Turin, Italy chooses Ubuntu, ditches Windows

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€6m: the amount the municipality of Turin hopes to save over five years by switching from Windows XP to Ubuntu Linux in all of its offices.

The move will mean installing the open source operating system on 8,300 PCs, which will generate an immediate saving of roughly €300 per machine (almost €2.5m altogether, made up from the cost of Windows and Office licences) — a sum that will grow over the years as the need for the renewal of proprietary software licences vanishes, and the employees get used to the new machines.
Read this
‘It was a huge risk': How the end of XP support helped France’s gendarmes embrace Ubuntu – fast

‘It was a huge risk': How the end of XP support helped France’s gendarmes embrace Ubuntu – fast

Or rather, to the old ones. Another reason for the switch was that the computers Turin uses are quite old, and installing Windows 8 would have probably been too demanding for them, whereas Linux offers more flexibility with more mature machines. And, as the support for Windows XP officially ended this year, sticking with Microsoft didn’t make much sense to Turin. The switch to Ubuntu was officially approved in early August and is expected to take around a year and a half to complete.

The move has been in the offing for some time, according to councilwoman Fosca Nomis of the Democratic Party. “We’ve been discussing this since about two years ago,” she told ZDNet. “The project was temporarily put aside due to economic concerns — it probably would have been too costly switching from XP while we still had valid and paid licences running.” Now that those Windows licences are expiring, however, the time is ripe to experiment with new products.

While the economic argument is the main driver behind Turin’s decision, it’s fair to say that the city certainly offers a favourable environment for open source: from Turin University’s Nexa Center for Internet and Society, to the city’s polytechnic, to the Officina Informatica Libera (a community for Linux enthusiasts), there’s no shortage of places where free software topics are being debated. Yet more proof of the region’s open source links: the ‘Cyberia – Turin as the open source software capital’ event is taking place on 14 September, which will feature open source guru Richard Stallman as one of its speakers.

Thanks to the high profile and authority of its institutions, Turin could also have an influence on other Italian cities.

“Turin, of course, is not the first Italian municipality to switch to Linux,” Nomis said, “but it’s perhaps one of the biggest so far, and we believe it could set an example for other cities to follow, starting with the smallest towns surrounding the Piedmontese capital, which will be invited to adopt the model used by the [region's] main administrative centre.”

Read more: http://www.zdnet.com/city-of-turin-decides-to-ditch-windows-xp-for-ubuntu-and-6m-saving-7000033482/

Valencia Schools Save Almost $50 Million with a Linux OS Based on Ubuntu

Representative from the Valencia Linux School district have announced that they have managed to save €36 million ($48.3 million) by using a Linux distribution instead of proprietary software.

Adopting open source software instead of upgrading existing proprietary software that’s already in use seems to be a very good method to save money, especially if you are part of government. These kind of decisions are now made all over the world, but Europe seems to be a little ahead of the curve.

More and more local authorities and governments are realizing that there are cheaper and better alternatives for the software used, and the Valencia Linux School distro is the perfect example. In this case, the local authorities are using a Linux distribution called Lliurex, which is based on Edubuntu.

The Edubuntu distribution is actually based on Ubuntu, the Linux distribution developed by Canonical. This is a flavor made specifically for the classroom, but it can be modified to serve a large number of other uses.

“The government of the autonomous region of Valencia (Spain) earlier this month made available the next version of Lliurex, a customisation of the Edubuntu Linux distribution. The distro is used on over 110,000 PCs in schools in the Valencia region, saving some 36 million euro over the past nine years, the government says. The Lliurex distribution is managed through the Ministry of Finance and Public Administration. During installation, users can choose between several variants, tailored for example for use at home, in schools or by small and medium-sized enterprises,” noted an article on the official website of the European Commission.

“One of the new features is ‘LliureX-Lab’, an application that makes it possible to use several PCs in the classroom as an aid to language teaching. It allows teachers to use multimedia and interactive elements. Teachers can also share their desktops with students, and create group videoconferences, helping to review students’ work.”

