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FSF Uses Android FUD To Push GPLv3 282

jfruhlinger writes "We've already seen claims from Edward Naughton and Florian Mueller that most Android distributors are in violation of the GPL — claims that the open source community has, for the most part, rejected. Therefore it's disheartening to see that the FSF is using this line of reasoning to push the GPL v3 over the supposedly more troublesome GPL v2. The FSF's press release on the subject emphasizes 'worries' without bringing up a specific concrete case of infringement — a classic FUD technique."

Ballmer Repeats Threats Against Linux 470

daria42 writes "Steve Ballmer has reissued Microsoft's patent threat against Linux, warning open-source vendors that they must respect his company's intellectual property. In a no-nonsense presentation to New York financial analysts last week, Microsoft's chief executive said the company's partnership with Novell, which it signed in November 2006, "demonstrated clearly the value of intellectual property, even in the open-source world.""

ESR's Desktop Linux 2008 Deadline 535

jesboat noted Eric S. Raymond and Rob Landley's essay about what the Linux community must do to achieve dominance entitled "World Domination 201". It says "Idealism about open formats will not solve our multimedia problem in time; in fact, getting stuck on either belief in the technical superiority of open source or free-software purism guarantees we will lose. The remaining problems aren't technical ones, and none of the interesting patents will expire before the end of 2008. We've got to ship something that works now. If we let this be a blocking issue preventing overall Linux adoption during the transition window, we won't have the userbase to demand changes in the laws to untangle the screwed up patent system, or even prevent it from getting worse. It's a chicken and egg problem, demanding a workaround until a permanent solution can be achieved. We can't set the standards until after we take over the world."

Debian Delayed by Disenchanted Developers 329

Torus Kas writes "Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 was supposed to be due by December 4 and development is currently frozen. Apparently the saga was triggered by disenchantment towards funding of $6,000 for each of the 2 release managers to work full-time in order to speed up the development. Many unpaid developers simply put off Debian work to work on something else."

The True Cost of One Laptop Per Child 356

An anonymous reader writes "The '$100 laptop' Negroponte is hoping to put in the hands of millions of kids in developing nations may actually be more like the '$900 laptop.' From the article, 'Jon Camfield says...once maintenance, training, Internet connectivity, and other factors are taken into account, the actual cost of each laptop rises to more than $970. This, he says, doesn't even take in to account the additional costs associated with theft, loss, or accidental damage. Camfield contends that such an expensive undertaking should at least be field-tested in pilot programs designed to establish the viability of the project before asking countries to invest millions, or perhaps billions, of dollars.'" Newsforge and Slashdot are both owned by OSTG.

Why the Word 'Planet' Will Never Be Defined 141

eldavojohn writes "What makes a planet a planet? Slashdot covered the great debate about whether or not Pluto qualified and Space.com now has up an article explaining why we'll never have the term 'planet' defined to a point that everyone can agree on. Divisions in the scientific community currently stand over whether or not it has to be in orbit around a star, the dynamics of the body in question and apparently the country you come from plays a part in it too. Some feel the United States is the dominant deciding factor on the definition but the IAU has not turned to democratizing the definition yet." From the article: "In the broadest terms, a planet could be thought of as anything from an 800-kilometer-wide (500-mile-wide) round rock orbiting a dead star to a colossal gas ball floating alone in space."

Ballmer Says Linux "Infringes Our Intellectual Property" 820

Stony Stevenson writes "In comments confirming the open-source community's suspicions, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer Thursday declared his belief that the Linux operating system infringes on Microsoft's intellectual property." From the ComputerWorld article: "In a question-and-answer session after his keynote speech at the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) conference in Seattle, Ballmer said Microsoft was motivated to sign a deal with SUSE Linux distributor Novell earlier this month because Linux 'uses our intellectual property' and Microsoft wanted to 'get the appropriate economic return for our shareholders from our innovation.'" His exact wording is available at the Seattle Intelligencer, which has a transcript of the interview. Groklaw had an article up Wednesday giving some perspective on the Novell/Microsoft deal. Guess we'll have something to talk about in 2007, huh?

