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Tech Notes

Mar 16, 2005

1) There have been some rumors surrounding the upcomming release of a quad-core Apple PowerMac G5 system based on the yet unverified PPC970MP processor. First of all, there were the C.H.U.D screenshots (available here) showing selections for four CPUs. The latest hint at such a system comes from a technical document at IBM’s site named Using the Themal Diodes in the PowerPC970MP Processor. I suppose that I should start saving now. Although, if the computer I have is good enough for Linus, then it is good enough for me too.

2) The New Zealand Intellectual Property Office (Australia also) has a patent on file stating, in essence:

Microsoft invented and owns the process whereby a word-processing document stored in a single XML file may be manipulated by applications that understand XML.

This is a very interesting development as it shows the potential lethality of software patents. While Microsoft would have you believe that they are figthing the good fight for patent reform (although one might say that their proposal benefits MS the most), they are in fact attempting to flood the foreign patent offices with claims such as the one above. One would think that prior art (KWord, OO, Pages, Gnumeric) and obviousness will win out in this case, but one never knows. I suppose I should prepare to file my latest patent: “Using a lightbulb to illuminate a bedroom”.

3) The always entertaining CherryOS is in the spotlight yet again. DrunkenBlog is running a great article on the history of this ridiculous product and provides evidence of its dubious origins as a clear theft of PearPC as well as other notable projects and products. The list of damning evidence against CherryOS includes the following:

– Reuse of PearPC graphics
– Identical video drivers
– Frequent code and string matches within executable files (many examples found here)
– Identical configuration files in some cases
– The set of bugs for both programs are nearly identical.
– Programming constants are often the same.
– The blatant usage of HFVExplorer
– The use of OpenVPN network driver (and accidentally printing the original GPL information… whoops).
– As new evidence comes to light, the CherryOS builds have decreased in size.
– The emulated network device MAC address is the same as PearPC’s. The odds of this happening are astronimical.
– GPL code from the wonderful Cygwin project has somehow found its way into CherryOS also.
– The program profiles of CherryOS and PearPC seem to describe the exact same behavior. There is a nice description of this here.
– A slightly different theory claims that CherryOS may simply be a Visual Basic wrapper around PearPC!

4) How to create a custom Linux Live CD.

5) Collest tech-books of the day:
Apple I Replica Creation
Revolution in the Valley
Digital Retro
Collectible Microcomputers


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