In the last few months we have seen Microsoft working closer with companies that support and develop open source applications such as Sugar CRM. Microsoft has also claimed that it is becoming somewhat less agressive in its approach to competition. That said todays announcement that Microsoft will be supporting Novell's Suse Linux is still somewhat of a shock. Some might be suspicious of this new relationship, but perhaps we should applaude it as an example of how open source could be good for everyone; even Microsoft.
Usually I try to avoid posting articles about Microsoft that do not relate to Open Source, however in this story at Aljazeera we see Microsoft making the claim that using pirated software is hampering economic growth and costing governments and businesses billions of dollars.
Stray Cinema is a open source cimema project. The raw footage from a film shot in London has been made available for the public to download from the Stray Cinema website. This is to provide people all over the world with the opportunity to create their own version of the film.
Nandor Tanczos, a keen Open-Source advocate, has kindly agreed to attend the Auckland Software Freedom Day event. Nandor will be arriving at 11am to give a brief speech on Open Source Software. The event will be held on Queen Street this Saturday, and will initially be on the corner of Queen Street and Victoria Street. There will also be demonstrations of Open Source Software, and copies of Ubuntu, OpenOffice and Firefox available.
Microsoft has just released a "Microsoft Open Specification Promise" related to thirty five web service patents. It is a similar promise made regarding Word Processing patents. The release of this promise was done in consultation with Red Hat. Mark Webbink, General Council for Red Hat stated “Red Hat believes that the text of the OSP gives sufficient flexibility to implement the listed specifications in software licensed under free and open source licenses. We commend Microsoft’s efforts to reach out to representatives from the open source community and solicit their feedback on this text, and Microsoft's willingness to make modifications in response to our comments.”
Last year the NZOSS filed a opposition to a XML Word Processing patent filed by Microsoft. Yesterday a resolution to the opposition was achieved when the NZOSS Council decided that all our objectives had been achieved, and that the NZOSS would not be following through to a hearing.
Microsoft in their counter statement had unconditionally amended the patent in a way that avoided issues surrounding prior use and prior publication. Abiword was the primary evidence stated in the NZOSS statement of case as prior use, and it was on this basis that the NZOSS claimed that the patent was invalid. The amended patent was substantially modified, including only seven claims rather than the original number of more than twenty. The amended claims were also more specific, and would no longer create issues for software developers who wished to interoperate with Microsoft XML file formats.
Interesting article on a study that found a strong correlation between the use of Linux and Open Source Software in solutions and profitability for Value Added Resellers. Hardly surprising you might think but it's nice to know that the evidence is mounting. I'm always a bit leary of studies that are paid for by proponents of the conclusion the study comes to but at least in this case they are up front about it and not trying to hide behind a proxy.
Bruce Simpson of Aardvark.co.nz asks the hard questions about uptake of Linux in New Zealand. He asks "Where can people go to get plain-English help and support for Linux?" The answer is not too far away, with Linux User Groups in every major New Zealand City, each with mailing lists full of people willing and able to provide immediate and free help. On the professional front there are companies like IBM, HP and Novell who are selling professional services around Linux. There is also an increasing number of small Linux service companies, although not too many in the small business arena as there isn't yet the same demand as Windows.
If the twelve commandments recently published by Microsoft are to be believed its good news for open source. It is saying that the anti competitive behaviours of its past are behind it, that it will no longer punish retailers and OEM's for distributing PC's with other than Microsoft products on them.
Novell today released Suse Linux Enterprise 10 hot on the heels of the release of OpenSuse 10. It features advanced clustering functionality and built in virtualizatiom. Novell will be launching it in New Zealand on August 29 in Auckland and August 30 in Wellington. Register for the launch here.