Around a couple of weeks back, Oracle brought a patent infringement action against Google for infringing its “Java-related intellectual property.” The search giant immediately retorted by saying that the lawsuit was without merit, and even went as far as labeling it an attack on both Google and the open-source Java community. It has once again made it clear that there is absolutely no love lost between the two companies.
“We understand that this may disappoint and inconvenience many of you, but we look forward to presenting at other venues soon. We’re proud to participate in the open source Java community, and look forward to finding additional ways to engage and contribute.”
The patent infringement lawsuit against Google pertains to the use of the Dalvik virtual machine for running Java code in Android.
Windows is proprietary. Microsoft Office is proprietary. Internet Explorer is proprietary. In fact, just about every piece of code that comes out of Redmond is proprietary, yet Microsoft likes, nay, LOVES open source. That's right, Sir Skepticism, the largely closed source software giant has a soft spot for open source software, or so Microsoft claims.
"We love open source," says Jean Paoli of Microsoft in a recent interview with Network World (told you so). "We have worked with open source for a long time now."
So where does that leave Linux, Microsoft's main rival next to the Mac OS X platform? Linux and open source aren't necessarily inclusive, and according to Paoli, Microsoft goofed by equating all open source technology to Linux "very early on." But, "that was a really long time ago," he adds. "We understand our mistake."
Paoli, who is the co-creator of the XML specification, is involved with promoting Microsoft's interoperability strategy among key components of cloud networks. It isn't all open source, but it does show Microsoft making an effort to embrace open technologies rather than automatically dismiss them.
Network World has a whole bunch more on the subject (4 pages worth) here.
Well, this is a bit of a bummer. In the wake of Valve's release of Steam for OSX, there were rumors that a Linux version was in the works. In a recent interview with Gamesindustry.biz, Valve's VP of Marketing Doug Lombardi let it slip that Steam for Linux isn't in development. "There's no Linux version that we're working on right now," said Lombardi.
We'd like to point out he did qualify that statement with "right now." That could theoretically mean that a Linux version of Steam could happen in the future. He could have been more categorical in his denial, but it's still sad for fans of Tux. We're still holding out hope Valve is just building suspense for a big reveal at some later date. Hey, it could happen, right?
Google has come out swinging in the wake of Oracle's lawsuit against the search giant for their use of Java in Android. Google calls the lawsuit "baseless" and makes it clear that they will be seeing Oracle in court. The suit is indeed aimed at the Dalvik virtual machine that Android uses to compile and run Java code on the phone. Google said in their statement that technology like Dalvik, "goes beyond any one corporation."
Google is framing this issue as a fight for open standards. Judging by the ton of their response, no one is looking to settle this quietly. More than likely, this will drag on for years. It is interesting that Google's open source operating system is being targeted in multiple legal actions. Still, if there's a company with the resources to devote to defending such a thing, it's Google.
A recent article in The New York Times is a must read for any college student. No, it doesn't illustrate 101 different ways of serving up Ramen Noodles and other low-cost cuisine, but it does examine the idea of open-source textbooks, which could very well leave plenty of room in the budget for more robust meals (or bigger parties).
Spearheading the open-source textbook movement is Scott G. McNealy, co-founder and former chief executive of Sun Microsystems. Ever since Oracle acquired Sun earlier this year, McNealy has been focusing his attention on Curriki, an online portal for free textbooks and other course material.
"We are spending $8 billion to $15 billion per year on textbooks [in the U.S.], McNealy says. "It seems to me we could be put all that online for free."
Open-source textbooks, which are often written by retired teachers or groups of teachers, are starting to gain in popularity, according to The New York Times. But NYT says the movement has also been slow going.
According to reports, T-Mobile's historic G1 is no longer for sale. We can call it historic, right? After all, the G1 ranks as the world's first Android handset in mass form, and it was the first to truly challenge Apple's magical iPhone as the must-have smartphone, at least before Jobs and company fluxored the antennae and challenged themselves.
Perhaps more importantly, the G1 solidified Google's Android OS as a bona fide mobile platform, one that is now found on dozens of other smartphones and is arguably the fastest growing OS on the market right now. The Android Market now sits at over 70,000 apps strong, getting ever closer to that 100,000 milestone. And it all started with the G1.
