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Archive for June, 2008

Red Hat Summit panel: Who ‘won’ OOXML battle?

Red Hat Summit panel: Who ‘won’ OOXML battle? | InfoWorld | News | 2008-06-19 | By Chris Kanaracus, IDG News Service

ODF (Open Document Format) has benefited from the two-year battle over the ratification of Microsoft’s rival OOXML (Open Office XML) standard, which is native to its Office 2007 suite, Microsoft’s national technology officer said Thursday during a panel discussion at the Red Hat Summit in Boston.

“ODF has clearly won,” said Stuart McKee, referring to Microsoft’s recent announcement that it would begin natively supporting ODF in Office next year and join the technical committee overseeing the next version of the format.

“We sell software for a living. The ability to implement ODF in the middle of our ship cycle was just not possible,” he said. “We couldn’t do that during the release of Office 2007. We’re looking forward and committed to doing more than [ODF-to-OOXML] translators.”

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) ratified OOXML in April. ODF backers, including major vendors like IBM and Sun, long decried it as too proprietary to be declared a standard.

Java Finally Free and Open

Rich Sharples’ Blog » Blog Archive » Java is finally Free and Open

In June, 2007 – Red Hat launched the IcedTea project with the goal of making OpenJDK usable without requiring any other software that is not free. That in turn would allow OpenJDK to be included in Fedora and other Linux distributions without restrictions. The IcedTea Project made use of previous work developed under the GNU Classpath Project which had been independently driving towards a free and open implementation of the Java class libraries.

This week the IcedTea Project reached an important milestone – The latest OpenJDK binary included in Fedora 9 (x86 and x86_64) passes the rigorous Java Test Compatibility Kit (TCK). This means that it provides all the required Java APIs and behaves like any other Java SE 6 implementation – in keeping with the portability goal of the Java platform. As of writing, Fedora 9 is the only operating system to include a free and open Java SE 6 implementation that has passed the Java TCK. All of the code that makes this possible has been made available to the IcedTea project so everyone can benefit from the work.

The Java TCK is a complex suite of tools and documentation that verifies that Java implementations conform to the Java specification. It consists of more than 80,000 tests and over 1 million lines of code.

Sharing? Not that into it.

This guy is really not that into this whole open source thing.

Comments on ‘Red Hat chief calls for open source missionary work’ | Channel Register

Warm and Fuzzy
By Solomon Grundy
Posted Wednesday 18th June 2008 18:37 GMT

I sort of understand the community “share-and-share” alike mentality of the open source movement, but it never ceases to amaze me that businesses are truly expected to share the internally developed software with others. What’s the point of being in business if you give your product away?

Seems to me the only way to work it sustainably would be to have the best marketing, but lets face it – 99.98% of the developers of open source software couldn’t market or sell themselves out of bed, much less a successful marketing campaign. It looks like the open saucers are taking their core competencies and throwing them right out the window.

I hope most of them find jobs when the communes have closed and everyone has returned to the real world.

He also fails to understand that it’s a more efficient development model, so most of the enterprises who do share their code do so for other than altruistic reasons. Things get done better, faster, and money is saved. Essentially, if an idea is relevant, it will attract community participation, which will add value to that idea. If completing transactions and workloads are what’s important (rather than owning the tools to do them), then this is the way to go.

Why don’t some people get that? It’s just weird.

Disruption With A Smile

Red Hat JBoss announces Java EE middleware from the cloud | Service-Oriented Architecture |

Readers of this blogsite may know that I typically don’t talk too much about specific products. And I try not to talk too much about “inflection points,” because it seems we’ve been at one every month of every year for the past 20 years. But every now and then something comes along that makes you sit up and think, “hmmm… now this could be disruptive…”

Open source, cloud, and SOA meet

The news is an enterprise-class Java application server is now available from the cloud, via Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2). What we have, then, is open-source over the cloud for building and delivering SOA applications.

This week, Red Hat announced it is offering access to its JBoss Enterprise Application Platform as a solution within EC2. EC2 and other Amazon Web Services (such as storage) offer data center essentials on an on-demand basis, with fees based on metered usage. Red Hat has already offered Linux this way since November 2007.

Mark Webbink On the Settlement

Former Red Hat Counsel Mark Webbink and Duke Law professor offers his take on the Red hat patent Settlement

Walking With Elephants

Although I had to repress my initial gag reflex at even settling these cases (the amount of prior art identified against the original patent asserted by FireStar was/is almost mind boggling), the settlement is a rational response to such claims. Red Hat disposed of the claims in a fiscally responsible manner given the cost of patent litigation. However, that is the far less interesting aspect of the settlement. The truly admirable part of the settlement were the terms that Red Hat and its legal team extracted from DataTern and its financial backers. Not only did Red Hat obtain license terms that protect its products, including Hibernate, it did so in a manner that I believe is entirely consistent with both versions of the GPL. That is no small feat. And we are not talking about a Microsoft/Novell style license. On top of that, Red Hat didn’t stop with the asserted patents; they made sure that DataTern and its portfolio of patents aren’t going to be a problem for Red Hat and its licensees for a long time to come.