Read more at:: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Valencia-Schools-Save-Almost-50-Million-37-Million-with-a-Linux-OS-Based-on-Ubuntu-453267.shtml

Major South Korean Pharmaceutical Company Ditches Windows for Ubuntu

South Korea has been very friendly with Microsoft and its products, so it’s understandable why succeeding in that country with an open source product would be very difficult. Canonical is now trying to make a dent there with its Ubuntu operating system.

Canonical published some very interesting details about a South Korean company called Bukwang Pharmaceuticals, which ditched most of its Windows OSes for Ubuntu and saved a lot of money. On top of the obvious savings, it also got a lot of good press, and other businesses found out that it can be done.

“Bukwang Pharmaceuticals has been developing and manufacturing drugs and personal hygiene products in South Korea since 1960. Today, it has over 600 employees based at various sites across the country. Prior to its switch to Ubuntu, the company had 620 desktops, with 60% running Windows 7 and the remainder on Windows XP. When Microsoft’s support for Windows XP was terminated, Bukwang was faced with a new, more expensive Enterprise Assurance contract with Microsoft,” notes Canonical.

Bukwang Pharmaceuticals made the radical decision to completely replace all the Microsoft products with Ubuntu in a very short time. In just two weeks, 390 of their PCs already had Ubuntu installed, but they decided to keep some of the systems with Windows software.

The reason for this decision is pretty simple. Some of their applications are dependent on Microsoft’s Active-X software. The good news for the company is that Ubuntu and Windows systems can easily coexist in the same network.

“In the first phase of the project, Bukwang Pharmaceuticals switched around 400 PCs to Ubuntu. Even before the planned migration of all remaining machines, savings on annual licensing alone totaled $300,000. And the benefits didn’t stop there,” also notes Canonical.

Read more at: http://m.softpedia.com/major-south-korean-pharmaceutical-company-ditches-windows-for-ubuntu-453083.html

US Supreme Court reaches landmark patent ruling

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The US Supreme Court has issued a ruling that could prove to be a major setback to so-called patent trolls.

The judges ruled unanimously that a software patent was invalid because all it did was take an existing technique and add the idea of doing it on a computer.

It means that inventions must either improve the way a computer functions or introduce another advancement in order to qualify as patents.

The issue had split the tech industry.

The ruling came about because New York-based CLS Bank International had challenged a patent held by the Australian company Alice Corp.

The court ruled that Alice Corp had taken an existing abstract idea relating to financial trades and simply added the concept of “generic computer implementation” to it, which it said failed to qualify as a novelty.

CLS had accused Alice Corp of being a non-practicing entity (NPE) – a firm whose primary interest was using patents to force others to make payments rather than creating goods of its own.

NPEs are colloquially referred to as “trolls” by some commentators.

The decision could prove problematic for other NPEs that have built up massive patent libraries for the purpose of extracting payments from others, since some of the inventions might now prove worthless despite having been previously rubber-stamped by the US Patent and Trademark Office.

Google and Facebook had supported the idea of tougher restrictions on the grounds that many granted patents had been too vague, resulting in court battles and a possible brake on innovation.

But IBM – the company awarded the most US patents for 21 years in a row – had cautioned that limiting what qualified as a patent, could undermine the legitimacy of thousands of existing intellectual property rights and discourage firms from investing in research.

 

read more at:    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-27926353

 

Patent troll gets shafted by court

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Intellectual Ventures (IV) is the world’s biggest patent-licensing company and boasts of having collected tens of thousands of patents since it was founded in 2000. It’s raised about $6 billion from investors over the years, and to recoup that money, it started filing lawsuits over patents a few years ago. In 2013, it launched a new salvo, filing 13 lawsuits against major US banks, including Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, and Capital One.

The Capital One case ended last Wednesday, when a Virginia federal judge threw out the two IV patents that remained in the case. It’s the first IV patent case seen through to a judgment, and it ended in a total loss for the patent-holding giant: both patents were invalidated, one on multiple grounds. (An IV case against Motorola went to a jury, but it ended in a mistrial, and no new trial has been scheduled.)

