Microsoft today issued an advance notification of this month’s “Patch Tuesday” security updates for Windows and other software developed by it. According to its security bulletin advance notification for July 2012, Microsoft will deliver three “critical” and twice as many “important” security updates next Tuesday. Hit the jump for more.
Microsoft’s protracted patent battle with 30-man strong Canadian company i4i is finally over. The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously turned down Microsoft’s appeal against a lower-court ruling ordering it to pay $290 million in damages for infringing one of i4i’s XML-related patents with certain versions of its popular word processing software. More after the jump.
Microsoft's legal battle against Canadian firm i4i has been a complete disaster from the very outset. Last August, Microsoft was ordered to pay i4i $290 million in damages by a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas after certain versions of Word were found to be infringing on an XML-related patent held by the Canadian firm. The fine was accompanied by an injunction barring the sale of infringing versions of the popular word processing software.
All subsequent attempts to turn the tide also proved unsuccessful. Now, Microsoft has filed a writ of certiorari with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to review the lower court's decision. This hasn't come as a huge surprise to i4i, which is confident that it will once again “prevail” over its storied rival.
The World Wide Consortium (W3C) Tuesday announced a new tool for managing XML-rich processes such as those found in enterprise environments. Known as XProc, the tool provides a standard framework for composing XML processes and helps streamline the automation, sequencing, and management of complex computations.
"XML is tremendously versatile," said Norman Walsh, lead engineer at Mark Logic and one of the co-editors of the XProc specification, in a statement. "Just off the top of my head, I can name standard ways to store, validate, query, transform, include, label, and link XML. What we haven't had is any standard way to describe how to combine them to accomplish any particular task. That's what XProc provides."
The W3C gave an example of where XProc can be used, such as to sequence the following set of operations: whenever a company is mentioned, use a Web service to contact a stock exchange then (3) insert current share prices into the feed and (4) insert background information about the company that has been extracted from a database. In addition, this enhanced feed could be presented in several ways to multiple users including (5) for print or (6) with an interactive form so that people can purchase shares online.
XProc is supported by a test suite that covers all of the required and optional steps of the language, which also includes all the static and dynamic errors.
Ladies and gentlemen (of Oracle), Tim Bray has left the building, deciding instead to jump aboard with Google as a developer-advocate for the search giant's Android development team.
"I had an offer to stay with Oracle which I decided to decline; I'll maybe tell the story when I can think about it without getting that weird spiking-blood-pressure sensation in my eyeballs," Bray wrote in a blog post. "So I reached out to a couple of appealing potential next employers, both were interested, and Google seemed like the best bet."
Bray, formerly the director of Web technologies for Sun, also is known for co-creating XML (Extensible Markup Language), which is a set of rules for encoding documents electronically.
What Bray's exact role over at Google will be has yet to be determined, though one glance at his blog reveals that he's very much interested in the Android platform.
Microsoft isn't yet finished fighting what it considers the good fight and has filed a second appeal in its patent case against i4i. According to Microsoft, the original judgment could set a dangerous precedent for future patent cases, TGDaily reports.
The dispute stems from August of last year, in which Microsoft was found guilty of violating an XML patent held by Toronto-based i4i. Microsoft was then banned from selling or importing into the U.S. any Word products capable of opening .xml, .docx, or .docm files containing custom XML. Microsoft would appeal, but lost its case in December.
In this second appeal, Microsoft contends that "the December 22 decision creates [significant conflicts] with established precedents governing trial procedure and the determination of damages, and we are concerned that the decision weakens judges' authority to apply appropriate safeguards in future patent trials."
i4i wasn't caught off guard by the latest appeal, saying "this next step of seeking a rehearing was anticipated."
The litigation gods don't seem to be favoring Microsoft at the moment. A U.S court of appeals dashed all its hopes of a turnaround in its legal battle with Canadian firm i4i when it upheld a previous ruling against the Redmond-based company on Tuesday. In August, a U.S District Judge had ruled that certain versions of Microsoft Word encroach upon i4i's patents and consequently slapped the software giant with a $290 million fine, besides placing an injunction on the sale of all infringing versions of Word in the U.S.
The appeals court had stayed the injunction in September until the matter was in consideration. But now that it has affirmed the previous ruling against Microsoft, there is very little the company can do apart from purging Word 2007 and Office 2007 of the features that violate i4i's patents. According to a Reuters report, the company is already taking the necessary corrective measures.
However, the company is also exploring other legal options, including a rehearing by a full panel of judges or a Supreme Court review, according to its spokesperson Kevin Kutz. A spokesperson for i4i said it is “pleased with the court's decision to uphold the injunction, an important step in protecting the property rights of small inventors.” This small inventor with a vindictive name certainly has every reason to be pleased.
The OneApp executable is very light (only 150 kilobytes) as it uses cloud-based resources. It has already been rolled out to Blue Label Telecoms subscribers in South Africa. Microsoft plans to launch OneApp in other parts of the world next year, along with the official SDK.
Open Office has been around in one form or another for over nine years now. But the once little known productivity suite known back then as StarOffice has evolved considerably over the years. Today the Sun Microsystems freebee is admittedly a fairly full featured alternative to Microsoft Office. Open Office in fact has become so useful that Maximum PC Editor and Chief Will Smith has admitted its open source charm (and free price tag) has finally won over his home PC for casual word processing. Fans of the platform have another reason to get excited these days with the impending launch of version 3.0. The new version will further improve compatibility when working with Microsoft Office files and will include additional support for the open file format OpenDocument which is to be integrated into Office 2007. For those looking to give version 3 a try, a public beta is available for Windows, Linux, and Mac. But for corporate users looking to implement Open Office you should follow the links instead to the version named StarOffice. The retail version will cost you about $69.95, but it includes technical support and intellectual property indemnification. For those keeping track Open Office 2 launched on October 20th 2005 and the latest stable version is 2.4.1 which was released in June.