LXer Weekly Roundup for 27-Mar-2011

Posted by Scott_Ruecker on Mar 28, 2011 12:03 AM
LXer Linux News; By Scott Ruecker (Phoenix, U.S.)

LXer Feature: 27-Mar-2011

In the LXWR this week we have HP declaring its OS independence, the claims regarding Linux kernel headers in Android "seems totally bogus" according to Linus. Can free software idealism be pragmatic? Richard Hillesley thinks so. And our own Carla Schroder talks about the freeloading digital economy. Enjoy!

HP Declares its (web)OS Independence: With his announcement last week that webOS would be appearing on 100M devices including PCs, printers, phones and tablets; HP CEO Leo Apotheker threw down the OS gauntlet and let it be known his company is leaving Microsoft behind and going it alone.

GNU Call: An open source Skype: Free software world announces ambitious plans to build an open source Skype alternative. In an effort to create a free software alternative to Skype the GNU Project has announced plans for GNU Call. The project hopes to provide secure over-the-internet calls to all users and rival the popular Skype VoIP service.

Holding on to KDE 3.5.x and Gnome 2.x in 2011: One of the many beauties of FOSS - the ability for fork a project. The previous stable versions of both KDE and Gnome will live on in two new projects.

The tiny cube that could cut your cell phone bill: As mobile data usage skyrockets, wireless companies are spending billions each year to maximize capacity, and consumers end up footing the cost in the form of higher cell phone bills. But a cube that fits in the palm of your hand could help solve that problem.

Linus on Android headers: claims "seem totally bogus": The recent uncertainty cast over Android's Bionic library and its use of Linux kernel headers "seems totally bogus", according to Linus Torvalds. In an interview with Brian Proffitt at ITWorld, Torvalds said "I haven't looked at exactly what Google does with the kernel headers but I can't see they they'd want to do anything fundamentally different from glibc in this respect". He also pointed out that he has said making use of the kernel's system call interfaces, as described in the headers, does not "in any way result in a derived work as per the GPL".

Microsoft sues Nook partners over Android-based UI: Microsoft has filed a lawsuit against Barnes Noble with the ITC and the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Washington over Android-based UI techniques used in the Nook-e-reader claimed to be covered under Microsoft patents. The lawsuit also targets Nook device manufacturing partners Foxconn International and Inventec, says the company.

Microsoft vs. Android: If you can’t beat them, sue them. It’s pretty clear that Microsoft, a many-time failure at mass-market tablets has decided that if they can’t beat Apple and Android at popular tablets, they’ll sue them instead. That’s my only explanation for Microsoft suing Barnes & Noble, Foxconn, and Inventec over their Android e-readers.

Tux Which Does Not Exist...: Does Wikipedia know everything? 99% of Internet users will most likely answer "yes" to this question. Do you want me to prove that is not true?

The Pragmatism of Free Software Idealism: In the beginning, the idea that software should be free was deemed unrealistic and laughable, and then unworkable. Now, for the most part, it is deemed acceptable and desirable – not just as a workable approach to writing software, but as a means of writing better software.

The Freeloading Digital Economy: This is the terrible bargain of free content: in exchange for content we don't have to pay for, everyone pays in crappy content, ads masquerading as news and reviews, and wholesale invasion and exploitation of our privacy and personal business. We already have crappy advertiser-controlled TV and radio, why would anyone want to extend that to movies, books, and music?

Gnome 3 - This is the end, it seems: Gnome 3 is going to be the next major Gnome desktop release. It will replace the existing version with a radical new interface, which is focused on a modern, Web 2.0 like approach to computing. All right, but is it any good? I will try to give you two perspectives - that of a casual user and that of a veteran productivity user.

Why Is Microsoft Seeking New State Laws That Allow it to Sue Competitors For Piracy by Overseas Suppliers?: Microsoft seems to be trying to get its own personal unfair competition laws passed state by state, so it can sue US companies who get parts from overseas companies who used pirated Microsoft software anywhere in their business. The laws allow Microsoft to block the US company from selling the finished product in the state and compel them to pay damages for what the overseas supplier did. You heard me right. If a company overseas uses a pirated version of Excel, let's say, keeping track of how many parts it has shipped or whatever, and then sends some parts to General Motors or any large company to incorporate into the finished product, Microsoft can sue *not the overseas supplier* but General Motors, for unfair competition.

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