyway. Just check the next point.

When/if software patents are invalidated en masse, Microsoft’s house of cards will fall. So let us spread the message about software patents a little further.

Market of Firefox (Free Software Poster Child) is Increasing While Windows Market is Decreasing

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Windows at 5:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Red fox

Summary: Firefox is growing up while Microsoft is growing old and its core business models erode

MARGINS and profits made from Windows are on the decline, despite inflation. Even Microsoft admits this and new numbers speak for themselves:

Then, all the boasting about the number of downloads of IE9 became a whisper when Firefox 4 was downloaded at least twice as much. “But that’s not fair! IE9 can be downloaded only for Windows Vista and Windows 7 while Firefox 4 is available for all platforms!” they complain.

EXACTLY!!! Don’t they realize?? How come a company on purpose leaves out the biggest number of its customers? (I mean XP users, of course!) Wasn’t it that XP support was “extended” for about 3 more years? Does that mean that something similar will happen to Vista and Vista/7 users when Windows 8 is released? Better keep an eye open, Windows users!

All this, plus former ways of bullying customers (Windows 7 Starter) has opened the eyes of several Windows users. One by one, they are starting to look for alternatives.

In our latest group of daily links we have confirmations from Mozilla regarding the numbers. Firefox 5 is coming soon and it will kick Microsoft’s bottom.

Generally, Microsoft has begun throwing out free copies of Windows and sometimes it allegedly pays hardware makers — not charges them — to have Windows pre-installed. In some places, Windows has actually gotten more expensive, claim some people (and it is not a wise strategy as it would definitely backfire):

A comment on Groklaw alerted me to the fact that M$ raised prices in Australia when Australia’s currency was low but has not dropped prices now that the currency is on par with US$. The current price of “7″ Ultimate is Australian $469 (US$484) while in the USA is is US$320. Chuckle.

That’s Australia, where forced sales is Windows are now a source of complaints. “Windows Is Not Free,” reminds us the anarchist, who explains:

The article is “Windows Is Free: The Impact of Pirated Software on Free Software”, along with the follow up article by the same author, “No Really – Windows Is Free.”

Commonly, people first gravitate to LibreOffice, OpenOffice, Linux, the GIMP, and other F/OSS applications because they are, almost always, gratis. That is, free of a monetary cost. But, as is persuasively argued, for a large number of people, so is Windows.

And because of the flexibility of F/OSS, a large number of individual F/OSS applications run just fine on Windows and Mac systems, so there is even less motivation to examine the underlying principles involved.

One of the major reasons for this confusion is the fact that in English, “free” can mean both “gratis”, as in no price, and “libre” as in without restrictions.

There is no such thing as “free Windows”, not even if “free” means “gratis”. To quote Bill Gates again: “They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.” Basically, now that Microsoft borrows money and givs its former cash cows free of charge, things are bound to change very rapidly.

Legalising Corruption in Europe, the Microsoft Way

Posted in Europe, Microsoft at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Langham street, London

Summary: News from France and Switzerland, all showing that Microsoft is pretty much above the law

LAWS are affected by lobbying, which is why a lot of large corporations managed to legalise tax evasion in Europe, using newly-created loopholes. This is not exactly news and not even the subject of this post. We wrote about this many times before. The unfortunate thing is that Microsoft’s “special relationships” in France continue to enable the company to penetrate the French government. As “twitter” told us last night: “So if you check the two docs uploaded yesterday by CoinMeuh, (http://interopwikiproject.com/public-procurement-files) and that you read french you’ll see this is a pretty big tender where, most surprisingly, the french Defense Ministry contracts directly with MS Ireland. That calls for two comments, I think:

* why the heck would a french ministry buy directly from an US-based software vendor in Ireland instead of purchasing the same stuff directly in France? (as a government it does not even get the VAT)
* the scope of the contract seems very large, unusually large, as it covers pretty much the range of MS products in general. If someone has more background on this, go ahead.
[PJ: Some are questioning if this is legal. It's in French, but Google Translate will help you if you don't read French. I can't help but recall Steve Ballmer's "win win" speech when French President Sarkozy made Ballmer a knight of the legion of honor, of all things, in February.] – Interop Wiki Project

from PJ’s news picks


It gets worse with the publication of this ruling in Switzerland, which relates to a similar situation in France.

Open source vendors turned down by Swiss Federal Supreme Court


The original complaint was about the renewal of a licensing, maintenance and support contract worth 42 million Swiss francs (€32 million / £28 million) the Swiss Federal Office for Buildings and Logistics had awarded to Microsoft without public invitation to tender. This contracting practice, which the complainants say has existed since the 1990s, was the subject of a complaint by 18 open source vendors including various Swiss SMEs, Linux vendors Red Hat, Univention and Collax, and groupware specialists Zarafa and Open-Xchange.

Pogson rightly calls it a Catch-22 for the following reasons:

Now the Swiss Supreme Court has ruled that the lower court erred by not allowing FLOSS providers to object to giving M$ a sweet deal but also found that the FLOSS providers had not provided any evidence that they could meet the requirements of the purchaser (the Swiss government). The Supremes did not accept that no proof could be provided because there were no specifications… Catch-22. You can’t win in that court. Obviously the judges have been living in a cave somewhere for 20 years. Perhaps they have never heard of Munich or Extramedura. I find it tragic that supposedly wise people could make such a silly ruling.

For some background information about this case also see:

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements
  12. Lawsuit Over Alleged Microsoft Corruption in Switzerland Escalates to Federal Court
  13. When Microsoft-Only/Lock-in is Defined as “Technology”
  14. Microsoft’s Allegedly Illegal Swiss Contracts to Take People to Court Again
  15. Microsoft’s Allegedly Illegal US Procurement Gets Frozen After Lawsuit

Microsoft is currently rubbing the back of the UK coalition government, too. To quote a prominent member of the FFII (2008), “Many participants and speakers referenced to the OOXML standardisation process, in particular were intrigued by the French AFNOR developments. Generally speakers feel concerned about OOXML to become a standard in governmental procurement. In private a government delegate compared Microsoft’s public affairs methods with the scientology cult.”

Microsoft-sponsored Distortion of News in the UK (Lerner Daemonises Free Software Along With Schankerman)

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft at 4:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Besieged by Microsoft-funded FUD


Summary: In order to derail government migration plans to Free/open source software (in the UK and elsewhere) Microsoft pays Lerner and a colleague from LSE, Schankerman, to echo Microsoft’s old FUD

FROM inside sources we know that local UK authorities explore the possibility of embracing more Free/open source software and in this week’s news we have articles such as:

  • Government unveils IT strategy, with open source at the fore

    The government has launched a strategy for cutting public spending on government ICT by “millions of pounds through cutting duplication and waste”, and promising much more use of open source software.

    The Government ICT Strategy, launched by minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude today sets out how government will “adopt the right methods, policies and skills to ensure that its ICT supports efficient public services”.

  • UK: Researchers say open source lowers costs, increases security

    The health care sector can lower its costs and increase the security of its IT systems, by making more use of open source, according to research by the University of Warwick’s Institute for Digital Healthcare and the Centre for Health Informatics and Multiprofessional Education at UCL Medical School.

This jeopardises some Microsoft cash cows (Windows and Office), so the monopolist can be seen fighting back in the same old way, namely Microsoft-sponsored talking points which get pushed into the “news” with British/American academics receiving Microsoft money to do so. See this new example from Schankerman and a colleague. We wrote about it in [1, 2, 3, 4]. The article says: “Don’t believe everything you read about tech camps,” but it should also say “don’t believe everything you read in tech sites like us” because the source forgets to mention Microsoft’s money which was injected in this case. That’s how news and public opinion get bought, cheaply.

