Software patents are anti-competitive – wake up !

This has been going on for too long – when will software patents and their misuse finally be abolished?

– android mobile phone customers pay $5 per mobile phone to microsoft because of software patents they bought. Microsoft has their own windows mobile system and has contributed NOTHING to the android infrastructure, yet we have to pay them when we decide against their product?
– microsoft was at least temporarily stopped from selling microsoft word because of XML patents. XML is an industry standard. How could you possibly punish them for finally using standards instead of proprietary methods that keep competitors out more?
– patent cartell buys nortels patents for billions of dollars, smaller competitors that are not in on the cartel will suffer. What does the SEC have to say about that? Apparantly nothing.
– study shows that software patents are detrimental to the industry as a whole. What a surprise. with similar results already expected in 2008:

And still I get ‘software patents are necessary to incentivice innovation’. No, they are just a means to keep smaller inventors from succeeding and feed a multi billion dollar litigation and cartel building machine. Software patents need to be abolished.


My first day with the Google Android G1 phone – yeah I did it!

It’s not as if I had not given it plenty of thought 🙂 I even owned the first generation iphone for about a week before dropping back to my treo 680 – and if having full enterprise email access (via goodlink service) would not cost me $240/year in fees on top of the wireless internet plans on the 680, I might even still be ok with that.

So finally after hesitating for almost a year, I jumped ship, knowing that I won’t have my enterprise calendar/email for a while longer but at least have a decent internet phone, I bought it through costco to get the extra bluetooth piece and car-charger for almost the same price, and I am happy and very impressed !

First notable impressions (I already read all the reviews beforehand and knew what to expect for the most part, won’t mention those things here)

1. I could mount the phones storage through usb on my linux system and just copy over the images and mp3’s that I wanted to take with me. Take that, apple/iphone! Yes I own the content that I import, not you. And I will plug in a larger micro-SD card as soon as I got it from tigerdirect.

There was however a weird thing that the partition on the storage only showed up once I selected ‘mount though usb’ on the G1 phone side, but once I had googled that tidbit of information it worked like a charm, and Fedora 9 mounted it for me automatically.

2. application marketplace

Holy moly more than I care to know about.  So I used search to find what I was most interested in and had heard about, and tried out some of the featured apps as well. I did not see any for-pay apps yet.

Interesting that before installing you are asked to read multiple pages of license stuff that all is very uninteresting for a user. I wonder if that can even be legally binding if they hide something in there that actually matters – most of it talks about rights to copying software, how does that relate to a phone user downloading it through the marketplace that the company provides it through is beyond me.

Also interesting that before installing it tells you what the application requests to get control over, i.e. your address book, your wifi connection, your gps location, for-pay services like SMS…  and just like with Windows XP AntiVirus/AntiSpyware systems you have to OK all those things anyways to get it to work. But at least you are warned 🙂

With all those services asking for a signup I am surprised that we don’t have automatic fill-in of first-name last-name into the signup forms…

Here are the 8 apps  I installed on my first try:

– ShopSavvy (not ShopSawy 🙂 )- point your camera at a bar-code and it tries to identify the item, get you prices and locations. At first I was real impressed, I tried it with a book and it found it right away, quoted me three different prices and locations to buy it at, and with two clicks I got my gps telling me how to get there from where I currently was. Very cool. It also quoted a cheaper online price, did not pursue that.

So I thought, yeah this is as cool as I read about it before. My wife came home and I tried to impress her: I tried it with two vegetable cans and it could not grasp the barcode – probably since it was round? I tried a cereal box and it read the barcode then said it found nothing. Mhm, so maybe not that much stuff in the database yet…

– pacman – looks like the original. You can use the accelerator method to navigate it, which means instead of pressing keys you tilt your phone – almost like a wee control 🙂

– bonsai blast – nice color game, not tried to really play it yet

– imap weather – does what it needs to do plus more. Fails to find my location sometimes and then crashes. Not impressed.

– Wertago – ‘where to go’ nightlife guide application, kind of like yelp but yet-another-social-network-thing. I did not bother to create the account but found the crowd kind of wierd… however this is probably the kind of thing that is going to be really useful once there are more reviews in it.

– Meridian Video Player – I hoped to be able to play my eve online trailers (mov/wmv), but it did not work. Oh well.

