Hey Amanda [McPherson], the C in Comments in Not Censorship (Corrected)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Kernel, OSDL at 11:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Correction: as indicated at the bottom, there may have been an accident here and no censorship was involved. Below is the original post.]

Linux Foundation, open up already

I don’t mean to start another unnecessary argument with the Linux Foundation (there is more than one in the past), but having advised the Foundation not to start an argument with Sun Microsystems I also posted the following polite comment:

Hi Amanda,

As someone who advocates Linux passionately, I’d advise against provoking a war of words again Sun. Other companies will use it against us.

Take care, I’m subscribed to this blog now.

A day went by. Many new comments showed up, but mine did not. I’ve just had to post another test comment to confirm that moderation is applied to everything. Therefore, that comment of mine (quoted above in full) was discarded, rejected. What is that all about?


Jim Zemlin (Linux Foundation) on Software Patent Trolls, Samsung’s Patent Deal Revisited

Posted in Asia, Deals, Dell, GNU/Linux, Hardware, IBM, Interview, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OSDL, Patents, Samsung, SLES/SLED at 12:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

In light of this recent interview with Jim Zemlin [MP3 or Flash], where Jim talks about the patent threat (or lack thereof) to Linux, consider the following news:

Samsung, Hitachi sign licence deal on hard drives

Samsung, the world’s largest maker of memory chips, said in a filing with the Korea Exchange that the agreement with Hitachi Global Storage Technologies Inc covers HDD patents by International Business Machines Corp and Hitachi. Japanese electronics conglomerate Hitachi bought IBM’s disk drive operations in 2002 for $2 billion.

As you can see, IBM is indirectly involved and the same would go for Lenovo in a separate context. It is worth raising a couple of issues now:

  1. Dell sells PCs with SLED preloaded, but only in China. Microsoft gets paid for these sales of GNU/Linux, thanks to our friends at Novell.
  2. Similarly, Lenovo, which bought a business unit from IBM and is based in China, seems to favour the use of SLED. Once again, Microsoft gets paid for software it has nothing to do with.
  3. Hitachi (and IBM by association) are said to be engaged in a patent deal with Samsung. Samsung also signed a patent deal that involved Linux.

Ever since Samsung signed a patent deal with Microsoft — a deal whose statement included and mentioned Linux by name — we’ve wondered what the vague descriptions (or non-descriptions) actually meant [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19]. For instance, we suspected that phones using Mono had something to do with this. Yes, Samsung uses some Mono on some of its smartphones. Whether the Linux kernel was also involved in cross-licensing or not, it was hard to tell at the time. It was probably never discussed either because the patents seem mythical.

Mono is all about the money


Novell and Nasdaq, Microsoft’s Latest Hire

Posted in Finance, Humour, Interoperability, Microsoft, Nasdaq, Novell, OSDL at 1:09 pm by Shane Coyle

A few quick notes on our friends in Waltham and Redmond, respecively.

Novell in Compliance with Nasdaq

This is certainly good to hear for Novell, and I no longer need to ponder making a template for those non-compliance notices each quarter. Now that their stock options review is complete they have filed all of their requisite paperwork, Novell are now considered as being back in the good graces of Nasdaq.

The company received three warnings from the exchange after it failed to submit two quarterly earnings reports and its 2006 annual report. Novell (nasdaq: NOVL – news – people ) said it submitted the reports last month after completing a review of past stock option grants.

Nasdaq officials notified the company Tuesday that the issue has been resolved and the company’s shares will continue trading on the exchange.

Microsoft Hires Director of Linux Interoperability

Microsoft has hired former Linux Foundation engineering director Tom Hanrahan, and I would like to wish him luck in that position. I would have appreciated learning that I did not get the position in some other manner than seeing it in the news, but whatever.

In an e-mail late Thursday night, a Microsoft representative said the role will be filled by Tom Hanrahan, who was most recently the director of engineering at the Linux Foundation, the group created through the recent combination of the Free Standards Group and the Open Source Development Labs.

Now, whether this is a position in which Hanrahan will be able to (or truly desire to) affect any change within Redmond will remain to be seen. Previous experiences with Linux folks who try to reform Microsoft from within have generally ended badly.


A Look Back at Noteworthy Stories

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, GPL, Interoperability, Law, Microsoft, Novell, OSDL, Patent Covenant, Patents at 10:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There is no point in denying the fact that the past fortnight has been crazy. We have seen a mountain of tension erupting, with many consequences to explore. Here is a bunch of very recently stories that are worth a mention.

The first is a one-page report [PDF warning] with a legal point of view. It argues that Microsoft officially jumped the shark on May 14th. It comments on the Forbes article which broke the news and then suggests that careful attention was paid to the need for dramatic effect.