According to another alert from Europe, Microsoft is now organising a roundtable on ‘EU Spectrum Policy’:

We would like to remind you about the roundtable discussion on recent developments in spectrum policy and their impact on the ICT industry. The event will take place on Wednesday April 13th at the Microsoft Executive Briefing Centre, Avenue de Nerviens 85, 1040, Brussels. The event will start at 10:30 and will be followed by a walking lunch and a guided tour in our new Cloud and Interoperability Centre. The roundtable discussion will feature presentations from key experts in the field, whose different viewpoints should ensure a lively discussion.

More distortion of European policy and lobbying from the American company. What could possibly go wrong? It’s very simple for Microsoft to fool politicians, or as Tim put it the other day, “On Monday a site was launched with the backing of David Cameron for “helping” entrepreneurs with their Start-up…. Oh joy, you know this will be good.

“We’ve seen what happens when MP’s get involved in IT.”

The post title is “Why a start-up should avoid Microsoft? (MP+IT = #Fail)” and last night we received a link (via IRC) about Microsoft making moves that could potentially make India’s space program dependent on Microsoft (which tried to pass it off as some sort of “charity”, not lock-in). Be vigilant because as Groklaw’s Pamela Jones put it last night, “I understood that better when I read the Paul Allen excerpt from his book in Vanity Fair. The upper management [at Microsoft] are portrayed as ethically empty.”

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

ES: Porqué la Comisión Europea de hoy Podría Hacer Frente a Una Demanda Legal Por Venderse a Microsoft

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 4:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Siim Kallas - GWB
Siim Kallas with George Bush

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: Las ofertas de ser vendedor-neutrales para los licitaciones que la Comisión Europea debe predicar no son incluso un principio honrado para la Comisión misma; Jan Wildeboer habla hacia contra este comportamiento inaceptable.

La última posible encarnación de Vista, llamada Vista 7[http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/Vista_7_Reality_Log], está apenas en las noticias actuales. No hay nada que excita sobre él. La gente no podría nombrar nunca realmente cualquier razón de peso para trasladarse desde Windows XP a Vista 7. Por que todos sabemos, basados en incidentes muy recientes[http://techrights.org/2011/03/15/dirty-tactics-and-aggression/], sobre Vista 7 es que es mucho más probable sea “bricked” (hecho unbootable) por sus actualizaciones que Windows XP.

A principios de esta semana había interés renovado en la manera que Europa maneja su forma de conseguir el software. Hay un montón de sitio para la mejora y ligando al blog de Wildeboer, Roberto Pogson acaba de decir que “Suiza [es] poseída” por Microsoft[http://mrpogson.com/2011/03/29/switzerland-owned-by-m/] (que reutiliza las palabras de Wildeboer). Para refrescarnos:

Una corte ha dictaminado que es ACEPTABLE que el gobierno compre millares de PC con ese otro OS SIN las licitaciones públicas que evitan que compitan los abastecedores de GNU/Linux. Un juez discrepó pero no era bastante para abrir el proceso de licitación. Esto era una migración de XP a Vista 7 así que era mucho trabajo de cualquier manera pero el gobierno no utilizó un proceso que hacía una licitación abierta como es usual.

Escribimos sobre este caso de la mala consecución en Suiza abajo, e.g.:

Microsoft Demandado por su Corrupción en Suiza. La Deuda de Microsoft Analizada.[http://techrights.org/2009/05/24/msft-corruption-in-switzerland/]
¿Se Pueden Demandar al Reino Unido y Hungría Todavía por Excluir el Software Free/Libre?[http://techrights.org/2009/05/25/united-kingdom-hungary-rigging/]
¿3 Nuevas Cuentas de la Violación Anticompetitiva de Microsoft?[http://techrights.org/2009/05/14/antitrust-violations-by-microsoft/]
¿Está Microsoft Infringiendo la ley en Suiza también?[http://techrights.org/2009/05/14/antitrust-violations-by-microsoft/]
Cabilderos de las Aplicaciones de Microsoft Atacar la migración de Holanda al Software Free/Libre y a los Profesores surafricanos se les Soborna para Utilizar Windows[http://techrights.org/2009/05/10/lobbyists-bribes-vs-free-sw/]
ZDNet/eWeek Arruina Artículo de Peter Judge Atacando Red Hat Cuando Microsoft Comete el Crimen[http://techrights.org/2009/05/25/zdnet-ruins-peter-judge-article/]
Semana de Asuntos de Gobierno con Microsoft: Una mirada Retrospectiva, Una Mirada al Futuro[http://techrights.org/2009/05/28/microsoft-government-affairs/]
El Pleito contra Microsoft/Suiza Tiene éxito Hasta Ahora, Más Países/Compañías deben Seguir el Ejemplo[http://techrights.org/2009/05/29/lawsuit-against-switzerland-over-ms/]
Los últimos Informes Sobre los Tratos con Microsoft que son bloqueados en Suiza, Nueva Zelandia[http://techrights.org/2009/06/01/microsoft-bulk-deals-derailed/]
Gobierno Suizo y Computadora Federal Semanal: ¿Por qué la hostilidad hacia software libre?[[http://techrights.org/2009/06/06/federal-computer-weekly-foss-fud/]
Suiza y el Reino Unido Bajo Fuego por los Contratos Perpetuos de Microsoft[http://techrights.org/2009/06/17/switzerland-and-uk-backlash/]
El Pleito sobre la Corrupción de Microsoft en Suiza se Extiende a la Corte Federal[http://techrights.org/2009/12/12/lawsuit-government-procurement/]
Cuando Microsoft-Solamente/Lock-in Se Define Como “Tecnología”[http://techrights.org/2010/07/07/lingual-loophole-for-bad-tender/]
De Microsoft Contratos Suizos Ilegales Llevan a la Corte Otra Vez[http://techrights.org/2010/10/10/blocking-competition-queezing-oems/]
La Consecución Ilegal de los E.E.U.U. de Microsoft Consigue Ser Congelada después de pleito.[http://techrights.org/2011/01/06/lawsuit-against-government/]

Considerando el estado de este caso, pudo todavía haber sitio para la revocación de los repartos de Microsoft, así que mirando este nuevo informe sobre los planes de Vista 7 en los cuerpos de la UE[http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/223224/eu_bodies_plan_upgrade_to_windows_7_without_public_tender.html], Wildeboer tiene mucho decir:

En una reunión secreta el pasado mes de diciembre, funcionarios de la Comisión acordaron en principio aumentar a más de 36.000 computadoras de escritorio en instituciones europeas a Windows 7 sin llevar a cabo una oferta pública. El movimiento propuesto podía encadenar a la Comisión a Microsoft por los cuatro a cinco años próximos, violando al propio consejo de la Comisión para evitar lock-in de la contratación pública.

Jan Wildeboer del distribuidor Red Hat de Linux dijo el miércoles que él estaba muy decepcionado con la decisión. “El reparto de la Comisión con Microsoft no está consolidando realmente su propio mensaje de evitar lock-in.” “Estamos esperanzados que la Comisión practicará lo que predica. En interés de un mercado justo y libre debemos tener ofrecimiento de vendedor-neutral”, él dijo en un acontecimiento organizado por los abogados del Código Abierta en Bruselas. Los representantes de la Comisión que atendían al acontecimiento estaban visiblemente incómodos, pero no hicieron ninguna observación respecto.

La Comisión debe ser presionada en esto. Esta situación entera daña la legitimidad de la Comisión y a menos que determine GNU/Linux en mesas de financiación pública, esto seguro validará nuestra observación que está siendo hecha descarrilar por los cabilderos y sus nuevos camaradas designados que SIRVEN SOLO A MICROSOFT[http://techrights.org/2009/11/30/european-croniession-regulators/]. Incluso habrá quizá un pleito legal, que es posible el gobierno suizo sea demandado (nadie es inmune al pleito).

