Free Rants

The truth is out there

Long time no see
Long time I haven't actually posted.

What was expected to happen will happen. GPLv3 is working to prevent these patent licensing that Microsoft pushed Linux vendors to sign like with Novell. Another two vendors caught the bait. The first one is Xandros. Not surprising seeing how the struggle to even understand the Linux market. The second one is Linspire, which is not much more surprising either as they are on the same boat as Xandros. ESR joined them, making a lot of fuss, and not even using their product but using Ubuntu. Will they rename back to Lindows? Both Xandros and Linspire are notorious to try to go after Windows using the same proprietary software weapons. The only difference is that Linspire landed some deals with low cost vendors, and ther actually contributed a couple of apps to the FLOSS ecosystem, unlike Xandros. I wish them the best fall, when GPLv3 will hit hard.

This is after Microsoft spread FUD about patents.

Following this, Mark Shuttleworth announced that Canonical was NOT in negotiation with Microsoft. I guess only time will tell. We know that Launchpad is supposed to be open-source ;-)

Mandriva is on the same tune, no agreement.

So what will happen? GPLv3 will strike back. It too early to say, but I really hope that packages like Samba, that are GPLv2, will be relicensed une GPLv3. Samba is by itself the key piece of the Windows interoperability chimera that they are all running after. I'm confident that this will happen as Jeremy Allison has quit Novell to protest against the agreement. The fall will be hard. Harder if the switch is made for the stable version.

Advocay Hazards
Hazardous or good arguments about desktop usability, or how bashing a free software solution to promote yours (ie KDE vs Gnome) cause dispruption in advocating FLOSS solution. Think about it when someone bash you for using a Free Desktop that is not his choice.

(no subject)
The spaceman is trolling, and JPR put it back in place. Andreas also has his answer. (the openSUSE thread turn into a flamewar, not surprising)

My take. Yes we can very bad at what Novell did. Yes we can be willing to push GPLv3 in order to make sure the basic freedoms of software are not worked around. The GPLv3 is somewhat controversial, but Novell actually changed other peoples mind toward adopting GPLv3. Thanks Novell for that, time for a backdraft.

But Mark, is this a reason to take on a community? I don't think. Even more when said self-appointed dictor has decided that proprietary software should be part of the distribution, a radical move opposite to OpenSUSE, Fedora and Debian to whom you base your work? When will you make the promise you did about launchpad, releasing the source? Even more when your own employee sfllaw commit to talk about "ASP the death of Free Software" at BarCamp in Montréal (shite can't find the link to the page, but I'm sure about the proposal, less about its execution). ASP stand for Application Service Provider, and launchpad is an ASP. So if your own employees think about it, then you have a problem.

And openSUSE member seems to have a bit of humour, even if there are still blind followers on the proprietary driver issues.

Ubuntu, for non free people
Is Ubuntu non-free

This is IMHO the wrong choice. Shuttleworth would better spend extra bucks on having people replace these non-free driver.

ipw3945 is easy, OpenBSD has it.

madwifi as an alternative that has been announced as non-encubered. Another one solved. Needs a bit of work. And also coming in part from OpenBSD.

As for ATI and Nvidia, maybe sponsoring developers to work on nouveau or the ATI driver would be better spent money.

More about the MSFT patent pledge
Bradley Kuhn as an interesting article about the uselessness of the patent pledge from Microsoft following the Novell/Microsoft agreement.

A cold day in hell
[This post is a tad sketchy. I has been postponed, rewritten, etc, and it still is not statisfactory. I post it as is for what it is]

"Microsoft has agreed to sell cancer. Or least to support Novell's SUSE Linux and be more friendly to the open source operating system." -- TheReg

Yes you read, that is the announcement that has just spread like a virus all over the web. Announcement webcasted by Novell in non-free formats: Flash and WMV. Yes you read: Linux streams = Flash. Hello Novell!

Also users of OpenSUSE express their discontent.

But what is all that fuss about? Clairement the announcement about Microsoft selling Linux us pure decoy. Decoy to turn people away from the real truth. Read on Groklaw for a bit. And for another bit.

You have read? Fine. So what is it about? It is about patent terrorrism. In short, Microsoft claimed to have some patents and Linux and Hovespian Fell Into the Trap. It is hard to know how all of this happened internal at Novell, but I have a high suspicion that Miguel and Nat are not foreign to the decision. The reason? Mono.

Mono is a Free Software implementation of Microsft CLR runtime with the .Net class framework and C# compiler. Mono is Ximian main project, led by Miguel and Nat, Ximian having been acquired by Novell in 2003. This software, despite being release under Free Software licenses (GPL, LGPL and MIT/X11 mostly) has always been controversial when it comes to patent issues, as Microsoft is known to have a portfolio on patents on the underlying technologies. Miguel's defense was always that Microsoft said they wouldn't sue on this, but without any real committment. Would you trust Microsoft on this? Nobody did.

In November 2005, RedHat decided that they could now ship Mono after the Open Invention Network has been setup. The goal of OIN is to provide a portofolio of patents to be used as a defense if somebody start to sue (like Microsoft). But apparently this is not enough.

Now that postpone to finish this article, Novell just posted the FAQ. I can smell B.S. from far away. Read Q4 and Q5. Nice loophole. The effect is the same. Somebody pay to not be sued for patent infringement. If that is not acknowledging patents, then what is it? Read on Groklaw commentary, and Havoc Pennington opinion.

Patent war
TheReg has been publishing several articles on patents lawsuits in the last days:

  • SGI sues ATI over patent infringement. It should be noted that SGI is just out of Chapter 11, back on the NASDAQ and that SGI lost a patent lawsuit against Nvidia before that. Since AMD and ATI merged, they are actually suing AMD. Mmmm....

  • Nokia and Qualcomm still fighting. I admit I haven't really followed that one.

  • And I kept the biggest: IBM wades into Amazon: The lawsuits reportedly accuse Amazon of "willfully" violating IBM patents for "such services as allowing users to order items from an electronic catalog and displaying internet advertising". To refresh memories, Amazon has a patent on one-click shopping.

Oracle running after RedHat
Oracle is running after Redhat. Maybe this is a real acknowledgment from traditionnal proprietary software companies so Linux is mature on their market.

On the other side, there are rumors of Canonical seeking partnership with Oracle for Oracle RDBMS certification on Ubuntu Server.

Debian, Debian, Debian
Debian has been the center of various debate

  • The Mozilla trademark, leading to renaming Firefox to Iceweasel, and Thunderbird to Icedove. Basically the MoFo (Mozilla Foundation) was unhappy about Debian removing the logos in the name of DFSG but keeping the names and modifying the sources. No agreement has been found so far. Debian will use the GnuZilla branch of Mozilla, provided by the GNU Project.

  • On the other hand, Dunc Tank, where some people when to raise funds to pay a Debian release manager to release Debain Etch on time. This does not make unanimity within Debian. I'll pull some more links later.

More ESR
Sorry for the slack, I have been pretty busy. I'll try to cut back updating.

ESR strikes back: according to OSNews ESR strikes back by talking about being more proprietary. Since it is on LugRadio, I'll tell more when I really get to listen to it.


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