Wikipedia Used To Spread Virus 116

eldavojohn writes "The German Wikipedia has recently been used to launch a virus attack. Hackers posted a link to an all alleged fix for a new version of the blaster worm. Instead, it was a link to download malicious software. They then sent e-mails advising people to update their computers and directed them to the Wikipedia article. Since Wikipedia has been gaining more trust & credibility, I can see how this would work in some cases. The page has, of course, been fixed but this is nevertheless a valuable lesson for Wikipedia users."

What Earth Without People Would Look Like 671

Raynor writes "Imagine a world without people. What if every human being, all 6.5 billion of us, were suddenly abducted and the planet was left to fend for itself? The planet would heal. 'The sad truth is, once the humans get out of the picture, the outlook starts to get a lot better,' says John Orrock, a conservation biologist. Pollution would cease being created. It would remain around for many years, CO2 taking as long as 20,000 years to be restored to it's natural level, but will decrease. Even if we were all whisked away and our nuclear reactors melted down, it would have a surprisingly little effect on the planet. Chernobyl gives hope to this end. 'I really expected to see a nuclear desert there,' says Ronald Chesser, an environmental biologist. 'I was quite surprised. When you enter into the exclusion zone, it's a very thriving ecosystem.' In the grand scheme of the world there would be little evidence of our existence at 100,000 years. The most permanent piece is the radio waves we've emitted of the last century. As the article puts it, 'The humbling — and perversely comforting — reality is that the Earth will forget us remarkably quickly.'"

Hackers Find Use for Google Code Search 176

An anonymous reader wrote in to say that "Google has inadvertently given online attackers a new tool. The company's new source-code search engine, unveiled Thursday as a tool to help simplify life for developers, can also be misused to search for software bugs, password information and even proprietary code that shouldn't have been posted to the Internet, security experts said Friday. "

Adobe Threatens Microsoft With Suit 362

lseltzer writes "Adobe has threatened an antitrust suit against Microsoft, over PDF writing in Office 2007. Adobe wants Microsoft to separate the feature and charge extra for it. Microsoft has agreed to remove PDF writing, but won't charge extra." From the eWeek article: "In February, Adobe Chief Executive Bruce Chizen told Reuters he considered Microsoft to be the company's biggest concern. 'The competitor I worry about most is Microsoft,' Chizen said at the time. Adobe's PDF technology lets producers create and distribute documents digitally that retain designs, pictures and formatting. "

BSA Claims 35% of Software is Pirated 617

hdtv writes "Business Software Alliance says 35% of packaged software installed on PCs globally is pirated, and estimates the losses at $34 bln. From the article: 'The countries with the highest piracy rates were Vietnam (90%), Zimbabwe (90%), Indonesia (87%), China (86%), and Pakistan (86%). The countries with the lowest piracy rates were the United States (21%), New Zealand (23%), Austria (26%), and Finland (26%).' TechDirt analysis debunks some of the myths: 'The BSA claims that all of these "lost sales" represent real harm to the economy. It's the same bogus argument they've trotted out before, which is easily debunked. Much of that unauthorized software is being used to make firms much more productive than they would be otherwise -- probably benefiting the overall economy quite a bit.'"

Microsoft Claims OpenDocument is Too Slow 553

SirClicksalot writes "Microsoft claims that the OpenDocument Format (ODF) is too slow for easy use. They cite a study carried out by ZDNet.com that compared OpenOffice.org 2.0 with the XML formats in Microsoft Office 2003. This comes after the international standards body ISO approved ODF earlier this month." From the ZDNet article: "'The use of OpenDocument documents is slower to the point of not really being satisfactory,' Alan Yates, the general manager of Microsoft's information worker strategy, told ZDNet UK on Wednesday. 'The Open XML format is designed for performance. XML is fundamentally slower than binary formats so we have made sure that customers won't notice a big difference in performance.'"

Bell Labs Unix -- Reach out and grep someone.