Translation produced by Eduardo Landaveri, the esteemed administrator of the Spanish portal of Techrights.

Links 1/4/2011: Linux 2.6.39 Previews, GNOME 3 Live Images

Posted in News Roundup at 3:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Google and ARM reportedly plan to establish standardization for Android/ARM platforms

    Google is reportedly considering a push for standardization of its Android 3.0 hoping the new strategy will help resolve the drawbacks of the operation system; meanwhile, Google may also negotiate with ARM over the possibility of implementing standardization for ARM architecture products, according to sources from notebook players.

  • Pacifistic SuperTux
  • Installing Linux to a Gateway NV53 laptop, a trial for five distros
  • An Introduction to the Linux Shell

    She sells seashells by the seashore. Well, yes… that may be true, but that’s not the type of shell we’re going to talk about here today.

  • Hardware review I

    How well do these components work with Ubuntu 10.10 (and probably other recent GNU/Linux distributions)? Perfectly.

  • Desktop

    • Dialog with the Girlfriend

      About a year ago I made a post about installing Linux on my girlfriend’s laptop. Just recently I was quoted on Linux Insider about how successful the installation had been a year later. I said that I believed it to have been a successful conversion of a Windows user to Linux. My descriptions were from my observations only, not my girlfriend’s. I had not thought at that time to ask my girlfriend what she thought about the change of operating system on her computer.

  • Server

    • Small Cheap Computers in the Server Room

      GNU/Linux on ARM should be a no-brainer for data-centres. There are outfits now jamming hundreds of ARMed cores into 2U.

    • Linux and the storage ecosystem

      Linux is many things, and its power lies in its ability to flexibly support vastly different usage models. But one of Linux’s most important strengths is serving as the workhorse of the storage domain. Thinking about Linux and storage commonly conjures an image of direct-attached disks or the latest file system, but there’s much more to storage and Linux than meets the eye. Elements in the Linux are not only stable but also cutting-edge.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.39 Kernel Merge Window Closes With -rc1

      While we have already been benchmarking code for the Linux 2.6.39 kernel a fair amount at Phoronix with the Nouveau page-flipping and z-compression merge plus Nouveau Fermi acceleration, only this afternoon did Linus Torvalds tag the first release candidate for this next major kernel update.

    • Kernel Log: First release candidate for Linux 2.6.39
    • Linux Foundation announces the Linux.com Linux Gurus for 2011

      The non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting Linux, the Linux Foundation, has announced its top five 2011 Linux.com Linux Gurus. The awarding of Guru status is intended to recognise those individuals that have made the greatest contribution to the linux.com community through their participation on the site, by writing blog posts, answering questions, and so on. The contributors earn points as they participate on the site, and these are totalled each year during the period from 16 February to 15 February the following year. The top five points earners are awarded Guru status.

    • Android and the Kernel: It is Not that Simple
    • LM_Sensors 3.3 Brings More Sensory Goodness

      This user-space software project now has support for intrusion detection sensors and humidity sensors. LM_Sensors 3.3.0 also provides support for many sub-features implemented by new hwmon drivers, some arbitrary limits have been removed from libsensors, there’s new generic limit printing code in the sensors utility, and there’s new chips known by the sensors-detect program. There’s also been the variety of i2c/hwmon kernel driver updates in succeeding Linux kernel releases since the release of LM_Sensors 3.2 last October.

    • Linux 2.6.39 RC1 debuts new block device plugging model

      Both Fedora 15 and Ubuntu 11.04 are on track to use the recently released Linux 2.6.38 kernel, which introduced some significant performance gains.

    • APM, and the value in Linux
    • Graphics Stack

      • Here’s The Special AMD Present For Ubuntu Users

        As talked about at length yesterday, the Catalyst 11.3 driver that was just released is not compatible with the X.Org Server 1.10 final ABI. What this means is that this proprietary Linux driver update will not work on Ubuntu 11.04, Fedora 15, and other Linux distributions experiencing major updates. AMD for at least the past seven Ubuntu releases has been seeding Canonical with driver pre-releases to meet the support deadline on new versions of this popular Linux operating system. Over last night, they did this once more.

      • Using Gallium3D On AMD FirePro Workstation GPUs

        How well do AMD’s FireGL/FirePro workstation graphics cards work with the open-source graphics drivers for Linux? It’s something we never have really focused on up to this point, since after all, most workstation users are satisfied with using proprietary display drivers on Linux. It is the workstation market that drives the proprietary Linux driver development after all for AMD and NVIDIA, and that is really the focus of development, not Linux gamers or enthusiasts. But curiosity got the best of me, so here’s what happens if you try to use an expensive FirePro graphics card with the open-source driver stack and the Mesa Gallium3D driver.

      • PowerXpress Support Notebooks Under Linux

        As mentioned this morning when AMD provided Canonical with a Catalyst 11.4 driver pre-release for proprietary Radeon / FirePro support under Ubuntu 11.04, there’s more than just support for Linux 2.6.38 kernel and X.Org Server 1.10. This Linux driver update also provides support for AMD PowerXpress with dual-GPU notebooks.

      • The AMD “Radeon HD 8000″ Open-Source Milestone

        The discussion surrounding issues with the Linux kernel DRM code has been quite interesting. From the 40+ comments so far, there’s been some interesting feedback from some of the key open-source driver developers along with AMD. In particular, the generation to succeed the next-generation of AMD graphics processors (what will be the “Radeon HD 8000 series” if they continue with the same marketing names) should be a pivotal moment for AMD’s open-source strategy.

      • NVIDIA GeForce 400 “Fermi” Series On Nouveau

        With NVIDIA still not providing any open-source support or technical documentation for their graphics processors, for those in the open-source community who seek to use their GeForce 400/500 “Fermi” GPUs without NVIDIA’s binary driver, they are left to use the reverse-engineered, community-created Nouveau driver. Fortunately, the support for the NVIDIA Fermi GPUs is coming along at a respectable pace — with even working OpenGL acceleration — considering that NVIDIA is providing no support at all. In this article are the first benchmarks of this experimental GeForce 400/500 “Nouveau NVC0″ driver versus NVIDIA’s official proprietary driver.

      • AMD Catalyst 11.3 Drops Support For Old X.Org

        With the month ending, Linux users were beginning to wonder where is this month’s proprietary driver update, but AMD’s web team has just uploaded the Catalyst 11.3 binary Linux driver. What’s changed though in this month’s update? Read on to find out.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE or GNOME?

      Why KDE? I don’t know… I sat down once and decided to put all the pros and contras of KDE and GNOME in one list. Result was quite strange… Kubuntu had same number of “pros” and “contras” on KDE side. While GNOME only gave me “pros” and no significant “contra”. So, there is something irrational which makes me to choos KDE when I boot my laptop.

    • Common user interface mistakes in KDE applications, part 4: Being GNOME friendly

      This time I want to talk about being GNOME friendly. While that may sound odd for a KDE developer to think about GNOME, assuming we want our applications to reach the largest possible audience, we should try to ensure GNOME users get a pleasurable experience. After all, a user is a user, there are efforts going on to ensure KDE works well on Windows and Mac OS X, I think we should also take care of GNOME users. They are at least as likely if not more likely to contribute back to our applications.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • the fun in banging our heads together

        After sitting on a train for four hours that whisked me through the countryside of Switzerland and into Germany, I am sitting in a room in Darmstadt that is full of familiar faces, along with one or two less familiar ones.

        For instance, it’s been a few years since I had the opportunity to meet up with Eva, who was KDE e.V. president before I was, and even longer since I got to sit down with Stefan Werden and discuss high level topics about Free software, distributions, KDE, etc. In fact, I think the last time I met up with Stefan for an extended visit was at the Appeal meeting in Berlin all those years ago. We’ve passed each other at conferences a few times since, but today and tomorrow we’re sitting down to really bang our heads together about (what else?) Plasma.