The case was just weeks away from a jury trial, but US District Judge Anthony Trenga didn’t let it get that far. In an opinion published Wednesday, Trenga found that IV’s patents were simply abstract ideas: “nothing more than the mere manipulation or reorganization of data,” he wrote. “At most, the patents describe a more efficient system or method for performing tasks than could be done without a computer, i.e. monitoring expenditures according to preset limits (the ‘137 Patent) or determining what would appeal to a particular user from a particular website (the ‘382 Patent.)” 

The ‘382 patent, invented by the same Philadelphia patent lawyer who prosecuted it, received a special smackdown from Trenga, who found it invalid on two different grounds. The patent, entitled “advanced Internet interface providing user display access of customized webpages,” dates to an original application filed in 1998. Its principal claim describes sending customized webpages “as a function of the user’s personal characteristics.” But “neither the public nor a person of ordinary skill in the art could reasonably determine the precise metes and bounds of the claimed invention” wrote Trenga.

IV lawyers argued that the ‘137 patent was infringed by Capital One’s “account alerts” system, while the ShareBuilder investing website infringed the ‘382 patent. Three other patents that were dropped by IV earlier in the litigation were initially said to cover widely used features of modern banking: CVV/CVC codes on the back of Visa and MasterCard cards, online bill paying, and envelope-free ATMs.

read more at:     http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/04/for-worlds-biggest-troll-first-patent-case-ends-up-in-tatters/

 

U.S. military UAVs migrate to Linux

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Raytheon is switching its UAV control system from Solaris to Linux for U.S. military drones, starting with a Northrop Grumman MQ-8C Fire Scout helicopter.

Earlier this month Raytheon entered into a $15.8 million contract with the U.S. Navy to upgrade Raytheon’s control systems for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), according to a May 2 Avionics Intelligence report. The overhaul, which involves a switch from Solaris to Linux, is designed to implement more modern controls to help ground-based personnel control UAVs.

Image      Raytheon TCS ground station equipment

Raytheon’s tuxified version of its Vertical Takeoff and Landing Unmanned Air Vehicle (VTUAV) Tactical Control System (TCS) will also implement “universal UAV control qualities.” As a result the TCS can be used in in all U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps UAVs that weigh at least 20 pounds. By providing an open standard, the common Linux-based platform is expected to reduce costs by limiting the types of UAV control systems that need to be built and maintained for each craft. When the upgrade is completed in April 2016, the VTUAV TCS will first see action in Northrop Grumman’s 41-foot long MQ-8C Fire Scout unmanned helicopter. The MQ-8C Fire Scout, which is itself a retrofitted Bell 407 commercial helicopter, is primarily used for reconnaissance, but can also be used for precision targeting support to assist other combat aircraft.

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At the U.S. Navy’s request, Raytheon is converting the VTUAV TCS “block II” system from Sun’s aging, UNIX-based Solaris 8 OS to a “B2VL” version of Linux, says Avionics Intelligence. The company will “continue evolving the system to the military’s new Unmanned Aerial System Control Segment architecture,” says the story.

Raytheon will also implement more modern intuitive controls, as well as automate testing procedures, and support software upgrades in the field, says Avionics Intelligence. In addition, the company will upgrade the TCS full-motion video capability and shipboard messaging formats, while implementing a new training and simulation capability.

Assuming the Fire Scout implementation goes well, the U.S. military will then expand the system to other large UAVs. In addition to U.S. military UAVs, the systems will be used by NATO in its STANAG 4586-compliant UAVs. The TCS can also be configured in racks for ship-based operations, “shelterized” as a land-based system, or integrated into a shelter on land vehicles such as the Humvee.

 
A brief history of Linux in the military

Since the early days of embedded Linux, the U.S. military has been gradually converting selected computer equipment from real-time operating systems (RTOSes), as well as Unix and Windows platforms to Linux. RTOSes, with their greater real-time capabilities, still lead the way in embedded systems, especially in combat, but Linux is increasingly finding a role, especially in systems where advanced user interfaces and wireless communications are important.