Here are some videos about software patents that Mark made with Red Hat just before he moved on to academia.

Mark Webbink On: Software Patents

Mark Webbink On: The Red Hat Patent Promise.

Mark Webbink + Alan Cox On The Red Hat Patent Promise

Red Hat Patent Settlement Compatible with GPLv3

Shadowman reads Groklaw and digs it.

Groklaw – Red Hat Makes History With Patent Settlement – Compatible with GPLv3

You’ve probably been wondering why I’ve been quiet, when there is news about a patent settlement between Red Hat and Firestar and DataTern in the JBoss litigation. It’s because I wanted to be positive I was correct that this is the first known settlement involving patents that is harmonious with GPLv3. It is.

It’s also harmonious with GPLv2, of course, but this is history in the making, friends. They settled a lawsuit brought against them in a way that licenses patents without violating the GPL. I’ll show you how, but first, so you know I’m not just dreaming, here’s the answer I got from Richard Fontana, Open Source Licensing and Patent Counsel, Red Hat, to my question about whether this is the first known GPLv3 patent agreement that works:

Most patent settlements and similar agreements are confidential, but to my knowledge this is the first patent settlement that satisfies the requirements of GPL version 3. Indeed, it really goes further than GPLv3 in the degree to which upstream and downstream parties receive safety from the patents at issue here. (And this is not a case of trying to find a loophole in the GPL, but rather a desire on our part to reach an agreement that provided broad patent protection for developers, distributors and users, while complying fully with the conditions of the licenses of the software we and our community distribute.)

You know what this means? It means that those who claim the GPL isolates itself from standards bodies’ IP pledges are wrong. It *is* possible to come up with language that satisfies the GPL and still acknowledges patents, and this is the proof. That means Microsoft could do it for OOXML if it wanted to. So who is isolating whom? Thank you, Red Hat, for innovating again to protect the FOSS community.

Here’s what Eben Moglen says about the agreement:

“Red Hat’s settlement of outstanding patent litigation on terms that provide additional protection to other members of the community upstream and downstream from Red Hat is a positive contribution to the resources for community patent defense. We would hope to see more settlements of this kind–in which parties secure more than their own particular legal advantage in relation to the third-party patent risk of the whole FOSS community–when commercial redistributors of FOSS choose to settle patent litigation. SFLC welcomes Red Hat’s efforts on the community’s behalf.”

This is what Novell could have done, I would suggest, and when their 5-year indentured labor contract is over, so to speak, I hope they will. The main point is this: Microsoft, Ecma, ISO, are you paying attention? It can be done. It’s been done. Now, the ball is in your court. There is no legal reason why the GPL has to be excluded from patent agreements.

Being that this is from Groklaw, there’s a lot more to read.

Red Hat Puts Patent Issue To Rest | News

“Typically when a company settles a patent lawsuit, it focuses on getting safety for itself,” said Rob Tiller, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, IP. “But that was not enough for us, we wanted broad provisions that covered our customers, who place trust in us, and the open source community, whose considerable efforts benefit our business.”

The Future of Copyright

Cato Unbound » Blog Archive » The Future of Copyright

A very condensed version of copyright history could look like this: texts (1800), works (1900), tools (2000). Originally the law was designed to regulate the use of one machine only: the printing press. It concerned the reproduction of texts, printed matter, without interfering with their subsequent uses. Roughly around 1900, however, copyright law was drastically extended to cover works, independent of any specific medium. This opened up the field for collective rights management organizations, which since have been setting fixed prices on performance and broadcasting licenses. Under their direction, very specific copyright customs developed for each new medium: cinema, gramophone, radio, and so forth. This differentiation was undermined by the emergence of the Internet, and since about the year 2000 copyright law has been pushed in a new direction, regulating access to tools in a way much more arbitrary than anyone in the pre-digital age could have imagined.

Your Wattage May Vary

Linux captures the ‘green’ flag, beats Windows 2008 power-saving measures – Network World

For this test, we examined power consumption as a way to judge whether Windows Server 2008 or Linux is, in fact, the ‘greener’ operating system. As the price of power hits record heights, power reduction mechanisms shipping within an operating system should play a key role in you energy conservation plan.

Our tests point to Linux as the winner of the green flag by margins that topped out at 12%. But we must note that our results are full of stipulations imposed by our test bed, and as the more truthful car advertisements might warn — your wattage may vary.

Better Than Free

Kevin Kelly — The Technium

The internet is a copy machine. At its most foundational level, it copies every action, every character, every thought we make while we ride upon it. In order to send a message from one corner of the internet to another, the protocols of communication demand that the whole message be copied along the way several times. IT companies make a lot of money selling equipment that facilitates this ceaseless copying. Every bit of data ever produced on any computer is copied somewhere. The digital economy is thus run on a river of copies. Unlike the mass-produced reproductions of the machine age, these copies are not just cheap, they are free.

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