Software

Sunk by 'patent troll': Iron Speed director asks 'anyone want to buy us?'

Legal woes (and cracked licence keys) cause dev favourites to throw in the towel


Iron Speed, a firm which provided a rapid application development tool for creating .NET apps, is shuttering itself thanks to "litigation with a patent troll", according to a letter sent to customers by co-founder and chairman Alan Fisher.

The Iron Speed designer enabled developers to create applications for web, cloud and mobile using a point-and-click interface. Customers include AT&T, Cisco, DHL, Disney, HP and the US Army, according to the company's website. Yet all this is no more, writes Fisher:

I am writing to inform you that we have decided to discontinue operations after August 31 2015.

There are several reasons for this, one of which has been the ongoing expense of litigation with a patent troll who has challenged our intellectual property. While we feel this is baseless, patent litigation is generally a multi-million dollar exercise. This has put a drain on our resources we can no longer afford, and coupled with excessive cracked key use and license sharing, our product sales have been severely impaired.

We will continue offering Technical Support through December 31 2015, but it is unlikely that there will be future software releases.

Because we are unable to issue any refunds, any customer with current software update or technical support subscriptions has been issued an additional perpetual license in his account.

That Iron Speed letter in full

A thread on the Iron Speed forums confirms the situation and provides more details.

Although the product will not be developed further, it will still function, says former director of engineering Kirill Dmitriev:

Guys, I can assure you that Designer licenses you purchased will continue to work for years to come. Also there is no plans to release it as an open source and licensing policy is still enforced. After all it would be unfair to those who paid money for the license to give the tool for free. There is no legal issues in usage of Designer.

In another post, Kirill asks, does anyone want to buy the company?

Does anyone want to buy my firm, says former director of engineering

The patent issue seems related to the way the Iron Speed designer generates applications automatically based on a database schema, removing much of the gruntwork in building applications that are essentially forms over data.

Developing an application with the Iron Speed designer

Microsoft has its own tool which does this, called LightSwitch, but this has not been updated much in the latest edition of Visual Studio, causing developers to doubt its future. Another issue with LightSwitch is its reliance on the deprecated Silverlight for desktop applications, though it can also generate HTML and JavaScript. ®

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HPE's Aruba adopts DPUs, but in a switch, not a server

Decides switches need help performing network functions, just like servers need their CPUs free for core workloads

HPE's networking subsidiary Aruba has added data processing units to a switch.

Data processing units (DPUs) – aka SmartNICs or "infrastructure processing units" (IPUs) – are small computers integrated into a network adapter. Hyperscale operators adopted the devices to relieve servers of chores ranging from handling I/O to external storage or running network services under software-defined networks. DPUs/IPUs/SmartNICs are also valued for adding isolation to components in a data centre, which helps for security purposes.

VMware, Nvidia, and Intel have backed the devices as a new and vital tier of enterprise data centres, and are endeavouring to make them work in mainstream servers any month now with the suggestion that they are a splendid place to spin up network-centric workloads as needed.

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Windows 11 Paint: Oh look – rounded corners. And it is prettier.... but slightly worse

New iconography, minimalism, less text – and at least it is not Paint 3D

Microsoft's redesigned user interface for Paint in Windows 11 is prettier but perhaps a little less useable than the previous version.

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Weeks after Red Bee Media's broadcast centre fell over, Channel 4 is still struggling with subtitles

Got a Disaster Recovery plan? Ever tested it? You probably should...

Confusion continues to reign in the world of television, including UK national broadcaster Channel 4, weeks after a broadcast centre cockup wrought havoc upon servers.

Things went horribly wrong at Red Bee Media's broadcast centre back on 25 September. Yes, that was the weekend before we ran an accidentally appropriate episode of Who, Me?

A fire suppression was triggered and severely damaged a lot of critical hardware. The net result was that a number of UK television channels (including the BBC as well as Channel 4) suffered a wobble. While others have recovered, Channel 4 remains unable to provide accessibility services, such as subtitles or audio description.

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WTF? Value of Finnish open-source-as-a-service startup Aiven jumps $1.2bn in 7 months

Cloud data market heats up as company lures $60m in Series C funding

Finnish open-source-as-a-service provider Aiven has attracted a $60m extension to its Series C funding which now values the firm at $2bn.

The latest cash injection suggests remarkable growth in the nominal value of the Scandinavian startup, founded five years ago, which was worth $800m when it got its first $100m-tranche of Series C funding in March.

Aiven sells open-source data technologies as a managed service. Unlike some DBaaS systems, which punt proprietary or less permissive licences for their as-a-service offers built on open source technologies, Aiven provides a stack of as-a-service systems in their true open source form.

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UK's competition regulator announces market study into music streaming biz

Watchdog is getting comfortable with its new digital remit

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said this morning it would be carrying out a market study into the music streaming industry.

The announcement states that following discussion by the board, the regulator would now "consider and develop the final scope of the market study, before formally launching it as soon as possible."