“This article has been written with a great deal of skill. It has painted the scenario in a dramatic manner and one which highlights some dire consequences. It even ends on an enigmatic phone call to Mr Ballmer, in which he ominously declines to cross a bridge (that would be the ‘sue your customers’ bridge, not the One-Step-Closer-to-Patent-Armageddon bridge–that’s been crossed already)…”

Yesterday, Shane wrote a nice short piece on the economic of FUD. He was referring to the Linux Foundation’s official rebuttal in BusinessWeek. The story behind this succinct LF rebuttal is told by one of its members, who also explains the role of the LF.

The Linux Foundation was formed to perform a number of roles: one is to speak out on issues of concern to the Linux ecosystem in particular, and open source in general. Another is what we refer to internally by the shorthand handle as “the Legal Protect” function. That means that we launch internally as well support externally a variety of initiatives that legally strengthen the Linux ecosystem.

Here is a piece explaining what Microsoft fears more than GNU/Linux. It is what some believe to be the inevitable transition to Free software everywhere.

I believe their [Microsoft's] choice of defense gives us the clue: they are hinting strongly at a possible battle with intellectual property (IP). They see don’t see Linux as the real threat: they see the goals and ideals of free and open source software taking hold and becoming the main threat. Because in Microsoft’s nightmare world where copyleft and open source becomes the norm, they would begin to lose their IP and the very thing they think makes them Microsoft.


Choke off the “oxygen” of free software, and you might eliminate the threat. Or, specifically in Microsoft’s case, poison the atmosphere instead. They get the same results.

This is very much validated by the fact that Microsoft has stubbornly attacked the GPL recently. The licence comes under fire from a large number of directions and if you follow the money trail, then you usually find Microsoft.

In news relating more closely to Novell, Groklaw suggests that SCO’s case against Novell has almost run out of steam. In reference to their new fight for a patent reform, one might find articles with deceiving headlines, such as “EFF Defends Novell Partnership” (but not necessarily Novell’s partnership with Microsoft). Similar deceiving headlines were spotted when Google was asked to open up more. The headlines could be interpreted as though Eben Moglen demands, through the GPLv3, that Google should make all of its source code openly available.

Microsoft gets a voice in another article where it explains why one needs to pay for interoperability, rather than rely on standards (not implementation). It’s another shot calling for distributors to repeat Novell’s mistake.


Linux Foundation Joins the Front Opposing Microsoft’s Threats

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, OIN, OSDL, Patents, Servers, SUN, UNIX at 8:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Over the years, Linux has accumulated many shields. First consider OIN. Then, remember that there are titans out there who will fight for Linux because it saved them billions of dollars. IBM, for example, can fight independently, even without OIN.

Here comes another large cogwheel into play. It is, of course, the recently-founded Linux Foundation, which is gaining new members very quickly as more and more companies see and embrace the promise of Linux. The Linux Foundation is now preparing to rebut Microsoft, shall that be necessary.

“If you use Windows, Solaris, [IBM's] AIX or any similar operating system, you have the same patent infringement risk as using Linux. Microsoft should be careful of what it starts because it doesn’t know where it will end,” said Zemlin [of the Linux Foundation] in an interview.

There may be an ugly story, however, behind OSDL’s transition into the Linux Foundation (merger). There is reason to suspect that the Linux Foundation might be a Novell apologist and a GPLv3 slammer, even after Stuart Cohen’s (somewhat forced) departure.

The Linux Foundation isn’t the first to take a strong stand against Microsoft’s recent actions and make Microsoft worry. In fact, OpenOffice.org has already come out swinging. It slammed Microsoft, claiming that its actions are miserable acts that reflect on its own miseries and fears.


Linux Foundation Formed, Novell to Interview Jim Zemlin

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Interview, Novell, OSDL, Standard at 9:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It is likely that you have heard already about the merger which turns OSDL (Open Source Development Labs) and the FSG (Free Standards Group) into the Linux Foundation. Whether you like this or not, Novell will soon release an interview with the FSG executive director. This loosely relates to Bruce Perens’ desire not to have Novell closely involved in directions which the Linux community takes. This deal may have already cost OSDL a decent proportion of its staff, due to its divisive nature.


OSDL Changes Due to Remark on Novell/Microsoft Deal

Posted in Action, Law, OSDL at 12:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

We recently mentioned an E-mail which suggested that Stuart Cohen’s departure from OSDL was related to Novell. There is a now a more formal statement from InformationWeek.

Cohen angered members of the open source community last month by endorsing Novell’s agreement with Microsoft to work on interoperability between Novell’s Suse Linux and Windows. Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer’s subsequent comments that Linux most likely contains Windows code didn’t help.

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