Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2006 13:50:39 -0500 (EST)
From:"Linux Pipeline Newsletter" <>
Subject: [LXP] Linux Pipeline - 02.08.2006 - 25,000 Reasons Linux Pipeline Newsletter | 25,000 Reasons | 02.08.2006
Linux Pipeline Newsletter

In This Issue:
  • Editor's Note: 25,000 Reasons
  • Top Linux News
        - Firefox Bug-Fix Update (Really!) Released
        - AT&T Sued For Handing Wiretap Info To NSA
        - EU Unimpressed With Microsoft Source-Code Offer
        - More News...
  • Editor's Picks
        - Is Linux Security Living On Borrowed Time?
        - The Desktop Linux Dilemma
        - Wikis At Work: Successful Examples
        - More Picks...
  • Voting Booth: Is DRM DOA?
  • Get More Out Of Linux Pipeline
  • Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

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    Editor's Note: 25,000 Reasons

    A couple of weeks ago, the Linux community had its patents in a wad after U.S. Patent Office examiners handed Microsoft the keys to FAT City -- literally.

    It didn't take long, however, for the same system that had crowned Bill and Steve and the gang Kings Of The World a few days earlier to double back and club them all in the kneecaps. Microsoft, it seems, is on the hook for violating a former Stanford graduate student's patent on technology that ended up in Microsoft Office. Besides paying nearly $9 million to settle the case (the Gates' petty cash fund could cover that financial pinprick), roughly one in four Office licensees will have to go through the hassle of installing a software fix as a result of the verdict.

    Gloat all you want. You may never again see Schadenfreude served this farm-fresh. When you've had your fill, however, consider a curious fact: With those FAT patent awards safely in hand, Microsoft could have promptly turned its lawyers loose on Linux like a pack of wolves on a Cub Scout weenie roast. But for some reason, Microsoft hasn't taken that path, nor has it so much as hinted that it might.

    The reason why is related to Microsoft's strategy for avoiding these legal land mines in the future: Patent anything that moves. To that end, Microsoft has already won 139 new patents since Jan. 1, putting it on track to win more than 1,500 patents this year alone.

    That sounds like a formidable intellectual property arsenal, but "formidable" is a relative term: Microsoft's projected 2006 patent total would equal just half the number of patents awarded to IBM last year; that number, in turn, is a drop in the bucket compared to the 25,000 or so patents Big Blue picked up between 1993 and 2004.

    Clearly, IBM is the wrong company to cross, given the tit-for-tat nature of corporate patent litigation. And at this point in IBM's history, is an attack on the Linux kernel, or upon other key enterprise Open Source projects, any different than an attack upon IBM itself?

    Microsoft has spent too much time, money, and aggravation during the past few years ridding itself of legal baggage. Provoking the world's biggest patent-holder not the sort of thing you'll find on its to-do list, no matter how lucrative the upside might have been.

    Matt McKenzie
    Editor, Linux Pipeline

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    Top Linux News

    Firefox Bug-Fix Update (Really!) Released
    Mozilla releases Firefox, the final version of the minor bug-fix release that mystified some users last week, when a surprise request to download a pre-release version showed up on their desktops.

    AT&T Sued For Handing Wiretap Info To NSA
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation sues telecom giant AT&T, claiming it willingly gave the National Security Agency direct access to "massive amounts" of customer communications data, including some dealing with U.S. citizens.

    EU Unimpressed With Microsoft Source-Code Offer
    European authorities say Microsoft's offer to settle antitrust charges by giving competitors access to relevant Windows source code won't satisfy the company's obligation to provide usable documentation.

    Open Ajax Aims To Create Common Web-Dev Toolset
    IBM Corp., along with a dozen other software, media and open source companies, looks to create a common toolset for using the increasingly popular technology behind Google Maps and many other feature-rich Web-based applications.

    Novell Bakes Virtualization Support Into SUSE Linux
    The software maker introduces a version of its SUSE Enterprise Linux kernel pre-configured for use with Virtual Iron's virtualization software, allowing users to install and deploy server-based virtual machines more efficiently.

    Patent Office To Reexamine Controversial Forgent Patent
    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will reexamine Forgent Networks Inc.'s controversial patent, which covers data-compression technology used the JPEG image format, after more than 30 companies join an effort to overturn Forgent's claim on the technology.

    Newspapers Want A Piece Of Search Engines' Profits
    A news publishers' group is looking into ways to get payment from Internet search engines such as Google and Yahoo, which they claim are earning windfall profits by using its members' copyrighted content without permission.

    Wi-Fi Startup Gets Funding From Google, Skype
    Fon, of Spain, got $21.7 million in investor funding from Google, Skype, and other investors. Fon plans to create a global network of a million shared Wi-Fi hot-spots by 2010, using the same download, install, and share model that created the Skype network.

    Editor's Picks

    Analysis: Is Linux Security Living On Borrowed Time?
    Recent evidence suggests that the Linux kernel holds a far greater number of security vulnerabilities than it did just a few years ago. And now, some security experts say they're skeptical that the open-source development model can handle the task of of defending Linux against so many new and dangerous threats.

    The Desktop Linux Dilemma: A Failure To Communicate?
    Companies may love their Linux servers, but it's a different story in the desktop market, thanks to nagging Windows interop problems and a glaring lack of application support.

    Wikis At Work: Successful Examples
    Wikis can bring a sense of involvement and innovation to an organization - if they're implemented wisely. Here's how Nokia, the Canadian Meteorological Center, and turned workplace wiki projects to their competitive advantage.

    New Efforts Promote Growth Of Grassroots Media
    A growing number of new media initiatives are working to encourage citizen-journalists to achieve their potential as grassroots, community-based media resources.

    State of The Blogosphere: 27.2 Million And Counting
    Think you're behind on your reading now? With 75,000 new blogs and 1.2 million new posts appearing online every day, the blogosphere has grown at least sixtyfold over the past three years, according to a Technorati report.

    Extra: It's Salary Survey Time!
    Do you deserve a raise? Is your career on track? The editors of InformationWeek magazine invite you to participate in our 9th annual National IT Salary Survey. Here's why you should participate:

    + It's fast. It's convenient. It's confidential.

    + We'll compare your salary and job satisfaction responses to those of your peers in a 30+ page report.

    + Compare salaries regionally and nationally (for free).

    Click here to go to the survey.

    Voting Booth: Is DRM DOA?

    Cast Your Vote Now!
    This is the final week for our poll asking what you think about the Sony BMG Entertainment case and its possible impact on the use of digital rights management (DRM) technology. Will Sony's deal settling the class-action lawsuits filed against it scare the rest of the industry straight? Don't miss out -- cast your vote!

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