      • Camp KDE: Latest Updates

        Camp KDE 2011 is nearly upon us, but that hasn’t stopped the organizers from continuing to add to the fun. Be sure to check out the Camp KDE web site for the final agenda as well as speaker bios.

      • KDE Software Powers New Consumer-Oriented Computer

        Damien Tardy-Panis interviewed Robert Konopka, one of the founders of Xompu, to find out more about the company and why they chose KDE software. Read on to find out more about Xompu, what they think of KDE and our software, and news on job opportunities with the company.

      • Modern Art: A Look at Krita 2.3
      • 5 More Intriguing KDE Apps

        Ever so often, I take a stroll over to KDE-Apps.org and look at some of the fantastic creations people from the KDE community develop. There are a wide range of apps in nearly every category, but I have selected 5 that stand out and would be very useful additions to my desktop and hopefully yours too. All of these apps are either new or have been recently updated within the past few months.

      • KDE’s Dolphin tips and tricks
      • Nostalgia for those ALSA mixer channels that KMix and GNOME Volume Control used to have?
      • Build a device scalable user interface
      • Menu Button inside Window Decorations

        Peter Penz blogged about removing the Menu from Dolphin. While this is very interesting and nice looking I have a better idea: why not move the menu into the decoration? All what we need is already there. We have the awesome DBus Menu which allows us to send the menu to any other application (in most cases Plasma). So we could use this technology to direct the menu from the window into its decoration. Of course the menu should not be presented in its full completeness but be compacted into one dropdown menu – just like in the Netbook Shell.

      • Buy digiKam Tricks Book, Win a Bag of Photo Goodies

        Time for another giveaway. This time, anyone who buys the digiKam Tricks book has a chance to win a classy f/stop Dial Wristband and a Lomography notebook. As always, the rules are simple: when you buy a copy of the digiKam book, you automatically enter the giveaway. If you buy the book via Amazon, please send me your order confirmation as proof of purchase.

      • New KDE Polishes Linux but Leaves a Few Little Streaks

        The latest KDE version is well worth moving from its GNOME counterpart.

      • the fun in banging our heads together
    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome shell extension: new video shows-off the beast within
      • Adventures in the shell

        After months of envy, I decided that since GNOME 3 is to be released in almost two weeks, it was time to try it out. I must say that is is pretty damn cool. Yes, it has a few annoying bugs and glitches, but nothing out of the ordinary for a first release. It is definitely going in the right direction.

      • GNOME 3 Hackfest, Day One

        We have three release team members present. They have told us that they, assisted by Ryan Lortie, will be doing ‘release team things’. The rest of us are mainly busy with marketing and GNOME.Asia organisation. Our websites are a particular focus for the marketing work. Andreas has already added Jason’s first GNOME 3 video to www.gnome3.org as well as a countdown timer. We’re also going to be doing a lot of work on the new gnome.org. We’ll keep you posted as the changes roll in.

      • gnome-color-manager and profiles

        GNOME Color Manager has shown 2D CIE 1931 plots for a couple of years now, but as all color savvy people know, a gamut is a 3D object, and a 2D slice can be horribly inaccurate and misleading sometimes.

      • GNOME3 Live Image version 0.3.0 released

        Release team decided to do another call for tarballs to fix some bugs across the entire GNOME3 platform, so 2.91.93 was released yesterday.

      • GnomeICU is no more

        On July 9, 2000, my first patch to a Free Software project was accepted. It was a patch to fix a small bug in GnomeICU, which was then the best ICQ client for GNOME.

      • On the road to GNOME 3.0
      • GNOME3 live image 0.3.1 released

        As always, you can download it from http://gnome3.org/tryit.html. If you want to install this image on a system, just add “liveinstall” on the boot command line.

      • Another way to try GNOME 3

        Frederik Crozat has been doing a fantastic job of making it easy to try out GNOME 3. To complement his OpenSuSE based live images, we are happy to present a Fedora-based GNOME 3 preview. While this image is based Fedora 15 (beta), it is not the same as the Fedora desktop spin, e.g. it is not installable. We expect to re-spin this image with the final bits for the 3.0 release next week.

      • GNOME:Ayatana – being populated
      • the book was better

        Here is a cute video of a benchmark I’ve been looking at in recent times. It’s nice because it not only shows the performance improvements, but also the themeing fixes that were applied. The benchmark shows glade starting up and loading a huge glade file with 4 different GTK versions. It starts with executing glade on the command line and ends with the app quitting when it’s done loading.

  • Distributions

    • Linux distros build on Conary package system

      The Foresight Linux project released Foresight Linux 2.5, the first major release of this rolling-release Linux distro in two years, featuring Linux 2.6.35, GNOME 2.32.1, KDE 4.6.1, and Xfce 4.8. Meanwhile, rPath released rPath X6, a specialized Linux distro and appliance-building system that, like Foresight, is based on the Conary package manager.

    • Slitaz Linux 3.0- An awesome 30 Mo Linux distribution

      SliTaz GNU/Linux is a mini distribution and live CD designed to run speedily on hardware with 256 MB of RAM. SliTaz uses BusyBox, a recent Linux kernel and GNU software.

    • My Move From Arch To Aptosid

      I recently moved over to Aptosid, and after a few days of using it I think it’s going to be a keeper as a replacement for Arch. While it’s fresh in my mind, I thought I would share my experience of moving – from the perspective of someone who has used Arch Linux for over a year. I’ll give a little background, then a brief summary, then some real details on how I got some things to work.

    • Reviews

      • Zenwalk Linux 7.0

        In summary, I am pretty impressed with Zenwalk Linux 7.0. It looks good and it works well, as long as you don’t have a netbook which needs the latest Broadcom wireless driver. I will probably keep it as the primary distribution on my HP 2133, and once the brcm80211 driver is included in it, I will be considering it for some of the others.

      • First looks at GhostBSD 2.0 and Kororaa Linux 14
    • New Releases

      • Announcing Foresight Linux 2.5.0
      • Foresight Linux 2.5.0!
      • Particularly Exciting Week in Linux

        Linux is usually exciting, but this past week brought several nice developments. Slackware announced another developmental milestone for their next version. Bodhi Linux reached 1.0. Foresight announced their first release in two years. Zenwalk developers released version 7.0. And SimplyMepis gets a release candidate.

      • Something about Slackware

        Slackware server hosting is one of the newest trends in domain hosting that is allowing many users to move from a Windows hosting platform. There are a lot of clients that are accustomed to Windows hosting, but loads of clients are seeking new hosting environments.

        Slackware isn’t exactly a new environment, but it has maintained a widespread use since its inception in 1993. It never quite gained the same popularity as Windows, but it has managed to be popular enough to move from one version to the next.

      • MEPIS 11 RC1: A Quick, Informal Glimpse

        Even though I’m already running MEPIS 11 Beta 3 as my production system, I downloaded the RC version 1 to test it.

        The Live DVD booted with no issue on my box. That’s great. I still need to try it on older systems, so I’ll wait a bit.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva Application Manager preview

        Today we have posted the first publicly available screencast of the new Mandriva Application Manager (MAM) on youtube. It shows the basic look&feel.


        Soon we are are going to deliver the first alpha (at least a tech preview) too.

      • Mageia 1 Alpha2 — A Status Report

        On September 18, 2010, in response to Mandriva’s liquidation of its “Edge-IT” subsidiary and the attendant layoff of a substantial share of its developers, a group consisting of former Mandriva developers and Mandriva community contributers announced their intention to form a non-profit organization and release a fork of Mandriva Linux called Mageia Linux.

