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July 2nd, 2016

Oracle Loses Again, Red Hat Competes With FOSS & More…

Also included: LinuxQuestions.org has a birthday, six new distro releases, Ubuntu considering dropping 32-bit support and the feds were after Snowden.

FOSS Week in Review

Happy birthday America. And happy birthday to LinuxQuestions.org. America, more correctly known as United States of America since we’re not the only country on this big piece of land, turns 240-years-old on Monday, if you accept July 4, 1776 as it’s “born on” date. If it’s not too hot, I’ll be going to the Shoals community ballpark to watch the fireworks display and eat some 50 cent hot dogs. I’ll be ordering mine “all the way,” which around here means chili, slaw, mustard and onions. The birthday wish for LinuxQuestions.org is a little belated. The site was started by Jeremy Garcia sixteen years ago last weekend.

Now on to this weeks FOSS news highlights…

Jury awards Hewlett-Packard Enterprise $3 billion from Oracle: Here’s a story that goes back to just a year after FOSS Force went online. Some of you might remember that way back in 2011, Oracle decided to quit supporting its products on Itanium processors. Trouble was, a year earlier Oracle had signed a contract with HP in which it promised to continue to support HP’s Itanium systems. HP sued and won, with the court deciding in 2012 that HP was due damages while ordering Oracle to continue to support HP’s Itanium servers. The amount of damages wasn’t decided at the time, so the two found themselves back in court to let a jury decide how much, if anything, Oracle would have to pony up. The jury gave HPE every penny it was asking for.

The legal system hasn’t been treating Oracle very well recently. Last month it lost another big case when a jury decided that Google’s use of Java APIs in Android constituted fair use. In that case, Oracle was hoping to be awarded as much as $9 billion.

Of course, Oracle plans to appeal — not only the damages case but the 2011 breach of contract decision as well.

FOSS is Red Hat’s biggest competition in Asia. In an article from the Red Hat Summit in San Francisco, ZDNet’s Eileen Yu pointed out that CEO Jim Whitehurst said the company’s biggest competition in Asia isn’t IBM, Oracle, SAP or any of the other usual suspects, but free and open source software.

“Speaking to Asian reporters here at Red Hat Summit 2016, Whitehurst revealed that the vendor’s key challenge instead was an apparent preference to depend on free, open source software. Many organisations in China, for instance, were comfortable using free alternatives and managing these on their own.”

So enterprise OSS’ biggest competition is becoming FOSS instead of proprietary. That the way, uh-huh uh-huh, I like it.

Week’s best headline: I had a good chuckle on Tuesday when I saw this headline on Softpedia: Qubes OS 3.2 to Use Xfce4 by Default Because KDE 5 Is Bloated, Unstable and Ugly. Damn if I don’t wish the Qubes devs would tell us what they really think.

Another day, another distro: The granddaddy of all distros, Slackware, is out with a new release, numbered 14.2. This one comes with two desktops, Xfce 4.12.1 and KDE 4.14.21. For more info, read the release announcement… Linux Mint 18 with Cinnamon or MATE was released on Thursday…. 4MLinux 18.0, a distro for system rescue operations, was released today…. MeX, a distro based on Ubuntu with Cinnamon was released Thursday…. Another Ubuntu based distro that’s been around for a while, Peppermint OS 7, was released on June 24…. GeckoLinux 421.160627.0 “Static” was released Tuesday…. And finally, antiX 16, Debian based and without systemd, was released Monday…

Quick takes: The developers at Ubuntu are again considering dropping support for 32-bit machines…. It’s finally official. Ladar Levison, the founder and former operator of the now defunct secure email service Lavabit, has revealed that the feds were trying to get to Edward Snowden’s emails when they ordered him to turn over encryption keys.

Parting shot: This week Steven Ovadia published an email interview he did with me in December on his blog My Linux Rig. If you’re not already tired of reading what I have to say, feel free to check it out if you want.

That’s it for now. Until next time, may the FOSS be with you…

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

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