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Submission + - Software Patents in New Zealand Dead. Again. (computerworld.co.nz)

Hairy1 writes: Wellington, New Zealand. Minister of Commerce Simon Power confirms that software will be included as an exception to the Patent Bill currently before Parliament. After the initial announcement made earlier this year that software patents would be excluded from patentability significant pressure was applied by "NZICT", an organisation representing the major multinational IT vendors. After a meeting with NZICT on June 9 the Minister initially appeared to change course, saying that a modification may be made and raising fears that behind the scenes lobbying had derailed the transparent Select Committee process. Those fears are now quiet after the Minister confirmed that the Bill would be adopted by Parliament as recommended by the Select Committee.

Submission + - NY State could shape the global OOXML - ODF debate (fanaticattack.com)

christian.einfeldt writes: "As was reported first here on Slashdot on 18 December 2007, the State of New York has opened a Request For Public Comment (RFPC) on whether it should adopt ODF (the current ISO standard) or Microsoft's OOXML as a standard for electronic documents for the State's government agencies. The public comment period will end on 28 December 20007. In response to that Slashdot article, open format advocate Russell Ossendryver has updated a previous open letter that he had penned to the National Boards of the countries eligible to vote in the upcoming February Microsoft OOXML ISO contest. In the update, Ossendryver urges New York State CIO Melodie Mayberry-Stewart to consider the impact that her report could have on the subsequent ISO vote: Says Ossendryver,

'The timing of the due date for the release of the report, 15 January 2008, places New York State in a position to have an impact on the international vote in late February, a mere 40 days or so later. The eyes of the world will be watching you, New York! '
Scroll to the bottom of the page to see that update."


Submission + - New Zealand Justice Ministry prefers Open Source (nzoss.org.nz)

christian.einfeldt writes: "In a paper dated 11 Dec. 2007, the New Zealand Justice Ministry has taken a position favoring Free Open Source Software if all other aspects of the proprietary competitor are comparable. The policy does not rule out proprietary software; but it does state a clear preference for FOSS where all other things are equal. The nine-page paper (PDF warning) does not purport to express any sort of legal or commercial commitment by the Ministry, but instead 'is believed to be consistent with existing MoJ policies.' The most salient reasons given for the preference are summarized in one sentence: 'Given two equivalent packages, one open and one proprietary, the OSS one would be the preferable choice for reasons of better supportability and lower lifecycle cost.'"

Submission + - A short history of Microsoft's OOXML ISO campaign (fanaticattack.com)

christian.einfeldt writes: "Russell Ossendryver is the open format advocate whose open letter to the GNOME Foundation touched off a widespread debate about whether and to what extent GNOME is supporting Microsoft's drive for ISO status for its OOXML office productivity data format. Now, Ossendryver has published the first in a concise three-part series aimed at examining Microsoft's strategy in opposing ODF's rapid growth as an open international data standard. It is not news that Microsoft has vigorously lobbied to have its OOXML standard supplant ODF, the current international office productivity data format standard, such as its recent efforts to halt the adoption of ODF by the Dutch Parliament. But Ossendryver's summary gives a bird's eye overview of that history, based on his extensive involvement in those debates as a long-time member of the OpenDocument Fellowship."

Submission + - IP Lawyer writing an e-book on ODF v. OOXML (consortiuminfo.org)

christian.einfeldt writes: "IP lawyer and popular FOSS blogger Andy Updegrove has announced that he is writing an e-book, entitled 'ODF vs. OOXML: War of the Words', which will chronicle the slug-fest between the OpenDocument Format and Microsoft's Open Office XML format. Calling it a 'a standards war of truly epic proportions' that he predicts will be 'studied in business schools and by economists for decades to come', Updegrove says that his goal in writing the book is to document this process now, as it is unfolding, rather than wait for the passage of time to cause memories to fade, witnesses to scatter, and the bias of history to confirm what we think we already know about the past. Updegrove makes no attempt to mask his pro-ODF bias, which is actually a refreshing and useful aid for his readers, who will begin this multi-chapter on-line journey with advance knowledge of the lens that Updegrove will use to point out sights (and sites) along the way. Updegrove wastes no time in delivering on his promise, and rolls out his first chapter, called 'Out of Nowhere', along with his announcement."

