Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Daily Archives / Thursday, February 23, 2012

  • Feb 23 / 2012
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CIA: Pay as You Go. Work for a Living

Software vendors and their partners with whom I have dealt have the attitude that because they own software, the world owes them a living. An example of this can be seen in the negotiations between M$ and IBM over licensing terms that M$ used to dish out:
Because of the great discrepancies revealed in the recent software audit, we are of the strong belief that IBM and Microsoft need to complete the audit to Microsoft’s‘ satisfaction before returning to business as usual and licensing additional software products to IBM. Unforumately, due to the current timing, this could lead to a delay in our ability to conclude the Wmdows 95 agreement. In addition. I understand that there are still some outstanding issues in the licensing terms for Windows 95…
I would rather propose the following. First, we agree to stop the audit completely and you pay us in addition to what you paid us aheady and the $4.2M discovered in the WINDOWS audit, a settlement amount of $25 M. This will include all possible interest charges and penalties we might usess. If you agree, we would not insist on the further audits or audit MS—DOS extensions as described above.
and the attitude of M$ to other platforms:
The day we need to panic, is the day when an application written to a Mac Java VM (or NC) can do everything that a native Windows application can do. We are not there yet, and God forbid that any of us ever live to see that day.
…All of our technologies and innovations will be optimized for Windows.

That was the “good old days” of monopoly software.

Today, more buyers of software services are demanding a better deal. They are demanding lower prices, reasonable prices and verifiable prices. The old days of counting every PC in the building are gone. The CIA wants software vendors to be more like Amazon, charging for service actually rendered and with flexible licensing matching the changing conditions of the organization.
“Rather than stick with traditional all-you-can-eat deals known as “enterprise licensing agreements,” the CIA wants to buy software services on a “metered,” pay-as-you-go basis, Ira “Gus” Hunt, the agency’s top technology officer, told an industry conference.”
CIA to Software Vendors: A Revolution Is Coming

Of course, I recommend Debian GNU/Linux in-house so most of the licensing issues are gone as soon as you acquire the software. It’s the right way to do IT.

  • Feb 23 / 2012
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Suing Over a “flawed understanding of the law”

Remember the lawsuit over the TimeZone database? It has been withdrawn with an apology and a covenant not to sue. I remember a time when people sued each other after one received some damage. This is plain crazy, that people are suing because their concept of the law is flawed. It reminds me of Oracle v Google and M$ v World… People used to sue to make things right. Now they sue to make things wrong.

  • Feb 23 / 2012
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Tempest in a Teapot: Intel AppUp Promotes LibreOffice

SJVN and others are excited about the introduction of LibreOffice, competitive office suite to M$’s offering, on Intel’s AppUp service. While it is noteworthy that part of Wintel is supporting some good FLOSS, my “spider sense” was tingling, so I looked into AppUp a bit deeper.

“Q. What operating systems are officially supported by the Intel AppUp(SM) center Software?
A.The Intel AppUp client officially supports the following operating systems:
Microsoft Windows XP Home* 32 bit SP 3 (with .net framework 3.5 SP1)
Microsoft Windows XP Professional* 32 bit (with .net framework 3.5 SP1)
Microsoft Windows 7 Starter* 32 bit
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium* 32 bit
Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium* 64 bit Continue Reading

  • Feb 23 / 2012
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Monopoly is Not Natural for IT

One of the nuggets from my gleaning exhibits of US DOJ v M$ is a rant by Nathan Myhrvold of M$ about how great M$ was and how misunderstood. He begins with this warped view of reality:
“The computer industry as we know it today is full of examples of positive feedback. The value of a computer to its user depends on the quality and variety of the application software available for it. The incentive to create such software for a particular computer depends on the number of users, since they are the potential customers for the application developer. This creates a similar situation to the video store – the best software is attracted to the most popular platform, making it more popular still. This is not the only source of positive feedback however. If I want to exchange data with you, or get advice from you, then it helps a lot if we are using the same computer am the same software. When a user upgrades to a new version there is a large benefit if existing data files can be used directly, thus favoring whatever software the user had in the past. Continue Reading

  • Feb 23 / 2012
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Dell Expands the Number of Stores in China

Last year, Dell announced selling Ubuntu/Linux at 200 stores in China. Today Dell announced they will expand to 1000 stores.

“Dell’s business grew 21 percent in China last year, but still lags far behind market leader Lenovo Group Ltd, which dominated one-third of China’s PC market in the last quarter, according to figures from the research company IDC.”

Planting 1000 stores should give a huge opportunity for growth. There are pictures of a “Dell Experience” store opened in Shanghai in 2009 on Flickr.

  • Feb 23 / 2012
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office action rejecting all of the claims of U.S. Patent

That’s what Oracle and Google reported to the court. Oracle claimed many violations of a bunch of patents by Google over Android/Linux and only one patent and a few claims have not been thrown out. Damages for these few claims may be less than the cost of the legal proceedings.

“On February 7, 2012, the PTO issued a final office action rejecting all of the claims of U.S. Patent No. 5,966,702 asserted by Oracle in this case. A response by Oracle is due on April 7, 2012.

On February 16, 2012, the PTO issued an Action Closing Prosecution rejecting all of the claims of U.S. Patent No. 6,910,205 asserted by Oracle in this case. A response by Oracle is due on March 19, 2012.

On February 16, 2012, the PTO issued a non-final rejection of all of the claims of U.S. Patent No. RE 38,104 asserted by Oracle in this case. A response by Oracle is due by April 16, 2012.”

If this is not evidence of the flimsiness of software patents and Oracle’s case, I don’t know what is. What use are patents that are not enforceable? Software should be protected by copyright only. Patents have no place in software because one cannot patent ideas and logic and that’s what software is all about.

The files supposedly copied illegally in Android/Linux have been removed, were a tiny portion of the code and were never delivered to devices/consumers, so those claims must surely be invalid or de minimis.

“THE COURT: So two parts: Does your Android use the Java virtual machine?


THE COURT: All right.

MR. VAN NEST: It uses the Dalvik virtual machine.

THE COURT: All right, so let’s assume that’s right for the moment.

Does it use the code libraries?

MR. VAN NEST: It uses code libraries that are licensed from another party, Apache Software Foundation. It does not use the Java libraries, it uses –

THE COURT: Well, then, what part of Java do you use that you would need a license for?

MR. VAN NEST: None.”

see Oracle v. Google – Still Waiting on the Revised Cockburn Report

see Google Files Motion for Leave to File Motion for Summary Judgment on Oracle’s Copyright Claim – Updated 2Xs: Judge says not yet

Oracle v. Google – More Bad News for Oracle on the Patent Validity Front