In a letter to MPs [PDF], chief exec Andrea Coscelli wrote it was agreed that such work "supported a strategic goal of the CMA to foster effective competition in digital markets, ensuring they operate in a way that promotes innovation and the consumer interest."

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Northern Ireland Water ready to take the plunge with HR and finance software, prepares to flush Oracle R12.2

Utility biz has £28m to spend on replacement system

Utility provider Northern Ireland Water (NIW) has set aside £28m to replace its current Oracle E-business Suite with a new HR and finance system.

According to recently released tender documents, the business is looking for a tech outfit to "supply, implement and support a suite of new core corporate systems for its finance, commercial, inventory, human resources (HR), payroll and learning and development (L&D) needs."

The Prior Information Notice, designed for early market engagement before the competition officially starts, said the need for new enterprise software arises because of "the approaching expiration of the licencing and support contracts for its current core corporate systems."

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If your apps or gadgets break down on Sunday, this may be why: Gpsd bug to roll back clocks to 2002

Alternative headline: Yet another widely used project maintained thanklessly by 'some random person in Nebraska'

Come Sunday, October 24, 2021, those using applications that rely on gpsd for handling time data may find that they're living 1,024 weeks – 19.6 years – in the past.

A bug in gpsd that rolls clocks back to March, 2002, is set to strike this coming weekend.

The programming blunder was identified on July 24, 2021, and the errant code commit, written two years ago, has since been fixed. Now it's just a matter of making sure that every application and device deploying gpsd has applied the patch.

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Share your experience: How does your organization introduce new systems?

The answer is rarely obvious. Take part in our short poll and we'll find out together

Reg Reader Survey The introduction of new systems into an organization is essential. If we stay still, if we continue to rely on legacy systems, if we fail to innovate – well, we (or, in reality, the company) will die. As business guru Sir John Harvey-Jones once put it: “If you are doing things the same way as two years ago, you are almost certainly doing them wrong.”

But who should lead innovation in our companies? Who should be introducing new systems? The answer is not obvious.

On one hand, the introduction of new systems into the business should be led by the business. In principle, the people doing the work, dealing with the suppliers, selling to the customers, are best placed to be standing up and saying: “We need the system to do X,” whether their motivation be to reduce cost, increase revenues, make products more efficiently, or even bolster our environmental credentials.

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These Rapoo webcams won't blow your mind, but they also won't break the bank

And they're almost certainly better than a laptop jowel-cam

Review It has been a long 20 months since Lockdown 1.0, and despite the best efforts of Google and Zoom et al to filter out the worst effects of built-in laptop webcams, a replacement might be in order for the long haul ahead.

With this in mind, El Reg's intrepid reviews desk looked at a pair of inexpensive Rapoo webcams in search for an alternative to the horror of our Dell XPS nose-cam.

Rapoo sent us its higher-end XW2K, a 2K 30fps device and, at the other end of the scale, the 720p XW170. Neither will break the bank, coming in at around £40 and £25 respectively from online retailers, but do include some handy features, such as autofocus and a noise cancelling microphone.

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It's one thing to have the world in your hands – what are you going to do with it?

Google won the patent battle against ART+COM, but we were left with little more than a toy

Column I used to think technology could change the world. Google's vision is different: it just wants you to sort of play with the world. That's fun, but it's not as powerful as it could be.

Despite the fact that it often gives me a stomach-churning sense of motion sickness, I've been spending quite a bit of time lately fully immersed in Google Earth VR. Pop down inside a major city centre – Sydney, San Francisco or London – and the intense data-gathering work performed by Google's global fleet of scanning vehicles shows up in eye-popping detail.

Buildings are rendered photorealistically, using the mathematics of photogrammetry to extrude three-dimensional solids from multiple two-dimensional images. Trees resolve across successive passes from childlike lollipops into complex textured forms. Yet what should feel absolutely real seems exactly the opposite – leaving me cold, as though I've stumbled onto a global-scale miniature train set, built by someone with too much time on their hands. What good is it, really?

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Why Cloud First should not have to mean Cloud Everywhere

HPE urges 'consciously hybrid' strategy for UK public sector

Sponsored In 2013, the UK government heralded Cloud First, a ground-breaking strategy to drive cloud adoption across the public sector. Eight years on, and much of UK public sector IT still runs on-premises - and all too often - on obsolete technologies.

Today the government‘s message boils down to “cloud first, if you can” - perhaps in recognition that modernising complex legacy systems is hard. But in the private sector today, enterprises are typically mixing and matching cloud and on-premises infrastructure, according to the best business fit for their needs.

The UK government should also adopt a “consciously hybrid” approach, according to HPE, The global technology company is calling for the entire IT industry to step up so that the public sector can modernise where needed and keep up with innovation: “We’re calling for a collective IT industry response to the problem,” says Russell MacDonald, HPE strategic advisor to the public sector.

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