Back in 2001, the U.S. Navy and GET Engineering announced that the latter’s commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) Navy Tactical Data Systems (NTDS) would switch to Hard Hat Linux, the forerunner of MontaVista Linux, and one of the first embedded Linux distributions. As cost controls were tightened later in the decade, the U.S. Department of Defense increasingly turned to Linux as a way to cut costs by providing common open platforms based on COTS systems.

 

read more at:   http://linuxgizmos.com/u-s-military-uav-control-systems-switch-to-linux/

 

Patent troll gets hit with racketeering lawsuit

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Patent trolls are legal. Can one be nailed for extortion? One man is betting yes.

 

Most business owners sued by patent trolls don’t talk about it to anyone other than their lawyer; a typical response is to cross one’s fingers and hope the problem goes away. It won’t, of course. Often they do the next best thing—hope it will go away for as little money as possible.

FindTheBest CEO Kevin O’Connor, who also cofounded online ad giant DoubleClick, decided several weeks ago he would talk about it—publicly, and often. O’Connor wrote to tech sites like PandoDaily telling them of his determination to “slaughter” the troll, the “scum of the earth.” And in August, he pledged $1 million of his own money to fight the troll that went after his company.

Now, we’re getting a vision of how FindTheBest is putting that money to use. The company has made a novel legal claim, saying that the troll that came after it is so reckless, it has engaged in outright extortion, violating racketeering laws.

The claim follows an investigation of the troll that sued the startup, Lumen View Technology. The investigation started when O’Connor and FindTheBest Director of Operations Danny Seigle simply started making phone calls. “The first thing you think is, who the hell are these guys?” O’Connor ultimately called the lead inventor listed on the patent, which describes a system for “multilateral decision-making.”

That set in motion a bizarre series of events. Lumen View’s lawyer accused O’Connor of committing a “hate crime” by calling the inventor, Eileen Shapiro of Hillcrest Group. (“I didn’t know patent trolls were a protected class,” quips O’Connor.) Then the lawyer threatened criminal charges (again, for calling an inventor). From there, it got personal.

Instead of kowtowing to the troll’s demand for $50,000, O’Connor decided to pledge to spend $1 million fighting. He knows it’s not the rational business decision… and he doesn’t care.

“From a business perspective, it makes 100 percent sense to settle,” he said. “I decided to take it out of the business realm, and into the personal. There’s one thing I love and that’s technology, and there’s one thing I hate, and that’s injustice—people abusing the system.”

Instead of kowtowing to the troll’s demand for $50,000, O’Connor decided to pledge to spend $1 million fighting. He knows it’s not the rational business decision… and he doesn’t care.

Spending that kind of cash to fight a patent suit would be devastating to a young startup like FindTheBest, which has received $17 million in venture capital over its short life, according to a recent VentureBeat profile. O’Connor, who sold DoubleClick to Google in 2008, felt like he’s in a position to use some of his personal wealth to push back.

 

The suit makes technological demands that would be almost impossible to meet without shutting down one’s business. In the Lumen View letter, it instructs the target company to immediately preserve “the complete contents of each user’s network share and e-mail accounts,” writes Lumen. That’s in addition to “system sequestration,” meaning that any accused “systems, media, and devices” should be “remove[d]… from service to properly sequester and protect them.”

In other words, to comply with the demands of litigation, Wasserbauer actually suggested that FindTheBest had to immediately stop using its computers.

It’s a long shot any way you look at it. But O’Connor’s tangle with Shapiro, her co-inventor, their lawyers, and any other shadowy investors that may exist, is now set to be a knock-down, drag-out fight. It’s the kind of battle rarely seen in patent troll litigation, where trolls often want to settle for “nuisance” settlements that can be in the high five-figures.

 

O’Connor hopes he’ll encourage other entrepreneurs to speak out.

