LXer Weekly Roundup for 22-Aug-2010

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Aug 23, 2010 12:13 AM
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.)


LXer Feature: 22-Aug-2010

In this week's Roundup we have more on the Oracle - Google lawsuit, how corporate America went open source, games that transmit GPS coordinates, converting eBooks, a space elevator and a Happy 17th Birthday to Debian. Enjoy!

Google vows to fight Oracle lawsuit as Java creator speaks out: Google has vowed to fight Oracle's patent lawsuit over use of Java patents in Android, claiming that Android's Dalvik implementation is not covered. Meanwhile, Java creator James Gosling blogs that neither side in the lawsuit is without blame, but calls the suit a victory for "ego, money and power" at the expense of open software development, says eWEEK.

How corporate America went open-source: There was a time when open-source software was the domain of computer geeks and do-it-yourselfers with more time than money. But, as Oracle's legal salvo against Google highlighted last week, those days are long gone. Oracle (ORCL), through its purchase of Sun Microsystems, has become one of the largest purveyors of open-source software in the world. Google (GOOG) makes the open-source and increasingly ubiquitous Android smartphone operating system.

Android game secretly transmits GPS coordinates : In a post on their Connect blog, security specialist Symantec reports on a new trojan for Android that masquerades as a free Tap Snake game, while secretly transmitting GPS coordinates to a server in the background. These coordinates can then be retrieved and displayed in Google Maps via the GPS Spy Android app sold for €5 by the same vendor, Maxicom. According to Symantec, the Tap Snake process can't easily be killed and continues to run in the background.

Convert eBooks in Linux: Say you just bought an Amazon Kindle or a Barnes and Noble Nook. You want to convert your eBook collection to .EPUB or .MOBI format. For this, install Calibre. The application not only provides you with a graphical way to manage your eBook collection, but also comes with a set of useful command-line tools. One of these is ebook-convert. This tool can help you convert between tens of standard formats like EPUB, FB2, LIT, LRF, MOBI, OEB, PDB, PDF, PML, RB, RTF, TCR, TXT, HTML and more. Even CBR and CBZ (comic book formats) are supported.

A Space Elevator in <7: Future software advancements like cars that drive themselves will trigger a new perspective on whether we can build a space elevator, and in what timeframe.

Oracle scorns open source: How to respond?: As I've noted, I don't claim to have any insight into how this lawsuit will conclude, whether it will blow up into a long and bloody battle between Oracle and Google, or whether it will be concluded by some quick and relatively amicable solution. But I do believe that whatever happens, whatever it might nominally "win", Oracle has certainly and irrevocably lost more in terms of trust and goodwill within the free software world than it will ever understand. The message is clear: Fork all the main open source projects that Oracle owns or transfer energies to a replacement.

7 Sources of Free Sounds for Multimedia Projects: In my posts 11 Techy Things for Teachers to Try This Year and How To Do 11 Techy Things In the New School Year I mentioned podcasting and video creation. When creating podcasts and videos adding music and other sounds can enhance your students' presentations. Here are seven tools that your students can use find and or create sounds for their multimedia presentations.

How Oracle might kill Google’s Android and software patents all at once: In reality, Oracle is a major proponent of open software, pushing Linux and taking a stand against the notion of software patents themselves. Yes, that's right, the company filing the year's biggest software patent infringement case is also a major critic of the idea of software patents in general. When somebody points a gun at you, you point one back even if you don't like the idea of guns. You might even shoot first. Oracle likes Linux so much that it funds Btrfs, a GPL licensed, futuristic and advanced new file system that supports pooling, snapshots, checksums, and other features that sound a lot like Sun's ZFS, which Oracle now also owns. The difference is that Oracle didn't mire Btrfs in legal quandary the way Sun did with ZFS before Oracle bought them.

Like it or Not: It is a Windows World: "If you don't like Windows so much then don't use it!" This is something I have been told more than once (sometimes in not those kind of words) by various people when we have been discussing operating systems. As much as I would like to take their suggestion, the fact is I can't.

Why Oracle was right to sue Google: The tech industry loves a good vendor slugfest, and the upcoming legal battle between Google and Oracle has all the makings of a truly spectacular one. At issue is Dalvik, the unique, Java-based runtime at the heart of Google's Android smartphone OS. Oracle, which gained stewardship of the Java platform when it bought Sun Microsystems in 2009, claims Dalvik knowingly, willfully, and deliberately infringes on Java intellectual property. According to a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in San Francisco last week, Oracle is seeking a halt to any further Android development, destruction of all infringing Android software, and for Google to pay damages, both actual and statutory.

Happy 17th Birthday to Debian!: It was on August 16th, 1993 that Ian Murdock started the Debian Project. Named after he and his Wife with the idea of a 'distribution' collaborated on openly by people all over the world. Thank You Ian, seventeen years later Debian still rocks.

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