Submission + - Redhat sued for Patent Infringement

tqft writes: "http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20071011205044141
"The first ever patent infringement litigation regarding Linux. Here's the patent, for those who can look at it without risk. If in doubt, don't. "
For those who can without fear read a patent:


"Plaintiffs IP Innovation and Technology Licensing Corp. claim to have the rights to U.S. Patent No. 5,072,412 for a User Interface with Multiple Workspaces for Sharing Display System Objects issued Dec. 10, 1991 along with two other similar patents.

Get your game faces on. Party Time."

Programmer's Language-Aware Spell Checker? 452

Jerry Asher writes "Not all of my coworkers are careful about spelling errors. Sometimes this causes real embarrassment as spelling errors creep into software interfaces. Does anyone know of spell checkers for programming languages? I don't want a text spell checker, I want a programming-language-aware spell checker. A spell checker that I can pass all of my code through and will flag spelling errors in function names, variable names, and comments, but will ignore language keywords, language constructs and expressions, and various programming styles (camel code, or underscores, or...). I want a spell checker that knows that void *functionSigniture(char *myRoutine) contains one spelling error. Does anyone have such a thing for Java or C++? Are there any Eclipse plugins that do this?"

Submission + - Archos 405 with DVR Functionality Reviewed (cooltechzone.com)

toby writes: "CoolTechZone.com's Gundeep Hora reviews Archos' latest 405 portable media player that can record movies and TV shows directly from your DVR recorder, and it can also show movies, music, photos and PDF files on your TV. He writes, "Audio and video performance was excellent in our tests. As we stated earlier, video and images were crisp and vibrant on a matte display. And there's no difference between audio and video quality. They are both topnotch, a miracle for a dedicated portable video player (PVP). According to Archos, the battery life can last approximately 5x hours for video and 16x hours for audio. It met those times comfortably in our performance lab. Despite that, however, these aren't the best times we have seen with other PVP's, but we can let it slide for now. Of course, equalizer options and other customizations are present for you to tinker with, if that's your thing. With that said, we are absolutely appalled at the 2GB onboard memory capacity. Is Archos serious about this? How could you possibly sell such a loaded device, but skimp on integrated storage? Wow, just wow! Thanks to Archos, you should now budget the price of SD cards for expandable storage in the final price."

Submission + - AFNOR will vote "No" with comments to OOXM (afnor.fr)

BlueYoshi writes: The french normalisation organisation AFNOR will vote "no" with comment for the proposition of OOXML as an ISO standard. The AFNOR is asking to some change in the specifiction to have a convergence between ODF and OOXML.

They propose to separate in 2 the specification (core and compatibilty). the press communication in french. Microsoft France reacted on this communication but is looking forward to collaborate.


Submission + - Sourceforge elbows in new privacy policy (sourceforge.net)

An anonymous reader writes: In an email a received from Sourceforge some hours ago, they announce their brand new privacy policy. Compared to their current privacy policy, this new document really lays out what they can do with your personal information. Here's an excerpt from the cookies section:

The ads appearing on SourceForge.net are delivered to visitors by DoubleClick, Inc. ("DoubleClick"), SourceForge's current third party web advertising partner. The third party advertising technology that SourceForge uses on SourceForge.net uses information derived from a user's visits to SourceForge.net to target advertising within this site. In addition, SourceForge's advertisers may use other third party advertising technology to target advertising on this site. In the course of serving advertisements to SourceForge.net, DoubleClick may place or recognize a unique cookie on a user's browser. Information about users' visits to SourceForge.net, such as the number of times users have viewed an ad (but not users' names, addresses, or other personally-identifiable information), are used to serve ads to visitors. As with other cookies, and consistent with SourceForge's policy on cookies stated above, the user may block or delete such cookies from the user's drive or memory. For more information about DoubleClick, DoubleClick's use of cookies, and how to "opt-out" of DoubleClick's email/information lists, please click here: http://www.doubleclick.net/us/corporate/privacy. SourceForge has no access or control over third party cookies.

