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Microsoft Patent Deal With JVC May Cover Linux Use

Microsoft said Tuesday that it struck a patent cross-licensing deal with Japanese electronics manufacturer JVC that includes net payments from JVC to Microsoft. Under the deal, both companies will exchange patent information related to the development and manufacturing of consumer products. More specific terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Microsoft, however, did say that the deal's balance of payments tilts in its direction. "Microsoft is being compensated by JVC," Microsoft said in a statement. The statement has raised speculation that Microsoft may be charging JVC for its use of the Linux operating system in some of its products. Among other things, JVC uses Linux in its streaming video networking gear.

The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated. -Mark Twain

Yes, Gentoo has some issues concerning the Gentoo foundation. Yes, we are actively working on straightening out these issues. No, Gentoo is not dying. Developers are still coding, servers are still humming and moral among developers that I work with is high. The state of the foundation is not something that will stop the kernel team from releasing kernels, the KDE team from working their butts off so KDE 4 compiles on everyone’s machine, or the release team from creating and testing the forthcoming release.

Why I’ve stopped reporting bugs to Ubuntu

I’ve largely stopped reporting bugs to Ubuntu because of the condescending and dismissive attitude from their developers. Today I stumbled across what unfortunately seems like another typical example of what happens when you report a bug to them: aumix in Ubuntu 7.10 was compiled wrong, such that it won’t even launch. Recompiling the source package without making any changes to the source fixes the problem. Instead of just doing that, the Ubuntu developers spent far more time and effort bickering on the bug report and justifying their inaction by referring to official protocol.

Powerful Multimedia Command-Line Tools, Part II—Transcode

MEncoder has supported video encoding for a long time with the MPlayer Project and FFmpeg, which also now is part of MPlayer now. Transcode is a new command-line tool on the horizon for video and audio transformations. Transcode used to give me horrors, but it is much better now. It does take some time to learn its wonderfully unintuitive syntax—the author used all the lowercase and uppercase English alphabet letters for specifying the command-line options. Using longer mnemonic options common in other Linux commands might have made things easier. Anyway, let's get to the meat of the matter.


PackageKit aims to take the pain out of the package management on GNU/Linux systems and create a system that can compete with Windows and Mac. Development is proceeding at a rapid pace and it is set to be available in Fedora 9. To find out more, we talked to Richard Hughes, project creator, and Robin Norwood, the Fedora feature owner; as always, you can catch some screenshots at the end!

N. Dakota Judge rules that "host -l" command constitutes hacking

A North Dakota judge issued a ruling in Sierra Corporate Design v. Ritz that has some pretty stunning implications about the use of the "host -l" command when accessing DNS records. In the judgment (which was prepared by the plaintiff's counsel and sent to the judge), the use of the "host -l" command is tantamount to computer hijacking and hacking.

Predictions that went right and wrong

Open source support still worries Asian users, low-cost laptops took off against the odds, and India is still on top for outsourcing.

College students design Linux-based stethoscope

A team of engineering students at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. is designing a digital stethoscope based on uClinux. The team, called "Rhythm Reloaded," released a project proposal on the open source device, which runs Freescale's Coldfire MCF5275 CPU. The Rhythm Reloaded team is building the stethoscope as part of a senior design project. The team hopes its device will be the first electronic stethoscope able to record, filter, and store computer audio data from a medical patient.

The Open Source Freeloader Phenomenon

After the filing of the Verizon / BusyBox suit, and after reading about any number of other, similar incidents where a company showed what could only be seen as flagrant disregard for the GPL, I had to ask myself: Why do people do this? Are companies really that naive about the GPL, or do they just think they can get away with anything? I've gone back and forth about this, and I've come to the conclusion that GPL violators, or "freeloaders," aren't all of one mind. There's more than one way for a given vendor to run afoul of the GPL, and I've tabulated three that seem to be the most common.

Patent concerns

Due to patent concerns, we won't be able to include any games in Fedora which meet the following criteria: A game where "targets" move across the screen to a predetermined point or line, where the player hits a button/key/mouse click as the target(s) crosses that point or line, and gets points.

[Why does this stupid patent exist at all? It should have been laughed out of the PTO on first sight. - Sander]

KDE 4.0, A Call for Perspective

KDE 4.0 was released last week and all hell seemed to break loose. What I view as a solid first step in a very positive reaction was met with some applause, but generally scorn and complaints. I think some perspective is needed, and I humbly offer to try and provide some. I’d like to take issue with some things I see that are just plain wrong.

Free Ontario - the List

Join the discussion for a grassroots campaign to bring F/LOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) to government in the Province of Ontario. After Ontario, we’ll take on the other provinces, one by one, until we have a Free Canada. And then on to other countries...

Free software goes Hollywood

As the Writers Guild of America's strike enters its fourth month, one of its key issues -- the sharing of profits from online distribution -- is encouraging the rise of new production companies that are exploring alternative methods of production and distribution. Along with Hollywood Disrupted and Founders Media Group, these new companies include Virtual Artists, whose goal is to bring free software developers and Hollywood writers together to experiment.

Microsoft at Sydney Linux User Group, Friday 25 January

Yes, you read right, Microsoft will be represented at the next SLUG meeting. We've confirmed that Microsoft will be visiting SLUG on Friday 25 January. If you can't make it to the meeting, please post your questions at out wiki.

California HealthCare: Open Source Market Assessment

Anin-depth article on F/OSS EHR's including comparisons and contrasts of the front-runners has been published by California Healthcare Foundation:Open-source electronic health record (EHR) systems, have proliferated in recent years. This executive summary presents the findings from an evaluation designed to determine whether these systems, commonly referred to as free and open-source software (FOSS), are suitable as ambulatory EHRs.

Linspire PC: Even Better Than the gPC

The gPC has gotten a lot of attention, but it still has its flaws such as minimal hardware and a relatively untested Linux distribution. The new Linspire PC solves some of those flaws.

The First Day of the KDE 4.0 Release Event

The first day of the KDE 4.0 Release Event in Mountain View, California, got off to a great start on Thursday, with attendees fuelled by a hearty breakfast provided by Google. Then, the "un-conference" was ready to get underway, and within minutes the first topics were added to the whiteboards. Meanwhile, the room filled with people from across North America and worldwide, all with an interest in KDE. Read on for more details.

SimplyMEPIS 7.0 is a keeper

The long awaited SimplyMEPIS 7.0 was finally released just before Christmas, and it was worth the wait. In this mature and sometimes underrated operating system, everything looks good and works well. Because I was familiar with previous MEPIS versions, the first thing I noticed in 7.0 was the lovely new artwork. The tasteful theme begins at the live CD boot screen and continues through the boot splash and login screen to the desktop.

Uh Oh! Microsoft Already Supports OpenDocument Format?

Microsoft shoots itself in the foot by admitting that ODF support is doable and implicitly suggesting that OOXML is therefore redundant

PCLinuxOS 2008: And we have another winner!

I waxed poetic about PCLinuxOS 2007 a few months ago when I compared it to Mint (and even earlier about version 0.93a). After 8 months, Texstar and the "Ripper Gang" are in the process of releasing another version (about time...). The new version, PCLinuxOS 2008, will ship with KDE 4, but at the time of writing, the final isn't out yet. They recently released a so-called "MiniMe" version of the final product with KDE 3.5, and it's better than ever- to the point that I would actually use it.

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