LXer Weekly Roundup for 10-Oct-2010

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Oct 11, 2010 4:28 AM
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.)


LXer Feature: 11-Oct-2010

Some of the big stories this week included Steve Ballmer saying Android isn't free, Bruce Byfield talks about Ubuntu's real contribution to FOSS, Google makes aggressive counterclaims in the Oracle suit, Glyn Moody asks; Is Microsoft running out of steam? and last but not least Scott Charney, a Microsoft VP says that infected PCs should be banned from the internet. You have to read it to believe it. Enjoy!

Ballmer: Android ain't free. Microsoft gets paid.: On the back of the news that Microsoft (MSFT) is suing Motorola (MOT) for patent infringments related to Android, Steve Ballmer tells the Wall Street Journal that HTC is paying a license fee for its use of Android...and that other Android manufactures may be forced to do the same.

Fork You, Oracle!: The open source community viscerally reacts to Oracle's acquisition of Sun. Well it finally happened, as we all knew it would. Oracle bought Sun and promptly pissed off a lot of people with its heavy-handed ways. Anybody who has followed Oracle’s past antics shouldn’t be surprised by its behavior since acquiring OpenOffice, nor the reaction from the open source community which can be simply summed up as follows:

The OpenOffice fork is officially here: It's not that Oracle wishes ill of The Document Foundation and its take on OpenOffice, LibreOffice. Oracle just isn't going to be having anything to do with it. When The Document Foundation released the beta of LibreOffice, the group wanted to speed up the rate of changes to the notoriously slow OpenOffice office suite software project and make significant improvements to OpenOffice, such as adding Microsoft OpenXML format compatibility to the program. This suggestion received support from all the major open-source and Linux powers: Red Hat, Novell, and Ubuntu. Even Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, announced that they'd place LibreOffice in next spring's update of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu's Real Contribution to Free Software: Reactions to Ubuntu are rarely balanced. Too often, people love or hate it so extravagantly that the opinions negate themselves. Often, the reactions are so extreme that a fair assessment of the popular distribution is difficult. Add some genuine mis-steps, and the assessment seems almost impossible. So exactly what does Ubuntu contribute to free software? The answer, I think, is different from what those in either extreme seem to believe.

Google Answers Oracle, Counterclaims, and Moves to Dismiss Copyright Infringement Claim: Google has filed its Answer with Counterclaims to Oracle's patent and copyright infringement complaint, and how! It's a very aggressive and confident response to Oracle's complaint. Google asks that Oracle's complaint be dismissed, for a judgment in favor of all its counterclaims, for a declaratory judgment that Google has not infringed or contributed to any infringement of any of the patents, a declaration of the invalidity of all the Oracle patents, and a declaration that all Oracle's claims are barred by laches, equitable estoppel and/or waiver, and unclean hands. It wants Oracle to have to pays its costs and expenses of this litigation, including Google's attorneys' fees and expert witness fees, asking for a judgment that this is an exceptional case warranting it.

Is Microsoft running out of steam?: People forget that the central purpose of patents is to encourage real innovation, not simply reward people for being the first to file for even obvious ideas with over-stretched patent offices that set incredibly low bars. The world of patents has become perverted in recent years: patents are seen as valuable things in themselves – the more the merrier – irrespective of whether they do, truly, promote innovation. Worse: in the world of software, they are actually brakes on that innovation, particularly as they begin to interact and form impenetrable patent thickets.

One Billion Dollars! Wait… I Mean One Billion Files!!!: The world is awash in data. This fact is putting more and more pressure on file systems to efficiently scale to handle increasingly large amounts of data. Recently, Ric Wheeler from Redhat experimented with putting 1 Billion files in a single file system to understand what problems/issues the Linux community might face in the future. Let’s see what happened…

Whither the weather? Linux CLI solutions: Command line weather app is example of why the cli is good. The command line is a great place to get weather information. Here, I discuss one cli-app for current conditions and forecasts, in the larger context of why you would ever want to use the command line anyway. There are several ways to use your computer to check the weather. One is to use the Nakob Weather Rock method. Suspend the computer using a rope from a tripod of sticks. If the computer is swaying, that means it is windy. If the computer is wet, that means it is raining.

Mozilla upsets net world order with Bing on Firefox: The Firefox 4 search toolbar will offer Microsoft Bing as an alternative to Google, as Mozilla takes another step towards its traditional nemesis — and apparently hedges its bets against its traditional sugar daddy. As Mozilla announced this morning with a blog post, the latest English-language version of Mozilla's open source browser — due for release in November — will retain Google as the default search engine. But for the first time, Bing will be listed in the pull-down that lets you change the default. Google will be first on the menu. Yahoo! — now powered by Bing — will be second. And Bing will be third.

Are there too Many Consortia?: Companies that participate in hundreds of standard setting organizations (SSOs) often bemoan the continuing launch of more and more such organizations. Why, they are wont to ask, are so many new ones being formed all the time? And indeed, the aggregate participation costs for such companies in terms of membership dues and personnel are very high.

Sick PCs should be banned from the net says Microsoft: Virus-infected computers that pose a risk to other PCs should be blocked from the net, a senior researcher at software giant Microsoft suggests.

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