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Submission + - Google Partners with OIN "To Help Linux Thrive (

lymeca writes: "Groklaw reports that Google has become the Open Invention Network's first end user licensee. The OIN was established by companies such as IBM, Red Hat, and somewhat ironically Novell to accumulate patents and license them royalty free to any company who promises not to leverage their own patent portfolio against key applications available on GNU/Linux, including many GNU projects as well as Linux itself. As Chris DiBona, Google's open source programs manager puts it:

Linux plays a vital role at Google, and we're strongly committed to supporting the Linux developer community. We believe that by becoming an Open Invention Network licensee, we can encourage Linux development and foster innovation in a way that benefits everyone. We're proud to participate in OIN's mission to help Linux thrive.
This marks an important and symbolic step forward in the battle between Free/Open Source Software and the looming specter of software patent infringements in nations which recognise them. Google's support bolsters the OIN's effectiveness as a shield against patent attacks against GNU/Linux and many popular applications which run on it."

Comment Age of Empires III's false XP requirement (Score 5, Interesting) 376

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the extremely relevant precedent set by Age of Empires III. Although I exclusively run GNU/Linux now, at the time of Age of Empires III's release in November of 2005 I was running Windows 2000 Pro with no intention of ever using Windows XP. This isn't the time or place to discuss why I refused to use XP, but suffice to say that my experience getting AoE III to work foreshadowed what was to come in any Microsoft published game.

Being a fan of the earlier Age of Empires games, I acquired a copy of the newly released AoE III which turned out to list Windows XP as the only supported operating system. To my extreme (albeit momentary) dismay, running the setup.exe on the first game disc produced an error requiring an upgrade to Windows XP before installing the game. I simply refused to believe it, seeing as how 2000 and XP are extremely similar operating systems and that there's no technical reason this game would require one and not work on the other.

Five minutes of Googling later, I ran the setup.exe from the command prompt, passing the "/n" command line switch to the executable. This switch runs the game setup in network install mode: the setup program believes it is installing the game over a network, so it doesn't check the operating system version! Needless to say I just pointed the installer to a local directory and it installed without a hitch.

Even better is that the main game executable didn't require any patching. Directly after installation, the game ran perfectly under Windows 2000! Only the setup.exe on the game disc had the farse "XP-only" restriction, and a simple trick, built-in to the executable no less, proved that the operating system requirement was merely a shallow marketing decision by Microsoft to force people on to Windows XP.

This anecdote might be interesting for those who haven't played AoE III (or haven't tried getting it to run on another OS besides XP). It has taught me to never trust a game published by Microsoft, and because of my experience, as soon as I heard that Halo 2 PC was going to be Vista-only many months ago I instantly knew that it would be a superficial hack akin to the OS check on the AoE III setup.exe.

Of course there are going to be people who relish in being able to break this superficial and shallow marketing decision, but I'd like to send a big THANK YOU out to those who actually put the time and effort into doing so.
Sun Microsystems

Submission + - ZFS on Linux: It's alive! (

lymeca writes: LinuxWorld reports that Sun Microsystem's ZFS filesystem has been converted from its incanartion in OpenSolaris to a module capable of running in the Linux user-space filsystem project, FUSE. Because of the license incompatibilities with the Linux kernel, it has not yet been integrated for distribution within the kernel itself. This project, called ZFS on FUSE, aims to enable GNU/Linux users to use ZFS as a process in userspace, bypassing the legal barrier inherent in having the filesystem coded into the Linux kernel itself. Booting from a ZFS partition has been confirmed to work. The performance currently clocks in at about half as fast as XFS, but with all the success the NTFS-3g project has had creating a high performance FUSE implementation of the NTFS filesystem, there's hope that performance tweaking could yield a practical elimination of barriers for GNU/Linux users to make use of all that ZFS has to offer.

Submission + - Orson Scott Card Confirms Ender's Game Video Games (

lymeca writes: In an interview over at Gaming Today, Orson Scott Card confirms the development of an Ender's Game video game and elaborates on the multitude of potential future games in the Ender universe. He also talks about his experiences writing for and playing games, as well as why he believes games inherently never have the potential for storytelling on the level of novels and films. From the interview: "What makes a game work is the opposite of what makes a story work. In a story, you are seeking to find out what really happened — why people do what they do, what the results of their choices are. You identify with the character(s) but you do not control them. Instead, the author has the ultimate authority. ... In a game, the opposite illusion must be created. Even though most games absolutely force you to follow preset paths, the gamewrights try to give you the illusion that you are making free choices."

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