 

Read more at:    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/09/angry-entrepreneur-replies-to-patent-troll-with-racketeering-lawsuit/

 

 

 

 

UK and US Governments Warn: ‘Don’t Use Internet Explorer’

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Don’t use Internet Explorer’ — that’s the warning being given by the US and UK governments this week after a severe security flaw affecting the browser was detected. 

Both countries are advising citizens who are running Microsoft Windows to switch to an alternative web browser, such as Opera, Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome, until the vulnerability has been fixed.

Internet Explorer 6 through 11 — released on Windows 7 and 8 last year — are all confirmed to be affected.

For XP Users It Gets Worse

News of the vulnerability can’t have come at a worse time for those still running Windows XP.

With Microsoft officially ending support for it in April this year, even when a fix for this issue is released the update won’t be made available to the estimated 125 million hold-outs still running the aged OS.

As such the advice from the US and UK computer security agencies is even more stark: don’t use the browser at all.

 

read more at:   http://www.omgchrome.com/uk-us-governments-warn-dont-use-internet-explorer/

 

Original US Dept of Homeland security:     http://www.kb.cert.org/vuls/id/222929

 

Free eBook on Advanced Linux Programming

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Download the free eBook:  “Advanced Linux Programming

1 Advanced Unix Programming with Linux
2 Writing Good GNU/Linux Software
3 Processes
4 Threads
5 Interprocess Communication
6 Mastering Linux
7 The /proc File System
8 Linux System Calls
9 Inline Assembly Code
10 Security
11 A Sample GNU/Linux Application
12 Other Development Tools
13 Low Level I/O
14 Table of Signals
15 Online Resources
16 Open Publication License Version 1.0
17 The GNU General Public License

Link : http://www.advancedlinuxprogramming.com/alp-folder/

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Pay for Windows when you dont use it? No says court

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Lenovo ordered to pay €1920 for making French laptop buyer pay for Windows too

The court based its judgment on a European Union directive, which campaigners hope will make the ruling applicable elsewhere.

Marcel Tendron said that this court judgment could open the doors for further claims.

A French laptop buyer has won a refund from Lenovo after a four-year legal battle over the cost of a Windows license he didn’t want. The judgment could open the way for PC buyers elsewhere in Europe to obtain refunds for bundled software they don’t want, French campaign group No More Racketware said Monday.

Stéphane Petrus bought a Lenovo 3000 N200 laptop from French retailer Cybertek in December 2007. The PC had Microsoft Windows Vista and other software installed on it, none of which Petrus wanted, so he sought a refund from Lenovo under a French law forbidding the sale of one product to be tied to the sale of another. In November 2008, the court rejected his request, telling him that if he didn’t want to pay for the copy of Windows, he should have returned the PC.

The judgment was overturned by the Court of Cassation two years later on appeal, and sent back to the court in Aix en Provence for retrial, on the grounds that the lower court had not considered whether the case was covered by the provisions of the 2005 European Union directive on unfair commercial practices.

After reconsidering the case, on Jan. 9, Judge Jean-Marie Dubouloz ordered Lenovo to pay Petrus legal costs of €1,000 (around US$1,300), damages of €800 and to refund the cost of the Windows license. Petrus had estimated the cost of the software at €404.81, but the court found that excessive, given that he had paid €597 for the PC and software together. Observing that “it is commonly accepted that the price of a piece of software represents 10 percent to 25 percent of the price of a computer,” the court ordered Lenovo to reimburse Petrus €120 for the software.

The campaign group No More Racketware welcomed the ruling, saying it symbolized the crumbling of the bundling of hardware and software in France. But more significantly, the group said, the ruling was founded on a European directive regulating unfair commercial practices, opening up the possibility that it could set a legal precedent in other E.U. countries too.

Frédéric Cuif, attorney for Petrus, wrote in a blog posting that the ruling was a step in the right direction, although he would have appreciated something less terse.

 

read more at:   http://www.techworld.com.au/article/414500/lenovo_ordered_pay_1920_making_french_laptop_buyer_pay_windows_too/

 

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