      • Awesome 3.4.9 available in Mageia

        I’m very glad to announce that awesome is available in Mageia since last week :-)

      • New Mageia Forums Bring Community Together
    • Red Hat Family

      • BPEL engine on Red Hat’s shopping list

        Open source operating system and middleware firm Red Hat may be about to bulk out is JBoss middleware line through acquisition, CBR has learned.

        The news was confirmed in a CBR interview with Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst, who said that now that the firm is approaching the billion dollar revenue mark, acquisitions are on the cards.

      • Red Hat the Master Packager: Open Source and the $1bn annual runrate company
      • Red Hat Inc. (RHT) CEO & President James M Whitehurst sells 25,000 Shares
      • Sohaib Abbasi Joins Red Hat’s Board of Directors, Company Welcomes Back Dr. Steve Albrecht
      • Geek Of The Week: Máirín Duffy

        Duffy is a Senior Interaction Designer for Red Hat. She leads the Fedora design team. Máirín is an avid artist, and she happens to be very involved in the OSS (open source software) community. Needless to say, she is a huge fan of Inkscape. Duffy is also a contributor on the GNOME project, and co-founder of GNOMEWomen.

      • Are Companies Evil?

        Recently I saw a blog on Red Hat and its decision to pay a company for the use of that company’s royalty bearing patented software. The author of the column lambasted Red Hat because (in the author’s opinion) Red Hat had (on one hand) stated a policy against software patents, and (on the other hand) seemed to be “encouraging patent trolls”.

      • Red Hat targeting UK growth in ‘non-traditional sectors’

        Open source supplier Red Hat is growing its business quickly in non-traditional markets in the UK, mirroring US expansion, according to chief executive Jim Whitehurst.

        Whitehurst told Computerworld UK that while Linux had a deep presence in financial, telecoms and military sectors, Red Hat predicts fast growth in other markets where a number of companies are moving away from Unix.

      • Fedora

        • Introducing /run

          So, this is what is implemented for F15 now. For F16 we will make a
          minor change on top of this: /var/run and /var/lock will become symlinks to /run (resp /run/lock), so that we don’t have to use bind mounts anymore which are not the most beautiful thing to use by default, and confusing to the admin. Due to the implications of symlinks and RPM we didn’t want to make that change in F15.

        • My thoughts about Fedora 15

          In short, it is awesome.

        • Fedora 15 status and so on

          One thing I’ve found is that I’m liking GNOME 3 more and more recently.

        • Fedora 16 naming vote delay
        • Slipping over the edge

          On a Sunday a few weeks ago, I finally decided to take the plunge and install the Fedora 15 Alpha on my primary workstation. I’ve been using GNOME Shell pretty much exclusively since Fedora 13, and I was looking forward to an even cleaner setup as it got closer to its first official release. The installation went smoothly, and, soon enough, I had the new interface up and running, and, I have to say, it’s looking great!

        • Fedora 15 vs. Ubuntu 11.04: The Battle for Linux Desktop Supremacy

          Though Fedora and Ubuntu have taken contrasting approaches, they’ll both offer the new-to-Linux user two high quality choices.

        • And so it ends now

          Now this guy was a Fedora Ambassador and imho a good one, promoting Fedora and teaching new users how to get their systems up and running. But now he is no more an Ambassador. Why?… because some guys here think that the Freedom preached by this community ends when it comes to talk about Fedora.

          So if you are a fedora ambassador, promote the freedom we provide under our terms!!… wait.. that sounds weird…. oh yes… its a bit of contradictory isnt it? This guy was banned as a fedora ambassador for teaching on a blog post how to configure some UI things in a Windows 7 virtual machine, how to install Flash player under Fedora (omg he’s so evil!!), for explaining his blog followers how hi did to get some stuff working even if they are not the Fedora ‘standards’ for doing things.

        • Fedora 15 & GNOME3, initial impression

          So I upgraded my machine to Fedora 15 last night using preupgrade, and spent hours in trying to clean up my /home from ancient stuff since way back to Fedora 5 as they were causing weird issues.

          To those who are wondering: No, Fedora 15 beta is not out yet, its still in late alpha. Beta should be released in few weeks time, but I’m too excited to wait :P. Check out the Fedora 15 schedule for details on release dates.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian 6 Squeeze review – nearly, but not quite…

        Debian Squeeze is a good choice if you want to run a server or a desktop with stable packages and a couple of years of security patches, even more if your hardware is from an exotic architecture.

      • Debian 6 – does it get the credit it deserves? Absolutely not!
      • Debian Project News – March 28th, 2011
      • Debian and Arch

        I’ve mentioned two or three times now that I have been spending a lot of time in Arch and Debian these days. I hold both distros in equally high regard for being fast, light and good starting points for outdated machines.

        Debian gets points for reaching all the way back to the 486 generation, which means I can use it on my very very old systems. At the same time though, I find myself floating back to Arch more often than not.

      • SimplyMEPIS 11.0 nears Final with RC1 Release

        Warren Woodford has uploaded SimplyMEPIS 10.9.94, the first release candidate of MEPIS 11.0. This RC is available from MEPIS and public mirrors. The ISO files for 32 and 64 bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-DVD-TEST_10.9.94_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-DVD-TEST_10.9.94_64.iso.

      • Fixed ISO images for Debian 6.0.1 released

        In each of the cases listed above, the failure case has been analysed and is understood. Fixes for all of the problems have been developed, and replacement images have been produced and tested. Following our normal naming scheme, the new images are versioned 6.0.1a to denote the bugfix rebuild.

      • Bits from the Release Team – Kicking off Wheezy
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Goodbye Ubuntu 9.10

          Dear Ubuntu 9.10 users, the time has come to say goodbye to the Karmic Koala release of the popular Ubuntu operating system. One month from today, on April 29th, it reaches end of life (EOL).

        • Ubuntu 9.10 reaches end-of-life on April 30 2011
        • First Look: Ubuntu 11.04 Beta

          Tomorrow, March 31st, Canonical will unleash to the world the first Beta version of the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) operating system, due for release on April 28th, 2011.

        • Amazon.com Releases Ubuntu & Linux Mint Compatible Music Cloud Drive and Player!
        • Ubuntu 11.04 Beta released, reviewed
        • Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’ Beta 1 Released – Review and Screenshots

          If you have used Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook Edition interface, you will be familiar with Unity. Unity interface is made of a launcher on the left where active application windows, pinned application shortcuts and unity-places are shown. On the top left corner there is an Ubuntu icon that shows dash menu with shortcuts. The panel on top is not customizable and movable and on the right, all the app-indicators stack up. Unity launcher also supports quick-lists and some applications like Gwibber, Shutter, Take Screenshot etc. are already using them.

        • Full Circle #47 – out NOW!
        • First Command to Run After Installing Ubuntu
        • Balancing Freedom and Functionality: A Design Challenge
        • Narwhal rising

          That’s the first thing that went through my head when I learned that the next version of Ubuntu Linux, Release 11.04, would be codenamed Natty Narwhal, in keeping with the tradition of alliterative animal names.

          Since 1996, I’ve been through Dapper Drake, Edgy Eft, Feisty Fawn, Gusty Gibbon, Hardy Heron, Intrepid Ibex, Jaunty Jackalope, Karmic Koala, Lucid Lynx and Maverick Meerkat, though I had skipped a version or two.

          A narwhal, as it turns out, is an arctic whale, a sign, perhaps, that cool things are coming with the next release of Ubuntu, which is expected on April 28. Earlier in March, Canonical, Ubuntu’s commercial sponsor, released the third alpha test version of the operating system, and was scheduled to make available two beta versions before the final release version.

        • Ubuntu’s Non-Free Parabox

          I’m a big proponent of “nonfree offsetting” (few people are, but I’m sticking to my guns); If Canonical wants to ship nonfree Flash instead of almost fully working GNU Gnash, then they should be willing to offset their balance with adequate investment into the free software alternative; i.e. they should be putting money into Gnash.

