Patently a Winner

Posted on: August 22, 2006 - 13:55 By: Feynmanfan

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.

VARs: Linux A Money Maker

Posted on: August 17, 2006 - 08:48 By: carl

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.

The rise and fall of linux

Posted on: August 2, 2006 - 15:36 By: Feynmanfan

Bruce Simpson of 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.

US Defence: OSS Important to National Security

In a report prepared for the Under Secretary for Defence in the US there is a clear indication that Open Source Software and Open Standards are central to keeping the armed forces up to date with the most advanced software technology. In summary it says "OSS and Open Source development methodologies are important to the National Security and National Interest of the U.S".

OSS not a Silver Bullet

Sometimes enthusiasm for Linux and Open Source can overcome good sense. Linux is ready for prime time withot question from a technical perspective, but that doesn't mean your users are. The message coming across loud and clear from various projects is to avoid a "Big Bang" approach. Roll Open Souce out gradually, moving users to Open Source applications such as Firefox and OpenOffice first, and only later changing the operating system. Changing everything without consideration will end up with a bad result for everyone, and turning people off of open source.

The Threat of Patents

ComputerWorld recently run an article about the threats of Patents to innovation in the field of Open Source Software. While this is very much a clear and present threat to Open Source Software, it is also a threat to software development houses throughout the country. Innovation is being resitrcted, not encouraged, due to the use of patents to cripple companies and extract large settlements. Examples such as the Eolas patent and the Blackberry saga prove that no company is too big to be extorted for millions of dollars.

Microsofts back door support for ODF

Microsoft has used many tools to maintain control of dominant control over office productivity products. It attempted to use patents to prevent competitors interoperating without special license. Then the patents were struck down in the US. Microsoft has now stepped back from that strategy and given commitments that nobody would be sued for using their new Word XML formats. However, the competing Open Document Format made popular by OpenOffice and now a ISO Standard has forced Microsoft to provide customers with some support for interoperability. In this article we see Microsoft starting an Open Source project that will provide support for ODF interoperability.

Nandor: The Open Source Revolution

Nandor has been a vocal advocate of Open Source. Here we see another article by Nandor discussing the importance of Open Source software to New Zealand, this time on Nandor comments that "This revolution is being won. By reliable estimates 15 to 20 per cent of the computing done in New Zealand enterprises utilises some form of open source, and much is being driven in-house, by work groups rather than by top management."

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