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Science In Islamic Countries 1289

biohack sends us to Physics Today for a thought-provoking article on the status of and prospects for science in Islamic countries. The author, a Pakistani physicist, posits that 'Internal causes led to the decline of Islam's scientific greatness long before the era of mercantile imperialism. To contribute once again, Muslims must be introspective and ask what went wrong.' The author makes a few strong conclusions, many of which are relevant to the general debate between science and religion. From the article: "Science finds every soil barren in which miracles are taken literally and seriously and revelation is considered to provide authentic knowledge of the physical world. If the scientific method is trashed, no amount of resources or loud declarations of intent to develop science can compensate. In those circumstances, scientific research becomes, at best, a kind of cataloging or 'butterfly-collecting' activity. It cannot be a creative process of genuine inquiry in which bold hypotheses are made and checked."

Microsoft Pledges Conditional Support for ODF 241

Macthorpe writes "BetaNews is reporting that Microsoft has announced in a letter that they will support ODF as a format option, if it doesn't 'restrict choice among formats'. Citing their lack of opposition to the ratification of ODF as a standard, they go on to say: 'ODF's design may make it attractive to those users that are interested in a particular level of functionality in their productivity suite or developers who want to work that format. Open XML may be more attractive to those who want richer functionality [...] This is not to say that one is better than the other — just that they meet different needs in the marketplace.'"

Microsoft Details FOSS Patent Breaches 576

CptRevelation writes "Microsoft has released more detailed information on the patents supposedly in breach by the open-source community. Despite their accusations of infringement, they state they would rather do licensing deals instead of any legal action. 'Open-source programs step on 235 Microsoft patents, the company said. Free Linux software violates 42 patents. Graphical user interfaces, the way menus and windows look on the screen, breach 65. E-mail programs step on 15, and other programs touch 68 other patents, the company said. The patent figures were first reported by Fortune magazine. Microsoft also said Open Office, an open-source program supported in part by Sun Microsystems Inc., infringes on 45 patents. Sun declined to comment on the allegation.'"

Hilf Claims Free Software Movement Dead 395

moe1975 writes to mention that Bill Hilf has taken a rather aggressive stance with regard to the status of the Free Software movement. With claims like; "The Free Software movement is dead. Linux doesn't exist in 2007. Even Linus has got a job today" it would certainly seem that the next offensive is going to be sponsored by denial. "For the desktop, Hilf sees a new frontier in terms of rich client programming. With more and more services by Amazon, Google, Yahoo and, of course, Microsoft being run as services rather than as software installed locally, it will be up to the desktop to provide richer functionality."

Microsoft Says Free Software Violates 235 Patents 1217

prostoalex writes "Microsoft told Fortune magazine that various free software products violate at least 235 patents, and it's time to expect users of this software to pay up patent licensing royalties: 'Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith and licensing chief Horacio Gutierrez sat down with Fortune recently to map out their strategy for getting FOSS users to pay royalties. Revealing the precise figure for the first time, they state that FOSS infringes on no fewer than 235 Microsoft patents.'"

Biofuels Coming With a High Environmental Price? 541

DurandalTree writes "With the spectre of global warming on the horizon, biofuels have been touted as the solution to motor vehicles' greenhouse gas emissions. But with biodiesel use on the increase, it appears a distinctively environmentally unfriendly footprint is being left behind by some of its prime sources; affected food prices are surging out of reach of the poor and rainforests are being destroyed to create larger plantations."

Council of the EU Says "We Cannot Support Linux" 370

An anonymous reader writes "The Council of the EU has a streaming service so that we can watch its meetings — but the service can only be accessed by Mac or MS Windows users. This is because they employ WMV format for the videos. In the FAQ they express a really strange opinion about this: 'The live streaming media service of the Council of the European Union can be viewed on Microsoft Windows and Macintosh platforms. We cannot support Linux in a legal way. So the answer is: No support for Linux.' An online petition has been set up to create pressure to convince the EU council to change its service to one that is platform independent."

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