Hit the jump to find out why I'm not too terribly broken up to see the G1 go.
'It's not us, it's you,' is the general message coming from Dell regarding the OEMs decision to dropkick Ubuntu from its online store in the UK. The company will, however, continue to sell its open-source PCs over the phone.
"A number of our current consumer and SMB systems are available with Ubuntu, including a number of our Inspiron and Vostro laptops and desktops, the popular Inspiron Mini 10 netbook and the Studio XPS 7100 desktop," a Dell spokesperson told PCPro.co.uk.
"We’ve recently made an effort to simplify our offerings online, by focusing on our most popular bundles and configuration options, based on customer feedback for reduced complexity and a simple, easy purchase experience. We’re also making some changes to our Ubuntu pages, and as a result, they are currently available through our phone-based sales only."
Consider this a break and not a breakup, as Dell insists the move is "not a permanent decision." How long Dell plans on shelving Ubuntu PCs from its online lineup remains to be seen.
"The reason why they're not on our main pages is because Ubuntu systems are primarily targeted towards advanced users and enthusiasts, and the vast majority of consumers purchase PCs with Microsoft Windows pre-installed," the spokesperson added.
Microsoft Office: Can’t live with it, can’t live with… ok, so that’s not entirely true. A number of you likely live without the Microsoft Office suite and, for that, I commend you. That’s not because there’s anything wrong with Office per se; it’s a pricing thing. I don’t always have the money to fork out for a new Office license for whatever systems I acquire, especially when compelling freeware alternatives present themselves in an easy-to-use (and easy-to-download) kind of fashion. Same goes for you.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But Dave,” you ask, “why not just install OpenOffice.org and be done with it?” That is certainly a solution for your Office woes. However, that doesn’t mean that the OpenOffice.org suite is the end-all be-all alternative to Microsoft Office Insert-Year-Here. From Web apps to downloadable programs, it’s entirely possible to recreate some of the best parts of this paid-for hunk of apps without resorting to the tried-and-true OpenOffice.org open-source bundle.
And guess what? By going the piecemeal route, you’ll be able to find some new features that simply don’t exist in either aforementioned bundle! So, that said, click the jump to check out some of the best freeware and open-source Microsoft Office replacement apps for your system!
Put away the pitchforks, penguin fans, we're not hating on Linux or dropping a deuce on open-source software in general (you're welcome for the visual). What we're referring to is an actual distro called "Damn Vulnerable Linux," which is not like any other Linux distro you've seen before.
"Damn Vulnerable Linux (DVL) is everything a good Linux distribution isn't," the DVL website explains. "Its developers have spent hours stuffing it with broken, ill-configured, outdated, and exploitable software that makes it vulnerable to attacks. DVL isn't built to run on your desktop -- it's a learning tool for security students."
Like many Linux distros, DVL can be used as a Live CD or installed on your system, preferably a virtual machine. According to DVL's website, the distro contains "older, easily breakable versions of Apache, MySQL, PHP, and FTP and SSH daemons," as well as an assortment of tools to help you break apps running on these services.
"The main idea behind DVL was to build up a training system that I could use for my university lectures," explains Dr. Thorsten Schneider, who conceived the project. "My goal was to design a Linux system that was as vulnerable as possible, to teach topics such as reverse code engineering, bug overflows, shellcode development, Web exploitation, and SQL injection."
Google Voice. Situation: It's a pretty awesome competitor to good ol' Skype, especially when you use its crazy powers to forward calls from your magical number to physical locations all over the world. I, for one, use Google voice to get into my own apartment. Ringing me up on the ol' call box in front of my condo complex calls my Google Voice number (local calls only!), which in turn buzzes up my cell phone which, in turn, lets me go home.
That's just one interesting use of an otherwise awesome service. There are many more. Problem: There are not nearly as many apps--Web-based or downloadable--that allow you to interact with Google Voice in unique, cool ways. I've scrounged together five for your enjoyment but, honestly, we're scraping the barrel this week in terms of available software.
So, that said, go register a Google Voice number. And while you're doing that, start skimming this article for awesome new ways to use the service!