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Understanding Ajax book review

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Reviews

The competition among Ajax programming books has gotten all the more fierce with Prentice Hall's excellent Understanding Ajax. While many Ajax texts are good at covering a handful of advanced Ajax-related topics, this one starts at the beginning and covers every necessary aspect of Ajax programming in just the right amount of detail.

Linux 2.6.20-rc6 Kernel Performance

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Reviews

On top of our hardware reviews and comparisons at Phoronix we also cover and compare the latest ATI and NVIDIA drivers along with some of the other popular software packages; however, we have decided to feature Linux kernel performance comparisons with each major release. We will be covering some of the major highlights with each release as well as comparing its performance in a variety of tests against recent kernels.

E is for elegant with Elive live CD

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Linux
Reviews

Elive is a live CD Linux distribution based on Debian that uses the Enlightenment window manager. Elive aims to provide an aesthetically pleasing environment with a full suite of desktop applications that runs efficiently on older systems. Its developers aren't finished yet, but they've come a long way with Elive since the release of 0.3 more than a year ago. This CD shows how beautiful distributions can become without being bloated.

Firefox 2.0: happier browsing, but secure?

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Moz/FF
Reviews

It's long past time to bother telling anyone how much better than IE Firefox is. Faster, smaller, more responsive, with tabbed browsing and useful extensions galore. It's also lot more secure than IE, partly because it's open source, and particularly because it's not integrated with the underlying OS. Firefox's security bugs involve the browser only.

New Drupal 5 shines

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Reviews

It's been five years since Drupal, the popular GPLed Web development framework, has had a major version release. The new Drupal 5, which debuted in earlier this month, was eight months in development and incorporates more than 1,000 patches from nearly half as many contributors. It also features overhauls and updates in system performance, usability, user interface, and theming.

Ubuntu Christmas Edition and Linux Mint Review

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Reviews
Ubuntu

Even with Ubuntu's official position on the use of "Automatix" and the idea that you are on your own, the fact remains that it’s tools like this that have helped to propel Ubuntu into one of the top distributions of all time.

Also: Spyware: Is Any OS Really Safe?

Simply Mepis 6.0-4 Beta 4 -- A gift from the MEPIS gods 64 Bit that actually works

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Linux
Reviews

So my dreams of being free of 32 bit still live on, yet I still cannot get a package that wants to work across the board...until now. More on that later, but let's give this new polished package a review before the Feb 10th expected launch and let people know if they should move over from other KDE systems to the one out of the Mountaineer state.

Nexenta Alpha 5 Review

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OS
Reviews

Nexenta, is only a few distros that is currently using OpenSolaris. OpenSolaris is the open sourced version of Sun's main OS which has been ported from SPARC architecture to x86 and now is open sourced. Nexenta, is building itself upon the popularity of Ubuntu by offering not only the look and feel, but the functionality of Ubuntu as well.

Windows games in Linux

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Reviews

Sure, for Linux there’s free games like Frozen Bubble, Tux Racer, FreeCiv etc., but the big commercial titles are rarely released for Linux. The company TransGaming Technologies tries to fill out this need for commercial Windows-games by having created an application which makes it possible to play such games without official Linux-support regardless.

Review: Geeklog delivers a portal in a box

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Reviews

It's called "The Ultimate Weblog System," and if you can shear off some of the hyperbole in that you'll find that the quick-to-install Geeklog does provide what it claims: a Web portal with all the trimmings, and all of it working right "out of the box."

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A victory for free software over the "Microsoft tax"

This is a guest post by Marco Ciurcina, a lawyer who worked on this case.

The Italian Supreme Court (Corte di Cassazione) issued a judgment1 that bans the "Microsoft tax," a commercial practice that discourages users from converting their PCs to GNU/Linux or other free operating systems by forcing them to pay for a Windows license with their PCs. PC producers in Italy now cannot refuse to refund the price of the license to purchasers that will not run Windows.

The ruling definitively concludes the case filed in 2005 against a hardware producer by Marco Pieraccioli,2 with the support of the Consumer Association ADUC,3 and affirms Marco Pieraccioli's right to a refund for the price of the Microsoft Windows license for the computer he purchased.

The primary reason to insist on using free software4 is because nonfree software deprives the user of freedom, including the freedom to participate in its development. The "Microsoft tax" has no effect on that issue.

The "free" in "free software" refers to freedom. It does not mean "gratis," and copies of free software do not have to be distributed without charge. Selling a copy of one free program or many of them is legitimate.5

However, most GNU/Linux distributions are offered to the public gratis, while Windows is not. Therefore, switching to GNU/Linux offers an opportunity for the secondary benefit of saving money -- a benefit that many Italians would value. The "Microsoft tax" has the effect of abolishing that secondary benefit. Now the secondary benefit must be available.

The ruling applies to more than just Windows. The Court states a general principle that applies to any device with software preinstalled: "...who buys a computer on which a given operational software (operating system) was preinstalled by the manufacturer has the right, if he does not agree to the conditions of the license of the software made available to him at first start of the computer, to retain the computer returning only the software covered by the license he did not accept, with refund of the part of the price that specifically relates to it."6

According to the Supreme Court, any commercial practice that prevents the user from getting a refund "..would clash in different ways with the rules that protect the freedom of choice of the consumer, and the freedom of competition among firms..."7

On the one hand, therefore, the judgment follows the path of the French Courts' case law, that on several occasions stated that the joint sale of hardware and software, without providing for the buyer the possibility to obtain refund of preinstalled software, violates the right of the consumer.8

On the other hand, the Italian Supreme Court states that the act of hindering the refund violates the freedom of competition among firms. This statement of principle is interesting considering that, to date, the antitrust authorities have done little against business practices that "force" the joint sale of hardware and proprietary software. Now they may consider taking stronger action.

The focus of the Court's reasoning is that the sale of a PC with software preinstalled is not like the sale of a car with its components (the 4 wheels, the engine, etc.) that therefore are sold jointly. Buying a computer with preinstalled software, the user is required to conclude two different contracts: the first, when he buys the computer; the second, when he turns on the computer for the first time and he is required to accept or not the license terms of the preinstalled software.9 Therefore, if the user does not accept the software license, he has the right to keep the computer and install free software without having to pay the "Microsoft tax."

Notes:

1 Judgement n. 19161/2014 published 11/9/2014
http://www.italgiure.giustizia.it/xway/application/nif/clean/hc.dll?verbo=attach&db=snciv&id=./20140912/snciv@s30@a2014@n19161@tS.clean.pdf.
2 I had the honor to assist before the Supreme Court Marco Pieraccioli who already had favorable decisions both at first instance (judgment no. 5384/2007 of the Giudice di Pace di Firenze) and in second degree (judgment no. 2526/2010 of the Tribunale di Firenze).
3 See http://aduc.it/.
4 See https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.
5 See https://gnu.org/philosophy/selling.
6 See p. 22 of the judgment.
7 See p. 21 of the judgment.
8 See http://non.aux.racketiciels.info/.
9 The judgment at p. 21 states: "Having been assessed that there are not technological obstacles, the 'packaging' at the source of hardware and operating system Microsoft Windows (as it would for any other operating system for a fee) would actually respond, in substance, to a trade policy aimed at the forceful spread of the latter in the hardware retail (at least in that, a large majority, headed by the most established OEM brands); among other things, with cascade effects in order to the imposition on the market of additional software applications whose dissemination among final customers finds strong stimulus and influence - if not genuine compulsion - in more or less intense constraints of compatibility and interoperability (that this time we could define 'technological with commercial effect') with that operating system, that has at least tendency to be monopolistic".

© Marco Ciurcina, 2014 – Some rights reserved This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License or any later version. Read more


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 license (or later version)

Cumulus Linux 2.5 adds mainstream L2 features to bare-metal switching

As Cumulus Networks attempts to expand beyond the early adopters of its Cumulus Linux bare-metal switch operating system, it is adding Layer 2 networking features aimed at making it easier for enterprises to make the transition from legacy environments to the IP fabrics that most cloud computing customers operate. Read more

SimplyTapp launches open source tokenization project

“We don’t want to put any hindrance in the way of a bank launching cloud-based payments because they have to buy or rely on another ecosystem player for new technology and so we thought it was a perfect use case for an open source project. Open source allows a perfect line of audit where you can actually see the source code, modify the source code and make updates to the source code for your environment before you’re running it. Read more

Google’s Nest buys Linux automation firm, adds five partners

Google’s Nest Labs acquired Revolv, a maker of Linux-based home automation devices, and announced five new Nest-compatible devices. including the Pebble. After Google acquired Nest Labs in January $3.2 billion, placing a stake in the fast-growing home automation business, Nest acquired home surveillance camera maker Dropcam in June for $555 million. Now Nest announced it has acquired another major home automation company in its purchase of Revolv. The acquisition, which was announced with no dollar amount, came shortly after the Boulder, Colo. based company announced compatibility with the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect CO/smoke detector. Read more