        • Ubuntu’s Contributions

          I’m not going to try and re-fight the old battles about who contributes and who doesn’t, or who contributes more or should contribute more. I just wanted to show one area where I think Ubuntu is a top contributor: putting the “community” in open source.

        • Here Is A Solution For Ubuntu’s Adobe Flash Problem
        • The Ubuntu Alien Conspiracy [Wallpaper]
        • Four New Features Coming to Ubuntu 11.04 ‘Natty Narwhal’

          The combination of Ubuntu Linux’s growing popularity with all the big changes coming up in the next version mean that Natty Narwhal, or Ubuntu 11.04, might just be the most widely and anxiously anticipated release of the open source operating system ever.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Elementary OS Pulling an Elive – Charging for Linux?

            Huh – pre-orders are usually needed only by software that requires a cost to download… Upon clicking on the link was I redirected to paypal with the item “elementary: Jupiter” in my order summary. I’ve read a few things around the internet about Elementary OS and I was keen to give it a try, but after having paid for Elive I don’t think I’ll ever be using a Linux based OS again that requires me to pony up some green for it.

          • Bodhi Linux 1.0 review

            I liked from the beginning the idea behind Bodhi Linux and so I followed the progress of this young version of Linux and take advantage of version 1.0 (congratulations to Jeff and the entire team) to make a review.

            For the uninitiated Bodhi Linux is a recent project that taking as a base Ubuntu 10.04 “reconstructs” the Enlightenment desktop, it use the login system manager of LXDE (and also as the terminal) and offers its own package system (.bod); The system being based on Ubuntu is still compatible with .deb and dpkg and aptitude can be used without problems.

          • Bodhi Linux: Interview with Jeff Hoogland

            I have recently become smitten with the Bodhi Linux distribution. It’s melding of the Enlightenment desktop and the Ubuntu distribution makes for quite a solid and speedy distribution. Because this distribution is fairly new to the scene, I thought it would be a good idea to interview one of the developers, so you can get a better idea where Bodhi Linux comes from.

            1. What made you decide to begin Bodhi Linux?

          • Pinguy OS 10.10 (64 bit)

            PinguyOS is one I hadn’t heard of until recently. It seems to be just a baby, in Linux distro terms, although I say that not due to size or its features, but because of its age. PinguyOS only came onto the scene sometime in 2010. The distribution is an offshoot of Ubuntu, and therefore follows its six-month release cycle and simple naming. PinguyOS 10.10 64bit. My new distro for the week.

            PinguyOS comes as a LiveDVD. As expected of a Live DVD, it comes packed with features! In fact, this has to be the most feature-packed distros I have seen to date.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • MeeGo and Symbian: How Long Will the Bodies Stay Warm?

          After Nokia revealed its partnership with Microsoft, many developers began regarding MeeGo and Symbian as sinking ships. However, they’re not being immediately ditched by the world’s biggest phone maker. Nokia’s still selling Symbian devices, and many millions still exist in the hands of consumers. But how long will it be before these platforms really do run out of gas for good?

      • Android

        • Android will lead smartphone market this year, says IDC
        • Android/Linux Predicted to have a Near-Monopoly of Smartphones by 2015

          IDC predicts 450million smart phones will ship in 2011. That’s a big number. About the same as “PC” shipments. Linux will be on a lot of them, about 39.5%.

        • Absolute Android apps

          With thousands of Android apps to choose from everyone has their favourite. These are some out our picks

          If you’re an Android user there are literally thousands of apps to choose from in the Android Market. Which is great for variety but a nightmare to find the ones that you really will use versus the ones that will simply take up space on your mobile phone or tablet PC.

        • Abandoning Android: Thoughts on the future of FOSS on modern devices

          Android’s development model has always been flawed. Google develops it behind closed doors and then makes the source available after each major release. This puts Android in the strange position of being FOSS only after development on a release is complete. During development it is closed. This has often raised my suspicion but I’ve never considered it more than an annoyance. I’d often wished that Android was developed out in the open by a larger community than just Google; however, having Android be FOSS by the time it got to me has always been sweet enough to stomach the sour taste of closed development. Now, with the recent announcement of Google’s intention to keep Android 3.0 closed source for some unknown length of time, it is clear this can no longer be ignored. Google, and thus Android, cannot be trusted.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Hercules Launches New eCAFE Netbooks

        Hercules has launched a new range of eCAFE netbooks, the eCAFE Slim HD and the eCAFE EX HD, both models are designed to be ultra portable, and the EX HD is designed to provide up to 13 hours of usage.

        Both models comes with a Cortex A8 processor, and Linux as the OS, you get 512MB of RAM a standard and 8GB of storage in the eCAFE Slim HD or 16GB of storage in the eCAFE EX HD, plus 50GB of online storage.

      • Linux and ARM Power New 10-Inch Netbooks

        Hardware maker Hercules this week gave Linux fans a nice boost by unveiling two new additions to its eCAFÉ netbook line that use ARM processors and run the open source operating system.

Free Software/Open Source

  • OSI: The Open Source Road Ahead


  • It isn’t open source if it doesn’t pass “The patch test”.

    I think most know by now that a license is insufficient to make something actually open source. The license just helps pass the sniff test. I use one other test which I like to call “The Patch Test”.

  • NASA concludes first Open Source Summit, aims to make openness the default

    NASA has been implementing an Open Government Plan for nearly a year, and this week they held the first NASA Open Source Summit in Mountain View, CA. But the roots of open source at NASA go back much further, to its founding legislation in 1958, which designed NASA as a source that would “provide for the widest practicable and appropriate dissemination of information”–a goal perfectly suited to an open approach.

  • Google to NASA: Open source will not kill you

    Google open source guru Chris DiBona has called on NASA to use more open source code in its aerospace program, urging the government agency to test free software in unmanned flights and “blow-up some robots.”

    “I’ve heard people say: ‘We don’t want to endanger flights. We don’t want to endanger lives. Open source software comes from unknown sources.’ But that’s not what open source software is,” DiBona told gathered NASA employees on Wednesday at NASA’s inaugural Open Source Summit at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. “Open source software is still software. You have to make sure it fits your mission. You have to make sure it provides utility and security and the ‘bug-free-ed-ness’ you’re looking for. It’s just software.

  • My NASA presentation: “Open Source Governance for your Organization”

    Today I’m giving a presentation at the NASA Open Source Summit at the NASA Ames Conference Center in Mountain View, CA. The talk is called “Open Source Governance for your Organization” and is based on my experience within IBM in the last few years and what I have written in this blog.

  • Free Software needs Free Speech!

    You might think that a good program is all about good programming. But for a number of applications, the barrier to success isn’t programming at all. Some of the most interesting projects nowadays — speech recognition, for example — rely on machine-learning from databases of information. It’s not enough to write free software for these applications, we have to also provide that software with the right data. Contributing to these projects is needed from a much larger group of people, but it also can be very easy to do.

  • Yahoo Plans to Open Source Code for Non-core Technologies

    Yahoo plans to release some technologies, including storage technologies, to the open source community, a senior executive of the company said.

  • Open Source Software Tools And Directories: Where To Find Them, How To Evaluate Them
  • 8 Ways Companies Can Contribute to Open Source Communities

    Open source software (OSS) is recognized for the cost savings it delivers when compared with proprietary alternatives. As enterprises continue to adopt OSS, the open source communities, mostly made up of volunteers, have been calling on enterprises to make contributions and donations with the aim of fostering open source software innovation and growth.

    With more that 1,000 open source communities in existence today, enterprises have many options when choosing where to contribute. With each community potentially delivering enterprise-grade technology, large companies have many reasons to keep open source alive and well. How can enterprises evaluate which communities to work with and how to get involved? Here are some suggestions.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • FireSSH- A Firefox add-on to run SSH client in your browser
      • Mozilla’s Do Not Track header gaining ad industry support

        One of the new features that Mozilla introduced in Firefox 4 is a Do Not Track (DNT) setting. When the user enables the DNT option in the browser’s preference dialog, Firefox will transmit a custom header in HTTP requests that will inform servers that the user wants to opt out of Internet tracking. The concept has obvious merit because it provides a simpler, more predictable, and more consistent approach than the cookie-based mechanisms that are currently used today to signify opt-out status.

      • Firefox 4 leads IE9 in downloads and usage
      • Firefox 4 includes new feature for thwarting web attacks

        The latest version of Mozilla’s Firefox web browser, version 4, was released this week with a number of new security features, including a mechanism for preventing web-based attacks.

        One of the new security features, called Content Security Policy (CSP), is enabled by default and designed to stop common web-based attacks, such as cross-site scripting (XSS) and data injection, by providing a mechanism for sites to explicitly tell the browser which content is legitimate, according to Mozilla.

      • Firefox 4 borked by Compiz bug in Linux
      • 15 handy Firefox 4 tips and tricks

        Firefox 4 is the best Firefox yet, and it’s packed with useful tricks and features that can make your online life easier.

      • Firefox 5 Preview Available, Stable On April 13

        Mozilla is already offering a preview of the next-generation Firefox 5 for download and is planning on providing a stabilized version in about two weeks. Firefox 5 final is expected to arrive in the week of June 29.

      • 3 Best Ways To Speed Up Firefox 4 Browser

        Firefox 4 is special in many senses. Mozilla has made sure that this time users would love this browser in every aspect, whether it would be performance or display. We would be sharing some wonderful tips which would let you speed up Firefox 4.

      • Firefox 4 Tips: Bend the New Browser to Your Will

        Mozilla released Firefox 4 last week. I’m trying hard to like the new browser, but it keeps finding ways to annoy me. First, it moved the Reload button for no good reason (same for the Home button, but that’s just as easily fixed). Second, it put the tabs at the top of the screen (again, easily fixed). Third, and most important, a bunch of my favorite add-ons stopped working. Luckily, I’ve come up with a few ways to fix the interface quirks that are driving me nuts and solve the extension compatibility problem.

      • Firefox 5 Preview Available Now

        It turns out that Mozilla was not kidding. Firefox 5 is already in the works and can actually already be downloaded as a preview.

      • Mozilla kills embedding support for Gecko layout engine – Update

        Mozilla has officially ended support for embedding the Gecko layout engine in applications other than Mozilla core applications. The move will have an impact on any application which has used the Firefox layout engine in their applications and the first to announce that it will have to make significant changes is the Camino browser. A layout engine provides all the functionality needed to take HTML or other web content and convert it into a displayable form.

        In a posting to mozilla.dev.embedding, Embedding Module owner Benjamin Smedberg said that Mozilla had been considering the future for embedding Gecko in other applications. He cites the difficulty involved to date, the expected complexity of moving to a multiple process model and the desire to “strongly prioritize” Firefox as the key product of Mozilla. There is a possibility that embedding support could return in the future after Mozilla has moved Firefox to a multi-process model, but the developers are not going to prioritise that as a goal in their design work.

  • SaaS

    • Cloud Hype Can Mask Silver Lining

      When, as Gingras pointed out, it’s been reduced by Microsoft’s cloud commercials to the answer to all of life’s problems, we’ve clearly reached a level of complete absurdity. You need to fix that family picture? Go to the cloud. You bored at the airport? Go to the cloud.

    • Some Thoughts on Diaspora
  • Databases

    • A migrator’s guide to Drizzle

      The stable release of Drizzle has generated a lot of interest in migrating previous MySQL web sites to Drizzle. The good news for people attempting such migrations is that this isn’t incredibly difficult in many cases; this article will describe what to look out for and how to go about converting a web site or any other database related project.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Planning JDK 8, and beyond

      We already know what some of the big-ticket items are likely to be. There’ll be room for other features too, however, both large and small. It’s therefore time to define a simple process for collecting, sorting, reviewing, and prioritizing proposals and plans for new features, for JDK 8 and for later releases.

    • [LibreOffice] GSoc Ideas
    • 20 things we’d change about OpenOffice.org

      OpenOffice.org is a huge lumbering beast.

      Don’t get us wrong, we like it in principle and the practice is steadily getting better, but there’s still room for improvement.

      Here are 20 things we’d change about it to make it better.

    • Openoffice.org & Libreoffice- Personal/Family Budget Spreadsheet
    • The Document Foundation Marks Six Months of Freedom

      The Document Foundation published a summary today listing its achievements since its inception on September 28, 2010. Most users know of the widely publicized events such as the three releases of LibreOffice and the call for donations in order to fund the formation of a legal foundation. But activity has also encompassed, among other things, social and other media interaction, intellectual property protection, and distribution relationships.

    • LibreOffice Portable 3.3.2 (complete office suite) Released

      PortableApps.com and The Document Foundation are proud to announce the release of LibreOffice Portable 3.3.2. LibreOffice Portable is a full-featured office suite — including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation tool, drawing package and database — packaged as a portable app, so you can take all your documents and everything you need to work with them wherever you go.

    • Developer interview: Christina Rossmanith
  • CMS

    • Configuration management in Drupal 8

      In my DrupalCon keynote in Chicago, I talked about the key initiatives that I believe we should focus on for Drupal 8 core. One of those key initiatives that I talked about was configuration management.

  • Business

    • Beyond $1bn: Why Red Hat is a one off

      Others, which mix proprietary software and open source, fare little better. SourceFire is at $130m, while companies like Alfresco, SugarCRM, Pentaho, JasperSoft, etc. talk about reaching $100m as the likely threshold to filing for an IPO.

      But no one – no one – is anywhere near Red Hat’s $1bn. Why?

    • Red Hat: one in a billion

      It looks like it’s time again to ponder on Red Hat’s ability to (nearly) make $1bn in annual revenue and wonder why open source has not produced more billion dollar success stories.

    • Semi-Open Source

      • Open For Business: Open source for sale

        I have been asked to turn “Open for Business” into a monthly column, focusing on applying the open source way to business. Let the reader beware that I am not a millionaire. I don’t own multiple houses or drive a new car, but for the past eight years I have made a living running a business focused exclusively on open source software (and that’s without needing outside investment). The suggestions offered in this column fall in line with our business plan of “spend less than you earn.” I hope others will find them useful.


  • Government

    • The Openness of Government

      In November 1959, for TV Guide Magazine, John F. Kennedy wrote about television as “a force that has changed the political scene”. He had recently experienced the first televised Presidential debates, against Richard M. Nixon, and realised that things would never be the same again. But not even he foresaw that 50 years later, that same communication technology would still be rewriting the rules of politics and government, continuing to open up yet more aspects of political life — not least by bringing the workings of parliaments around the world into our homes.

    • Federal IT Dashboard goes open source

      Today, we’re excited to announce that our Civic Commons team, working with the White House and the Federal CIO, has made the cost-saving IT Dashboard, the technology behind IT.USAspending.gov, freely available for any government entity to use and customize. This development is the latest in a growing movement to cut government IT spending by sharing reusable technology, thereby reducing redundant development costs and encouraging cooperation between multiple branches and levels of government.

  • Licensing

    • Google open source guru: ‘Why we ban the AGPL’

      At the beginning of his talk, DiBona said that according to Google’s net crawlers, the web now contains over 31 million open source projects, spanning 2 billion lines of code. Forty-eight per cent of these projects are under the GPL, 23 per cent use the LGPL, 14 per cent use the BSD license, 6 per cent use Apache, and 5 per cent use the MIT license.

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Greplin open sources Python tools

      Details about the utilities can be found a post on the Greplin:tech blog. Greplin also notes that, “As always: we love pull requests, issue reports, and comments!”. The tools are hosted on GitHub and are released under version 2.0 of the Apache License.