That last part about their having no control over 3rd party cookies (emphasis mine), is not quite accurate: they don't have to choose to advertise with DoubleClick.

This from a do-gooder, community based web site! I thought as I read that passage. Now I realize this sort of thing (ad servers like DoubleClick snooping as you browse the web) is going on at a lot of sites, but shouldn't I expect better from Sourceforge? Or should we commend Sourceforge for coming clean with a clearer explanation of what their existing operating privacy policy is?


Submission + - implementation is a VM's greatest weakness (decsystem.org)

virtualmilk writes: "Google researchers examine four Virtual machine programs implemented on a Fat OS and a hypervisor. They discover holes and exploits and share the information.
:::Abstract: As virtual machines become increasingly commonplace as a method of separating hostile or hazardous code from commodity systems, the potential security exposure from implementation flaws has increased dramatically. (PDF research journal)"


If This Was a Month Ago, OOXML Would Be Over 230

Andy Updegrove writes "Public announcements of how Participating members of ISO have voted on OOXML are now rolling in one at a time, and the trend thus far is meaningfully weighted towards 'No with comments.' By my count, there are now four announced Yes votes, with comments, two abstentions, and seven public No with comments votes for OOXML in ISO/IEC JT1. Korea has reportedly voted no as well, and I expect at least Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom to announce 'No with comments' today or tomorrow. There will be more no votes on the roster when the final results are announced in a day or two. But even if the 11 votes I know of now were the only votes, the vote would now have failed — but for the 11 countries that upgraded their status from Observer to Participating member status in the last few weeks. Without those extra 11 'P' countries, it would only require 10 votes to block OOXML from immediate approval. If most or all of those additional 'P' members vote 'yes' as expected, it will confirm suspicions that Microsoft has promoted extra votes in favor of OOXML not only within National Bodies, but within ISO itself."

Submission + - Forget Sweden, another Scandal in Poland

quest writes: Due to ambiguities and procedural reservations that materialized recently during the works of KT-182 committee, companies Google, IBM plus the polish Foundation Of Free and Open Software" and part of members of KT-171 committee submitted a letter to the chairman of Polish Normalizing Committee (PKN) asking him to make PKN take neutral position in the voting over OOXML standarization in JTC.

On 9th August mr. Tomasz Schweitzer (deputy of The PKN chairman) informed the public opinion that KT 171 PKT is the basic committee in this case, but meantime KT 182 started it's own consultations in the matter of the project. KT 171 gave a negative opinion about the norm project with large majority of votes (82%).

For no obvious reason, the case was moved to KT 182, wchich during confidental voting decided to give a positive opinion about the norm project. Committee 182 also decided not to take (negative) votes of KT 171 under consideration. PKN till now has not explained why the project was reviewed by two committees or why the works were unexpectedly moved from one committee to another.

Nobody from PKN has also explained how is that possible that one committee has produced disapproval" opinion while the other approval" and only the opinion of the second is valid. The position of KT 182 is also completely incomprehensible as most of submitted opinions stated an objection to normalize OOXML.

All that incidents causes that Poland is not able to state clear and fair opinion in the case of OOXML specification. Polish Normalization Committee (PKN) has found itself in a situation where two technical committees voted differently, so companies, organization and private persons stated above believe that the proper decision is to abstain from voting.

Submission + - The false easter egg of Google Earth (redoracle.com)

An anonymous reader writes: According to some users, Google introduced an hidden functionality into the last version of Google Earth. In the last days users talked about a flight simulator into it. Lots of web sites considered this functionality an easter egg, but this is not true, 'cause it's totally documented.

Drilling for oil is boring.