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FOSS Force

Evil Empire Buys Skype

Hmm…. I never had a chance to use Skype.

All of my friends are using it; talking to lovers in Europe, or to spouses in other states, or to FB “friends” who are who-knows-where. It sounds so cool, so romantic, sitting in the familiar confines of one’s living room in front of a laptop webcam, conversing with a friend across the continent or across the ocean as if they were right there in the same room. Until now it seemed so cool that I just knew I’d have to be a Skyper soon.

But then Skype went and got sold to the Evil Empire for $8.5 billion, which seems to be an awful lot to pay just to keep me from becoming a Skyper.

Security Risk in Firefox & Chrome

Many of us who use Firefox or Chrome browsers do so for security reasons. Unfortunately, this lulls many of us into a false sense of security, as there’s really no such thing as “safe” browsing. This has become increasingly true in recent years, as major content providers have insisted that a feature rich web experience should trump security, with the folks at Mozilla and Google seemingly willing to lend a helping hand.

According to James Forshaw with the security firm Context, there is a new security threat to worry about in the form of WebGL, which is enabled by default in Firefox 4 and Chrome. According to Forshaw, the risk is substantial – both to your data and to your hardware. Just to give you an idea:

As Android Passes RIM, What’s Next?

In the smartphone market, Android is now number one, according to a press release issued Friday by comScore, a company that measures online activity.

According to their figures, Android has passed RIM to take the top spot, with a 34.7% market share, up from 28.7% on December 10. During the same period, RIM’s share dropped 4.5 points, from 31.6% to 27.1%. Apple’s share remained relatively flat, increasing slightly from 25.0% to 25.5%. Microsoft and Palm dropped 0.9%, and now claim 7.5% and 2.8% respectively.

SCO’s Unix Sells for $600K

Evidently, SCO Unix is no more. Now all that SCO has left is continuing dreams of taking IBM down in a lawsuit that’s all but over, unless SCO’s bankruptcy attorney Edward Cahn exhibits the good sense not to continue to pursue a case that’s already six feet under.

The buyer, UnXis Inc., is based in Nevada. However, the company’s press release on Monday announcing the purchase came out of Dubai and described the company thusly:

“UnXis, Inc is owned jointly by Stephen Norris, previous co-founder of the Carlyle Group and MerchantBridge, a leading international private equity group with diverse interests operating from offices in the United Kingdom, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. MerchantBridge has completed nine private equity transactions in the past five years, with an enterprise value of $4.5 billion.”

An Era Ends – Groklaw Signs-Off

On Saturday, Pamela Jones announced that Groklaw is signing-off, that no more new content will be published after May 16th, which will be the site’s eighth birthday. She didn’t need to tell us why, we already knew, but she did:

“In a simple sentence, the reason is this: the crisis SCO initiated over Linux is over, and Linux won. SCO as we knew it is no more.

“There will be other battles, and there already are, because the same people that propped SCO up are still going to try to destroy Linux, but the battlefield has shifted, and I don’t feel Groklaw is needed in the new battlefield the way it was in the SCO v. Linux wars.”

Linux Coming to…Commodore???

There’s a new OEM getting ready to make a consumer desktop offering with Linux preloaded as the default OS. Get ready for the new and improved Commodore 64 running Linux. Wouldn’t it be a gas if Linux on the desktop finally took off due to it’s being the default operating system on a Commodore?

For those of you too young to have any experience with Commodore, let me offer this little description from our friends over at Wikipedia:

Facebook’s Open Source Green Machines

Wow! Can it be? Has Zuckerberg and Facebook actually done something ethical, on their own, without any pressure from outside forces? For the moment the answer would seem to be affirmative, but I’m not quite willing to trust this one yet. Experience teaches me that Zuckerberg’s moral compass sometimes turns north into south.

What I’m talking about is the new 150,000 square foot server farm that Facebook has opened in Prineville, Oregon. It seems that in building this facility, Facebook’s developers have tweeked, tweeked, and tweeked again to come up with a data center that’s extremely green, as in environment not as in golf course.

Is Google Marketing Linux-BSD?

Is is just me, or does Google look more and more like Microsoft/Apple with each passing day?

When Google introduced Linux based Android a few years back, they bent over backwards to proclaim their commitment to openness, going so far as to proclaim openness as Android’s advantage over Apple’s iOS. Here was an operating system that device manufacturers could tweek and tailor to suit their own needs. Not only that, with the source code freely available, this would be an operating system that could be easily modified by the user. Nobody would have to jailbreak an Android device, because after you bought it, it would be yours. It would be free, as in speech, not as in beer.

Will Android Tablet Sales Soar?

When Android smartphones hit the shelves there were lots of favorable conditions to help them gain market share. For starters, there was demand. The whole “Crackberry” craze of the early 2000s had whetted the market, a demand that was only amplified when Apple then rewrote the smartphone book with the iPhone. The iPhone, however, was only available on AT&T’s network, which left the door wide open for exploitation by handset makers using Google’s Linux based mobile OS.

With people lining up around the block to purchase iPhones and sign up for lucrative two year data deals with AT&T, other carriers were hungry for a piece of the action. So they grabbed-up every Android implementation they could find and proudly offered them to their subscribers. They pushed the Android brand with advertising, convincing potential customers that Android phones weren’t merely “me too” devices, but were at least as good as Apple’s product, with the advantage of being less expensive.

Mum’s the Word at “Linux Today”

There seems to be trouble in the works over at Linux Today, and everybody’s keeping damn quiet about it.

The first hint that something was wrong came on Saturday when the site posted no new content. This seemed odd, but not too unusual since weekend postings are often slim on the site. But when usually busy Monday came and went with still no new posts, the “what’s-up-with-that” factor was raised. Things started to get back to normal on Tuesday, however, when new posts began showing-up on the site again, though the pickings were slim, only six posts on a day when normally there would be four times as many.

Friday Foss Week in Review: Vive le OpenOffice Libre!

There’s certainly not a lack of things to report on this week. As usual, some is good, some is not-so-good and some is enough to make you downright paranoid.

We’ll start with some good news:

LibreOffice Off and Running

Last week we got the news that many if not most of the development folks at have decided not to wait to see what Oracle will do, but have exercised their rights under to GPL to create LibreOffice. The new organization running the show is The Document Foundation.

Breaking News: