Posts Tagged ‘Facebook’

01.4
14

Data scientists: IT’s new rock stars

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Data scientists: IT’s new rock stars
These days, just showing up to work as a data scientist will get you attention.

The evolution of the data scientist role is making even those who are successful in IT wish they could go back.

In an interview with Network World last month, Robert Stroud, a member of ISACA’s Strategic Advisory council and vice president of innovation and strategy at CA Technologies, called the data scientist a “hard sought-after role” and compelled those entering the technology job market target that field.

“If I were starting my career again, I’d be going into this space,” Stroud says.

The hype for data scientists was given some weight in American Journalism Review’s recent profile of Buzzfeed’s director of data science, Ky Harlin. Buzzfeed’s growth has been massive in the past few years, reaching an average of 55.2 million uniquely visitors, according to September 2013 numbers from Quantcast. That’s more than Craigslist and AOL, and within reach of Yahoo and Amazon.com. Essentially, Buzzfeed has made a business out of viral content, and Harlin is responsible for sustaining that.

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According to the AJR profile, Harlin created his own algorithms that identify when and why specific pieces of web content will go viral.

“There are many variables we look at, both quantitative and descriptive,” Harlin told AJR. “Quantitative factors are things like the amount of times something’s been shared on Facebook, while descriptive factors are things like what’s contained in the text of the article. We employ machine learning algorithms that help us map out the relationship between those variables and shareability.”

What’s more interesting is where Harlin developed those skills – a medical imaging company. According to AJR, Buzzfeed’s founder and CEO Jonah Peretti sought out Harlin while he was working in the medical imaging field, and brought him in for an interview about what data science could do for his media company. In the interview, Peretti found just how versatile data science skills can be.

“There are actually a lot of similarities between medical imaging and content publishing on a purely mathematical level,” Peretti told AJR. “Both fields are looking for patterns in vast data sets. And during the interview, [Harlin] was clearly more interesting in understanding how content spreads than medical imaging, so I knew he would be good.”

The rest of the details on Harlin’s role and how he became the company’s “secret weapon,” as AJR described him, are available in that article, which is an interesting peak behind the curtains at the fastest-growing media company in the world.

However, the mere fact that a technology employee would be the center of a lengthy profile in the American Journalism Review should be an eye-opener. The kind of attention it’s been gathering has sent experts in the field out to start spread the word. In a June 2012 interview with Network World, Laura Kelley, Houston vice president for IT staffing and consulting firm Modis, advised those with MBAs to seek out certifications for statistical software programs, and those with computer science degrees to pursue an MBA. Facebook and Google have both been looking to bring on data scientists for years. In October 2012, the Harvard Business Review called data scientist “the sexiest job of the 21st century.” Data scientists like Harlin can go from work in the medical imaging field to a high-profile job at a media startup, and even though, like most tech workers, his day-to-day job rarely changes, they’ll get press coverage. It seems the Harvard Business Review was right.

It all makes sense. Data scientists represent the new age of IT, where employees will not only contribute to a company’s business goals, but help identify them in the first place.

“This is where you add real business value,” he says. “Where an IT person is not just running machines anymore, but fundamentally taking good information and helping the business make true business decisions so that they can adjust the business in real time based on this information. If used well, you’ll be able to spot trends and opportunities far faster than you could in the past.”


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05.13
13

Facebook Home attracts close to 1 million downloads

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The Android app has been available for about a month

Facebook has attracted “just about” 1 million downloads of its Home application in its first month of availability.

The app, which takes the place of the home screen on supported devices, puts Facebook much more at the center of the phone. Rather than an app launch or home screen appearing when a phone is woken from sleep, the user sees the Facebook Home screen and pictures and updates from their friends.

“That’s very much in line with our expectations for the launch,” said Cory Ondrejka, director of mobile engineering at Facebook, during a briefing for reporters. “We thought that was a large enough number to start getting data.”

The users are typically early adopters who have specifically searched the Android Play Store to find the app, said the company. Facebook isn’t currently using its main app to promote Home, but word has spread via the social network.

Putting Facebook updates in front of users has led to a 25 percent increase in the amount of time they spend using Facebook, Ondrejka said.

“Facebook is already the most-used app on mobile devices, so being able to bump that is something we are very excited about,” he said.

A new version of Facebook Home will launch Thursday, along with the latest version of the Facebook app.

The latest version of the software addresses bugs, but Facebook is working on subsequent versions that will address feedback and complaints from those first million users. They include a new way to launch non-Facebook apps and an easier way to initiate chats.

The complaints about the app launcher were mostly related to the way it reorganized apps. If users had spent time organizing and curating their home screen, the Home app changed that.

“Any launcher that juggled apps would get this feedback,” said Ondrejka. “Since I’ve spent time curating my apps, I don’t want Facebook to move them around.”

A new version of the app launcher, previewed on Thursday but due in a future update, looks much more like the traditional Android home screen.

One of the more subtle changes coming with Thursday’s update is in the way the app handles loading on phones that aren’t supported.

Users of unsupported devices still won’t be able to download and install the app from the Android Play Store, but updates will be available to users who have installed it through a process called sideloading.

Sideloading involves getting a copy of the software from a phone that is supported and manually loading it onto an unsupported device. A software block would try to prevent that, leading users to hack the software to force it on the phone. A side effect of that is the inability to get updates.

With the latest version, users will get an alert that tells them their handset isn’t supported but the manual hack to the software won’t be required.

Facebook puts the number of those who have downloaded the app onto unsupported devices at “over 10,000” people, which is more than 1 percent of the current user base.

Support is not imminent for additional handsets.

“We’re working on it now. We’re excited about a couple of the new phones that are out there,” said Adam Mosseri, product director at Facebook. “It will be months.”


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08.2
12

Microsoft kissing Hotmail goodbye

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The company aims to draw users away from Gmail and Yahoo Mail

Microsoft on Tuesday began publicly previewing a new webmail service for consumers called Outlook.com that will eventually replace Hotmail.

Microsoft also expects that Outlook.com will draw people away from competing consumer webmail services like Google’s Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

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With Outlook.com, Microsoft set out to “reimagine personal e-mail — from the datacenter all the way to the user experience,” wrote Microsoft official Chris Jones in a blog post.

Outlook.com features what Microsoft describes as “clean” and “intuitive” user interface that gives more prominence to messages and less to other elements, like headers and search boxes. It doesn’t include display ads.

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With Exchange ActiveSync, Outlook.com accounts can be synchronized across a variety of devices, and it features native integration with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google and, in the near future, Microsoft’s own Skype.

This means that users can access content and notifications from those social media accounts within the Outlook.com interface.

Outlook.com also sorts messages of different types into separate buckets, so that e-mail from contacts, newsletter subscriptions, e-commerce notifications and social media content is arranged into different groups.

The new webmail service also includes Office Web Apps, the online versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote along with the SkyDrive cloud storage service.

Once Outlook.com exits its test phase, it will replace Hotmail’s user interface, although users will be able to retain their @hotmail.com, @live.com and @msn.com addresses as well as their contacts, messages, password and rules.

“While today’s preview is just the start, Outlook.com is ready now to become your primary email service. We’re expecting millions of people to try it out. Starting today, you can get an @Outlook.com email address, and we’ve also made it easy to get started with your current email address if you want to,” Jones wrote.

Outlook.com is not to be confused with the Outlook email and calendaring PC application, nor with Outlook Web App, which gives Exchange users access to their accounts via a browser.

10.27
11

SAP updates Business One application for small companies

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Business One 8.82 includes an expanded CRM app, simplified order fulfillment, and improved forecasting functions
SAP on Thursday announced a version of Business One, its ERP (enterprise resource planning) suite for small companies as it revs up the marketing strategy behind its Business ByDesign on-demand suite.

 

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Business One 8.82 features a range of improvements, including an expanded CRM (customer relationship management) application that allows companies to develop and manage multichannel marketing programs.

[ Discover what’s new in business applications with InfoWorld’s Technology: Applications newsletter. | Get the latest insight on the tech news that matters from InfoWorld’s Tech Watch blog. ]

Other features target inventory and distribution, such as a simplified “pick and pack” process for order fulfillment that allows users to apply serial codes and batch numbers to specific items; improved long-term business planning functionality; and an “express” configuration wizard.

SAP has also added a number of capabilities to the systems MRP (material requirements planning) module, including a better wizard and improved forecasting functions.

Business One is targeted at companies with 10 to 100 employees, while Business-All-in-One, which is essentially a packaged subset of SAP’s Business Suite enterprise product, is aimed at companies with 1,000 to 2,500 workers. Both are available in hosted or on-premises form.

But the emergence of Business ByDesign has prompted some questions about the market segmentation of the three products, as well as how SAP would sell ByDesign without cannibalizing Business One and All-in-One sales.

SAP this week said it is on track to land 1,000 ByDesign customers by the end of the year, and has about 650 so far. The average deployment per customer has been about 20 subscription seats, co-CEO Bill McDermott said in an interview this week. But SAP is about to aggressively push ByDesign to its large customers as something to use in new subsidiaries or offices. That will result in deals for “thousands of seats at a time,” McDermott predicted.

One thing seems clear: SAP has no intentions of phasing out Business One, having published a development road map that looks out as far as 2014.

But there are still some questions to raise going forward, said Forrester Research analyst China Martens via e-mail.

“I wonder how small to mid-size ERP prospects now look at what SAP offers. Do some of them who previously would have adopted Business One now also look or only look at ByDesign?” she said.

“It’s interesting to note one of the focus areas in the latest version of Business One is on the MRP side,” she added. “I wonder whether user choice between Business One and ByDesign will eventually be more about where each product offers specific built-in vertical support. For now, ByDesign’s focus in that area is professional services, with wholesale next up in [version] 4.0.”

However, overall “it seems like SAP has made its peace with having something of an overlapping product portfolio in the SMB space and now puts less focus on drawing user limit boundaries around Business One, ByDesign, and Business All-in-One,” Martens said.

05.10
11

ViewSonic ViewPad 10 tablet: Windows plus Android doesn’t add up

by admin ·

You know the Reese’s ad about how chocolate and peanut better go better together? I bet whoever came up with the ViewSonic ViewPad 10 had the same aspiration. The problem is this dual-OS tablet is not a delectable combination. Think creamed spinach and red licorice, not peanut butter and chocolate.

The ViewPad 10 is an awkward shotgun marriage whose two parties clearly don’t have their hearts in it. You notice as soon as you turn it on. You get a DOS-like prompt telling you to use the arrow keys to select the OS you want: Windows 7 or Android. However, there are no arrow keys on the device. It’s a tablet, so of course there’s no keyboard, but you wil find three buttons: Power, Home, and Enter. It turns out you can use Home as a down-arrow key.

 

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[ Also on InfoWorld: “Tablet deathmatch: Apple iPad 2 vs. Motorola Xoom” | “RIM BlackBerry PlayBook: Unfinished, unusable” | Compare and calculate your own scores for the iPad 2, Xoom, Galaxy Tab, PlayBook, and ViewPad with our tablet calculator. ]

I asked ViewSonic why the boot menu didn’t match the actual buttons and was told that the company used a Linux boot loader. In other words, either no one thought to have the hardware and software match or no one cared to do anything about it. This “slap it together mentality” is one reason no tablets come close to the iPad.

The slow, awkward Windows experience
Once you boot into Windows, you get, well, Windows. It’s immediately familiar, so there’s essentially no learning curve. ViewSonic pre-installs very few applications. There’s Adobe Reader 9 and the minimum set of Windows-provisioned applications: Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, XPS Viewer, and the Calculator. You’ll need to install anything else you might want to use, such as Outlook or Office. Of course, the ViewPad is a tablet, so there’s no DVD drive, but you can plug one in via USB — if you own one.

However, you may not want to install any applications. Windows 7 and apps such as IE run like molasses on the ViewPad 10 and its 1GHz single-core Atom processor. The delays to my input were excruciating. For example, when I zoomed in or out of IE, it took several seconds for the screen to respond to my gestures. The latency is too great to work around, and I could never predict the results of what I’d done. I can’t imagine how the ViewPad would handle a bloated app like Office. Even simple tasks like opening the Start menu showed noticeable lags.

If you can handle the slow performance, beware the poor touch interface. Windows 7 is terrible at handling touch input — many buttons and links require very precisely positioned taps on screen elements that are usually frustratingly small; I typically had to tap multiple times to activate a control. Windows is inconsistent: Some controls just needed a tap near them, while others — even in the same dialog box or window — required a precise tap. It feels like you’re playing darts with your finger.

05.8
11

Microsoft Office 2010 takes on all comers

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Microsoft Office 2010 takes on all comers: SoftMaker Office 2010
For several years now, SoftMaker Office has been accruing a reputation as a low-cost replacement for the Microsoft Office product line. It’s indeed much cheaper than Office 2010: $79 to Office’s $149, $279, or $499 (the MSRPs for the Home and Student, Home and Business, and Professional versions, respectively). For those who don’t exclusively require Word, it’s a very strong contender. It’s also been written with much more of an eye toward integration with Windows than the OpenOffice.org family; for example, the Windows 7 Taskbar jump lists are supported.

 

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The suite features replacements for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in much the same way that IBM Lotus Symphony strips the OpenOffice.org suite down to its three most essential programs. A single copy of the program can be used on up to three PCs, with no copy protection or other restrictions. Academic pricing ($34.95 per copy) is also available, but there’s no need to purchase different versions of the program for work and home.

The best way to see SoftMaker Office’s much-vaunted document compatibility in action is to grab the 30-day trial version of the product, open documents in it side-by-side with your existing program, and see how they look. SoftMaker Office has its own native document formats for each program, but it does a strikingly sound job of reading and interpreting Office’s native formats. It can also handle some of the OpenDocument formats used by OpenOffice.org.

TextMaker, SoftMaker’s word processor, is the most likely place to start testing how well the suite works with your existing files. With most every document I threw at it from my own collection, everything from relatively complex style-driven formatting to annotations and corrections was preserved. The programmers also took the trouble to make many individual features behave like their counterparts in Microsoft Office, such as the way corrections can be viewed in a callout pane to the side of the text. OpenOffice.org and its derivatives do the same thing, but often lose the name of whoever submitted a given correction. TextMaker preserved the names properly (as did Symphony’s word processor). Details like this position TextMaker as that much more attractive to users who care about preserving document fidelity.

PlanMaker, the suite’s spreadsheet program, supports up to 65,536 rows and works with both older and newer Excel documents. It opened existing spreadsheets better than any of the OpenOffice.org variants, but I still ran into some hitches. When I opened the mortgage calculator spreadsheet, it displayed the charts properly but didn’t recalculate the charts when I changed the data. Even forcing a recalculation of the charts from the program menu didn’t work. Also, PlanMaker doesn’t open OpenDocument-format spreadsheets (.ods), though TextMaker opens word processing documents in the OpenDocument format (.odt).

SoftMaker Presentations had some similar file format hitches. PowerPoint 2007/2010 presentations (.pptx) are not yet supported, and neither are OpenDocument presentation files (.odp), but files in the older PowerPoint (.ppt) format load and run very well. In-slide animation and transitions also work. One key omission from Presentations is the lack of a feature like PowerPoint’s synchronized multiscreen presentation mode. This allows a presenter to run the presentation on one display, such as a projector, while having his notes for the presentation visible on his notebook display. With Presentations, it is possible to run the slideshow on one display while manually browsing the notes for the presentation on another, but it’s not quite the same.

All SoftMaker Office applications use a scripting language that’s based on Microsoft’s own VBA for application automation, and the suite includes an editor (BasicMaker) for creating and debugging scripts. Note that while SoftMaker’s scripting language is similar to VBA, this doesn’t mean existing Office documents with VBA automation can be used as-is. You’d have to export the code from those documents, reimport it into BasicMaker, and then modify it line by line. I did like the program’s PDF exporter, which is on a par with OpenOffice.org’s excellent tool.

05.6
11

Death by Facebook: MySpace bids expected, Friendster transitions

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Bids are expected to be received for social networking site MySpace by the end of the week, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. News Corp, which acquired the site in 2005 for $580 billion, is said to be seeking bids of at least $100 billion for the site.

At least a half-dozen companies are said to be considering bids, including several equity firms and Criterion Capital Partners LLC, owners of social networking site Bebo. The structures of the deals are not known although it is said that some include News Corp retaining a small stake.

 

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The news confirms comments made in January by CEO Mike Jones that the company was considering a sale. What interested parties plan to do with the site is unknown: it may continue to operate as it currently has or be merged into an existing property.

Video site Vevo has also been rumored to have shown interest although it is believed to have backed away from making a deal, the WSJ reports. Either way, it appears that News Corp is set to take a major hit on its now six-year-old investment — a victim of the meteoric rise of Facebook.

As usage of that social networking site exploded, interest among consumers in MySpace waned. Last month it had 36.1 million unique visitors, half of what it had just a year before and its lowest traffic total since shortly after the merger occurred. Even an attempted refocus was not the solution to MySpace’s woes.

That effort, announced in October, switched the focus away from social networking among friends and turned MySpace into an entertainment hub. So far, there has been little evidence that the change has stopped the site’s slide into irrelevancy, unfortunately.

In related news, another social networking site is also exiting the business. Friendster announced this week that it would delete most profile information after May 31, as it looks to transition into a gaming site. The company was one of the pioneers in the social networking space when it first launched in 2002, but found itself first trumped by the rise of MySpace and then later by Facebook.

05.5
11

Servers made huge rebound in 2010, but sales will be slower this year

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Perhaps Apple chose the wrong time to get out of the server market. The company stopped selling Xserve at the end of January. Now the 2010 server numbers are in, and they’re looking pretty good. Server shipments grew 16.8 percent during 2010 and revenue by 13.2 percent, year over year, according to Gartner. It was a remarkable turnaround compared to 2009, when shipments and revenue fell 16.6 percent and 18.3 percent, respectively. Manufacturers shipped 8.8 million servers for the year, generating $48.8 billion in revenue.

 

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Gartner largely credited the rebound to x86 server upgrades delayed by the economic crisis set in motion by the September 2008 stock market crash. “2010 was a year that saw pent-up x86-based server demand produce some significant growth on a worldwide level,” Jeffrey Hewitt, Gartner research vice president, said in a statement. “The introduction of new processors from Intel and AMD toward the end of 2009 helped fuel a pretty significant replacement cycle of servers that had been maintained in place during the economic downturn in 2009.”

Blade server revenue rose by 29.5 percent and shipments by 12.6 percent. HP and IBM led shipments, with 47.3 percent and 25.4 percent market share, respectively. In the broader server market, IBM and HP fought for revenue leadership, both topping $15 billion, with 31.4 percent and 30.8 percent share, respectively. However, HP revenue growth more than doubled IBM’s. That said, IBM had much better margins, shipping fewer servers (1.16 million) than HP (2.8 million). HP ended the year at No. 1 in shipments and revenue — 31.7 percent and 31.4 percent, respectively.

Fourth Quarter 2010

On the other hand, perhaps Apple got out of the server market in the nick of time. While Gartner expects server shipments to grow in 2011, the pace will be slower. The analyst firm estimates that the replacement cycle peaked in 2010. Fourth-quarter shipments foreshadow the trend. Shipments grew only by 6.5 percent, although revenue rose a more robust 16.4 percent. Manufacturers shipped 706,202 servers during Q4, generating $4.3 billion in revenue.

Still, the market may not yet have pushed through its growth potential. “We also need to recognize that the market is still in a fairly tentative recovery mode,” Adrian O’Connell, Gartner research director said in a statement. Many companies are still in cost-containment mode and, although 2010 growth levels were strong, we’re still some way off the revenue highs that we saw in 2007.”

Dell and IBM had strongest revenue growth — 26.4 percent — during fourth quarter. Shipments rose 3.8 percent and 6.9 percent respectively. IBM ranked No.1 in revenue share (35.5 percent), while HP lead in shipments (32.1 percent) — another sign of IBM’s higher margins.

Every region brought double-digit growth but Japan, where server shipments declined by 4.4 percent, during Q4. Asia-Pacific: 22.4 percent. EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa: 10.4 percent. Latin America: 12.3 percent. North America 24.5 percent. But, again, most of the growth came in x86 servers.

As it typically does, Gartner singled out EMEA, where HP’s huge success is upsetting RISC and Unix server shipments. HP had a colossal 43.6 percent share of server shipments (307,959 units) — or more than the rest of the top-5 combined. “The x86 market is becoming ever more critical to the overall server market,” O’Connell said in the statement, emphasizing that in fourth quarter, x86 revenue accounted for two-thirds of total server revenue.

With x86’s rise came legacy servers’ demise, with RISC and Itanium Unix system revenues falling 19.3 percent year over year. “These weak results are compounded by product transitions but are also indicative of the positioning difficulties that Unix vendors are facing,” O’Connell explained. “The challenge remains for Unix vendors to move upstream and fight for mainframe business, whilst also defending against Windows and Linux encroachments into their own installed bases.”

05.4
11

New Wi-Fi gear aims to wipe out Ethernet edge switches

by admin ·

A third new service is a patent-pending technology called Orthogonal Array Beam Forming (OABF). WLAN vendors over the past two years have been adding support for various optional parts of the 11n standard, (see from May 2010, “Major Wi-Fi changes ahead”) including transmit beam forming (sometimes “beamforming”). The same waveform is sent over 11n’s multiple antennas, with the magnitude and phase adjusted at each transmitter to focus the beam direction toward a particular receiver. This increases the signal’s gain so it’s more stable, and can be “steered around” interferers so it’s more reliable.

 

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[Ruckus Wireless in 2009 was the first to introduce beam forming for 11n products, exploiting its unique multi-component antenna design. Wireless blogger Craig Mathias used that introduction to explore the topic.]

Meru has created what it says is a more fine-grained alternative. Each Wi-Fi signal is made up of about 60 sub-carriers over a wide swath of spectrum, says Graham Melville, Meru’s director of product management. Meru’s code can optimize each of the sub-carriers and the result, he says, is an improvement in gain, or sensitivity, on the order of 8-10 dB.

The result of the improved gain is a higher signal quality and higher data rates: where Meru saw 36Mbps before applying its beamforming technology, it saw 54Mbps after, for example. “It stays at the high data rates because the signal is stronger, and better quality,” Melville says.

The new access points also can use the optional Meru Proactive Spectrum Analysis as part of another service, called Air Traffic Services. One of the AP400 radios can be assigned the job of continually monitoring the Wi-Fi radio frequencies for unauthorized radios, analyzing the spectrum usage and interference, and running Meru’s integrated wireless intrusion prevention system.

Another network service is called Mobile Application Segregation: administrators can create a dedicated channel for individual applications or groups of them, high definition video, or wireless VoIP.

John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for “Network World.”

05.3
11

FSF: Microsoft is Bound by GPLv3 Terms If It Distributes GPLv3 Code

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Last month, Microsoft’s legal department proclaimed it doesn’t consider itself bound to the terms of version 3 of the General Public License, with respect to certificates it distributed for software, services, and support from Novell. Today, the Free Software Foundation responded by saying if Microsoft distributes software covered by GPLv3, then it’s bound by the terms of that license.

 

 

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“Microsoft cannot by any act of anticipatory repudiation divest itself of its obligation to respect others’ copyrights, reads today’s FSF statement. “If Microsoft distributes our works licensed under GPLv3, or pays others to distribute them on its behalf, it is bound to do so under the terms of that license. It may not do so under any other terms; it cannot declare itself exempt from the requirements of GPLv3.”

The crux of the dispute centers around whether, when Microsoft agreed to issue certificates for Novell’s customers, it effectively distributed software on Novell’s behalf. Microsoft has made the case that Novell is the distributor in this case, and that it’s just picking up the tab.

The reason why it all matters is because version 3 specifically declares that a licensee doesn’t have the right to claim to hold anyone to whom it distributes that code free from patent obligations. The basic theory here is that no distributor can claim ownership of any part of the software, so it can’t then presume to hold someone to whom it distributes that software free from liability or infringement for it.

FSF’s motivation may be to find a way to legally extend some of that privilege Microsoft granted to Novell last year, to everyone else who might be a recipient of that same software even if Novell’s not the distributor. That’s probably why Section 11 of the new GPL reads, in part, as follows: “If, pursuant to or in connection with a single transaction or arrangement, you convey, or propagate by procuring conveyance of, a covered work, and grant a patent license to some of the parties receiving the covered work authorizing them to use, propagate, modify or convey a specific copy of the covered work, then the patent license you grant is automatically extended to all recipients of the covered work and works based on it.”

Last July, Microsoft’s proclamation contained the following: “While there have been some claims that Microsoft’s distribution of certificates for Novell support services, under our interoperability collaboration with Novell, constitutes acceptance of the GPLv3 license, we do not believe that such claims have a valid legal basis under contract, intellectual property, or any other law. In fact, we do not believe that Microsoft needs a license under GPL to carry out any aspect of its collaboration with Novell, including its distribution of support certificates, even if Novell chooses to distribute GPLv3 code in the future.”

Microsoft went on to say its Novell agreement does not grant any patent rights to any of Novell’s customers, through its distributed certificates or otherwise – meaning, it’s not granting Novell’s customers the rights to use software whose rightful ownership Microsoft wants to retain the right to contest later. However, the company did decide to rescind the portion of its certificates which grant recipients the right to receive support on GPLv3 licensed code from Novell – which was actually in compliance with an earlier FSF request.

But the FSF didn’t want last month’s proclamation to be the last word. “Microsoft has said that it expects respect for its so-called ‘intellectual property’ – a propaganda term designed to confuse patent law with copyright and other unrelated laws, and to muddy the different issues they raise,” reads the close of the FSF’s statement today. “We will ensure – and, to the extent of our resources, assist other GPLv3 licensors in ensuring – that Microsoft respects our copyrights and complies with our licenses.”

In the meantime, the issue of whether issuing a certificate toward the purchase of software by someone else constitutes legal distribution of someone else’s software, remains open.