The latest news and products from the high-tech battlefield

OIN gets more patents, the Netherlands builds an enormous and enormously-fast grid, and Google’s Picasa for Linux goes alpha

Patently Marvelous

The Open Invention Network (OIN, http://www.openinventionnetwork.com), the intellectual property company formed in 2005 by IBM, Novell, Philips, Red Hat, and Sony, recently acquired additional patents as part of the organization’s ongoing mission to to protect the Linux environment. The newly-acquired e-commerce and Internet-related software patents, along with OIN’s existing intellectual property portfolio, are available royalty-free to all OIN licensees. (You can read about the charter of OIN at http://www.linux-mag.com/content/view/2541/.)
The added set of OIN patents include: No. 5,764,989, Interactive Software Development System; No. 5,848,274, Incremental Byte Code Compilation System, and No. 6,067,413, Data Representation for Mixed-Language Program Development.
In addition, the OIN announced the issuance of two patents: No. 6,993,506, Method and Device Utilizing Polymorphic Date in E-Commerce, and No. 7,036,072, Method and Apparatus for Declarative Updating of Self-Describing, Structured Documents. (Point your browser to http://www.uspto.gov/patft/index.html to find each patent.) These patents the patent applications acquired by OIN as part of the business-to-business electronic commerce patent portfolio once held by Commerce One.
“The new set of patents OIN has obtained is part of our ongoing patent acquisition strategy, and will significantly increase our contribution to protecting the Linux environment,” said Jerry Rosenthal, chief executive officer at Open Invention Network. Rosenthal added, “Our licensees benefit because our patents are available on a royalty-free basis to any company, institution or individual that agrees not to assert its patents against the Linux environment. Adding new OIN patents and licensees expands the size and strength of the Linux ecosystem.”

Going Dutch

ClusterVision (http://www.clustervision.com/), a specialist in Linux supercomputer clusters, has been awarded the contract to build a new incarnation of the Distributed ASCI Supercomputer grid. The new grid, named DAS-3, is being funded by the Dutch Science Foundation and will comprise five Linux supercomputer clusters with an aggregate theoretical peak performance of more than 3.5 teraflops (3.5 billion calculations per second).
The grid will include more than 550 AMD Opteron processors, 1 TB of memory, and 100 TB of storage. All clusters will be preinstalled with the Linux-based ClusterVisionOS cluster operating system, which includes all software required to effectively use and manage the clusters. At the heart of four of the clusters in the DAS-3 grid will be a Myricom (http://www.myri.com/) Myri-10G network, consisting of one Myri-10G switch that connects to a Myri-10G PCI-Express card in each server of the cluster. Each Myri-10G switch will connect directly to SURFnet’s multi-colour optical backbone.
Myri-10G is Myricom’s new high performance computing interconnect, which combines industry-standard 10-Gigabit Ethernet with Myricom’s own Myrinet Express communication protocol to offer extremely high bandwidth and low latency.
DAS-3 will be hosted jointly at The University of Amsterdam, the Vrije Universiteit, Leiden University, and Delft University of Technology. The institutions will use the grid for research into distributed computing; grid computing, services and environments for e-science in the context of the VL-e (Virtual Laboratory for e-Science) project; multimedia knowledge discovery; bio-computing image databases; and many other projects.

Picasa Enters a Blue Period

Google recently announced an alpha version of the popular Picasa image manipulation program for Linux (http://picasa.google.com/linux/). According to the company, the software should work on any Linux system with an Intel 386-compatible processor, glibc 2.3 or greater, and a working X11 display system. Picasa integrates with both GNOME and KDE, and can detect a connected camera if your system is running kernel 2.6.13 (or greater), HAL 0.56 (or greater), and gnome-volume-manager or equivalent.



However, the Linux version of Picasa is not a native port. Instead, the application integrates a special version of CodeWeaver’s Wine, making Picasa for Linux susceptible to crashes and inconsistencies. (Wine applications tend to integrate poorly with Linux desktops.) If you want to edit photos with a native Linux application, try F-Spot (http://www.linux-mag.com/2005-10/diy_01.html) or Digikam (see http://www.linux-mag.com//2006-02/desktop_01.html). Or, you can run Picasa in Windows under VMWare (pictured.)

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