    • FOSS Development Is My Full-Time Job: Patricia Santana Cruz

      Last week we interviewed Luciana Fujii Pontello a representation of women power in the GNU/Linux world. This week we are publishing the interview of Patricia Santana Cruz who was played a critical role in the release of the latest version of Cheese.

    • SNAFU—Situation Normal, All Fouled Up! | The Joy of Programming

      The stories of software development projects in crisis are amazingly familiar to all experienced programmers and managers. In this column, we’ll see which aspects of projects in crisis are strikingly similar and how they relate to bugs.

      A software product is inseparable from underlying software process which resulted in creating it. Though bugs are technical in nature, it is the software development process that has the most impact on resulting in bugs. To illustrate this, see what happens in a new software project when – Raphus cucullatus, nicknamed Dodo – was given the responsibility of managing the project.

      All is well: Dodo kick starts the new project with a team of experienced developers. Dodo thinks that software can be produced under tight deadlines and creates a project plan. The customer is satisfied with the plan.

    • Announcing Penny Red
  • Standards/Consortia

    • Tagesschau.de awarded for the use of Open Standards

      Today the ARD internet platform Tagesschau.de will receive an award for the use of Open Standards at the “Document Freedom Day”. The prize is awarded by the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) and the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure e.V. (FFII) for offering the broadcasted shows also in the free video format “Ogg Theora”.

      In Berlin FSFE and FFII will hand over a certificate and a cake with the “rOgg On!” label on to Sven Bruns, technical manager at tagesschau.de. In Hamburg, Sabine Klein, vice editorial director of tagesschau.de will accept a DFD cake on behalf of the editorial team.

    • OASIS ODF 1.2 Committee Specification Approved
    • Approval of OpenDocument Version 1.2 as Committee Specification(CS)

      Approval of OpenDocument Version 1.2 as Committee Specification(CS)

    • INT: ODF 1.2 is approved as a Committee Specification

      On 17 March 2011, the Technical Committee (TC) of the Open Document Format for Office Applications (OpenDocument or ODF) officially and unanimously approved ODF 1.2 as a Committee Specification.

      The ODF TC is in the Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards (OASIS), the global consortium that drives the development, convergence and adoption of standards for electronic business and web services, and which is the designated maintenance body for the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC34 IS26300 format. The next stage of the approval process is the official vote within OASIS to adopt this specification as an OASIS standard.

    • Celebrate Document Freedom Day!

      Today marks the annual observance of Document Freedom Day (DFD), a global day for document liberation.

      On this important occasion, let’s all recognize that progress has been made to promote and use open standards and to liberate documents. In January, India’s Department of Information Technology published its draft Interoperability Framework for E-Governance in India (IFEG), which lists ODF on its approved standards for e-governance in India.

    • HTML5 browser-based media player: plays your mp3′s & works offline

      “Yawn – yet another music player?” might be your first reaction at the sight of yet-another media player gracing the pages of OMG! Ubuntu, but this one is actually rather special.

      The HTML5-written media player runs in the browser (so what?) but is designed to play back your local media (oooh!): your entire music library can be added and played through it (super neat).

    • HOWTO: Unchain Yourself from Proprietary Formats

      Today being Document Freedom Day, I’m taking stock of how unencumbered my digital lifestyle is — both on the consumption as well as on the production side.

    • Document Freedom Day: UK releases Government ICT Strategy in .odt

      Today, the United Kingdom’s CabinetOffice released is official Government ICT Strategy – not only in .pdf and .doc, but also in .odt!


  • Council loses £2.5m claim against Big Blue

    Southwark Council’s claim for £2.5m in damages from IBM for supposedly faulty software has been dismissed.

    The court found that IBM had delivered the system as requested in 2007. It was bought through a framework agreement between the Treasury and IBM.

  • “Duty of Care”: Yesterday’s Hearing in Utah St. Court on Rosenberg v. Google
  • Google and Oracle File Claim Construction Statements & Fight Again About Discovery – Updated

    Google and Oracle have each now filed Claim Construction Statements, along with supporting declarations, in the Oracle v. Google patent litigation, and the previous dustup over discovery has broken out once again, with Oracle writing to the judge whining about Google’s responses to Oracle’s Interrogatories numbers 4-16.

  • Why Unix Is Superior

    The motivation of the post was a discussion in ##unix on Freenode.

    1. The command line interface.
    2. Various shells, including their script syntax.
    3. Builtin programming language support for many languages.

  • The rather petite Internet of 1995

    As you may know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, sometimes we like to take a trip down memory lane. It’s time for another one of those trips, to the murky past of the Internet and the dawning World Wide Web of 1995.

    Let’s start first with the people who actually use the Internet. How many were there back then?

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Fukushima radioactive fallout nears Chernobyl levels

      Japan’s damaged nuclear plant in Fukushima has been emitting radioactive iodine and caesium at levels approaching those seen in the aftermath of the Chernobyl accident in 1986. Austrian researchers have used a worldwide network of radiation detectors – designed to spot clandestine nuclear bomb tests – to show that iodine-131 is being released at daily levels 73 per cent of those seen after the 1986 disaster. The daily amount of caesium-137 released from Fukushima Daiichi is around 60 per cent of the amount released from Chernobyl.

      The difference between this accident and Chernobyl, they say, is that at Chernobyl a huge fire released large amounts of many radioactive materials, including fuel particles, in smoke. At Fukushima Daiichi, only the volatile elements, such as iodine and caesium, are bubbling off the damaged fuel. But these substances could nevertheless pose a significant health risk outside the plant.

    • Japan may have lost race to save nuclear reactor

      The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site.

      The warning follows an analysis by a leading US expert of radiation levels at the plant. Readings from reactor two at the site have been made public by the Japanese authorities and Tepco, the utility that operates it.

      Richard Lahey, who was head of safety research for boiling-water reactors at General Electric when the company installed the units at Fukushima, told the Guardian workers at the site appeared to have “lost the race” to save the reactor, but said there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.

  • Finance

    • Brooksley Born Questions Lloyd Blankfein Over AIG And Derivatives Risk

      Since we can’t watch Lloyd on trial in the Galleon case, we present the next best thing – a few minutes of last January’s FCIC hearing with Brooksley Born, who warned more than a decade ago about a derivatives nightmare before being professionally silenced by Greenspan, Summers and Rubin.

    • Goldman Special Situation Profit Seen at Risk With Volcker

      For Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s Special Situations Group, disasters can be a source of some of the biggest profits. Now the secretive investing operation faces its own potential calamity.

      Goldman Sachs already has shut two units that made bets with the company’s money because such proprietary trading by banks will be prohibited under the Volcker rule approved by Congress last year. Still, the Special Situations Group, known as SSG, continues to make investments and named a new global head last month. Executives have argued that SSG shouldn’t be affected because it’s more of a lending than a trading business.

    • Proprietary Trading Goes Under Cover: Michael Lewis

      A few weeks ago we asked a simple question: Why are the same Wall Street banks that lobbied so hard to dilute the passages in the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill banning proprietary trading now jettisoning their proprietary trading groups, without so much as a whimper?

  • Privacy

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Apple’s ‘App Store trademark’: A farce of Jobsian proportions

        Microsoft has once again stood up to Apple’s epically ridiculous attempt to trademark the term “app store”, filing another request that the US Patent and Trademark Office deny Apple’s trademark application in full.

        “Apple cannot escape the hard truth: when people talk about competitors’ stores, they call them ‘app stores.’ You don’t have to look far to find this generic use – The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and even Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs,” reads Microsoft’s latest filing with the US Trademark and Patent Office.

Clip of the Day

Japan Tsunami at full height from the ground level.

Credit: TinyOgg

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