– cab4me light – finds phone numbers of local cab companies. Nice…

– imeem mobile –  an internet radio station but tailored to your taste. Wow, just typed in Metallica in the search and now get all those metal songs from all those bands. Nice, have not listened to Manowar in a while…

3. Access to wireless

It was really simple to setup (select wifi station from list identified, enter WEP code, done) but I was surprised that web browsing still seems as slow as over edge/g3. Mhm…

4. what am I going to miss form my treo 680

– real good keyboard – the g1 is not terrible but far from being as good.

– uploading pictures straight to facebook off of the sd card ejected from my digital camera – the workarounds could be getting a microsd in sd adapter and take pictures to that (supposedly much slower than sd though) or even better to get a wifi enabled sd-card (eyefi) – then I would no longer need to eject the card.

– faster/earlier rendering of my most frequented websites in the web-browser.

– superefficient email/contacts when paying the $240/year goodlink fees. but not gonna anyways.

– reasonable low resolution video

5. What I am not going to miss from my treo 680

– call dropping or going on hold right after accepting the call when I fumble the ringing phone out of the pocket

– always out of battery when I needed it the most – lets see how the G1 fares on that 🙂

– real bad (i.e. unusable) mp3 player, harsh electric interference noise when it transmitted data and playing music at the same time

– low resolution photo camera

Penguin releases HPC as a service

If you want to know what all the hype around diskless beowulf clusters is about and run it on your own 64bit x86_64 hardware, you can now get a free trial from

UPDATE: If you are not ready to buy the hardware, or have a run that is larger than your current cluster, take advantage of Penguin On Demand (POD) which is the latest cool thing: HPC as a Service, low latency interconnect and HPC specific support…

large linux cluster

large linux cluster

solved: Could not access windows shares between ubuntu and XP

After spending some time googling for a solution on why I can’t access my samba shares from XP nor my XP shares from ubuntu 8.04 hardy I finally figured it out myself – the firewall as it comes preconfigured was preventing full communication.

The symptom was that I would be able to list shares with

smbclient -L

but when wanting to connect to a share, it would give me errors like

tree connect failed: NT_STATUS_BAD_NETWORK_NAME

I also would get messages such as ‘missing \ in share name‘ and the like.

Ubuntus Nautilus was not able to connect to the smb:// url.

Windows XP would also not see any folders that I had selected as shared in nautilus on the ubuntu side.

The quick solution was to give full access to the windows xp laptop coming from  (I will start googling to narrow down what exactly I need rather than allow all access) via:

iptables -I INPUT –source -j ACCEPT

Now I can simply connect with smbclient // and XP allows me to see anything exported from ubuntu automatically in the network places view.

Problem solved.

thunderbird does not want to send attachements out of /tmp ?

Strange surprise today, I tried to send an email with attachements and for some reason it fails, and says I should check my temporary directory settings. Up and down the settings I see no such thing. After a bit of googling and the misleading hint to remove a parentlock file, I am getting the idea – its actually throwing files with that precise filename into /tmp. Now thats stupid, who wrote that ? At the very least do a mktemp directory for the application.

So I had to move the files from /tmp ihnto a subdir /tmp/x and voila it works – but also only because I happen to own read/write those files. Otherwise I would have even had to rename them before sending…

Should file a bugzilla report…

linux ramdisks – howto pick the right kernel parameters to create 800MB large ramdisks…

To play with the application ansys / fluent doing an out-core solving process that requires fast scratch space, I was attempting to combine several cluster nodes ram-disks through lustre.

The surprise here is two-fold: With kernel 2.6 the old ramdisk-parameter is obsoleted by the newer ramdisk_size and ramdisk_blocksize. The other one is that by default, it fails in a bizarre way:

mkfs seems happy, but mount says “mount: wrong fs type, bad option, bad superblock on /dev/ramdisk, or too many mounted file systems”. A peek in the output of dmesg told me:

EXT2-fs: Magic mismatch, very weird !

Very wierd indeed. I was puzzled, but thanks to I got to the bottom without having to read the kernel source: He ran into the same issue and figured out that it was the blocksize and solved it by specify the blocksize of the filesystem to be 1k instead of the default 4k.

I now use the kernel parameters ‘ramdisk_size=819200 ramdisk_blocksize=4096’ instead since all data I want to store will be in very few large files anyways and so the 4k blocksize is more efficient and more friendly to the lustre tools anyways…

Note that the ramdisk_size is in KB whereas the blocksize is in bytes.