Oct 31, 2012

Upgrading Linux (Ubuntu) is so hard

Many of us will be upgrading our desktop and laptop computers to Windows 8, the latest and greatest avatar of  Microsoft's cash cow. While Windows 7 users may see a fairly smooth process, notwithstanding some negative reviews, it will be much more difficult for XP and Vista users. M$ says you have to reinstall applications in such cases. Now that is a 2 or 3 day project depending on how many apps you have and if you find the CDs, keys and do endless service pack updates for some of them. Assuming of course, that they work with Windows 8

Now just how hard is it to upgrade Ubuntu Linux from, say, version 10.04 to a newer one (11.10)?

Well I had this VMWare virtual machine that was built with 10 and wanted to move to 11.

What did I do? Two things:

  1. Open the terminal 
  2. Type 'do_version_upgrade' and press ENTER

That's all folks!

In about 30 min or so, thanks to the reasonably fast net connection, it was all DONE, signed, sealed and delivered, with just one restart at the end of the entire process.

All applications were not just left unharmed, they too were upgraded!

Oct 23, 2012

This is big - Rubber band patent trashed

You can Google for details....USPTO has trashed the so-called rubber band patent, which was stretched by Apple to go after anything and everything that involves a touch interface..

Of course, there will be appeals which will go on forever but the significance of this decision is not to be reduced in any manner..

What this means is one of the key pillars of the $1b verdict, (full of totalling errors and obvious bias on the part of the jury foreman who was himself accused of lying to get the job), is in ruins and the verdict itself, or Apple's chance of collecting that money or enforcing any injunction, is in qyestion.

It may yet be possible that US 'justice' system redeems itself and gets a chance to wipe out the shame of being labelled  'Kangaroo court' by columnists.

Oct 12, 2012

Nexus ban issue - Appeals court sets the bar quite high

The recent judgement by the US Appeals court, lifting the interim ban on Nexus has some very interesting guidelines and judicial pronouncements. These could affect not just the present case, and the general Apple-Samsung dispute but several such infringement cases.

After all, when you are talking about two mega tech gorillas that rake in billions of dollars in QUARTERLY profits, it is not a fine of $1B, high as it is, that is going to break their backbones..it is the injunction, interim or otherwise, that affects sales, market share and of course, profits.

And in a market where product life cycles are measured in weeks, if not days, an interim injunction can be as good as a death penalty, regardless of the outcome of the litigation itself, which may take years.

Hence the need for a very high bar, that can only be crossed with great difficulty, in rarest of rare cases.

So what's the criteria? There is a four-way test ( I am not quoting the judges verbatim, to keep things simple)

1. The infringement claim itself should likely succeed
2. Irreparable harm, 

and as if these two alone are not enough,

3. Balance of equities tips in favor of accuser
4. Public interest

The last test may be more than enough to derail any ban or injunction in some cases.

Furthermore, in cases like the Nexus one, where the entire product is not infringing, but only a minority (in this case, just one) of features infringe, the accusing party as to show that the irreparable harm cited above is due to the alleged infringement. You can call it the NEXUS factor! And it is not a pun!!

In other words, just saying I lost sales is not enough..did you lose it because of that infringement? What if customers would have anyway bought the phone, without the feature?

The nexus has to be sufficiently strong. How do you prove that? By showing that it drives consumer demand, for instance. The link has to be substantial. As the judge puts it, you cannot tick that item off by showing some insubstantial connection between harm and the infringement.

Apple failed in the nexus factor and the judges also questioned the very first item - likelihood of success. I will ignore that aspect as it goes into semantics of claim construction and the significance of words like 'each' and 'plurality of modules' etc. Enough to say it does not look good for Apple. Obviously that is mainly concerning this particular case unlike the other parts of judgement which are quite far reaching in their impact.

Remember this appeal is only about the injunction, not the infringement lawsuit itself.

[In brief] Nexus ban lifted!

The prophets of gloom and doom for Android can start preparing their hideouts...can there be a clearer message?

We hold that the district court abused its discretion in enjoining the sales of the Galaxy Nexus

And with more mud now being thrown against the jury foreman who, according to Samsung, concealed vital information in the jury selection process and the fact that vital evidence was not allowed to be presented in the trial itself, it is anybody's guess if that verdict will stand at all.

Look like Groklaw and others are fully justified in calling the Apple-Samsung trial as a 'farce'. 

Perhaps litigants, particularly those from overseas should now demand that all trials against American companies be held outside the USA if not, at least away from the home states of the American entity involved..