YEAR IN REVIEW: January 2010

The year kicked off with a campaign by advocates of open source database MySQL to keep the software open. More than 14,000 signed a petition asking the European Union to block the sale of MySQL owner Sun Microsystems Inc. to notoriously proprietary Oracle Corp. if the latter didn’t agree to spin off MySQL as another company or release past and future editions under a general public licence.
Meanwhile, others fretted that Oracle would throttle the development of the Java operating system, also owned by Sun.
Toronto District School Board teachers launched an online petition of their own in an effort to reverse a board decision to stop introducing Apple Inc.’s Macintosh computers to Toronto classrooms for general use. TDSB general manager of IT Lee Stem argued that the move to Web –based applications was making hardware and operating systems less relevant, but trustee Michael Coteau argued the board could better spend its energy working with Apple on getting more affordable machines into students’ hands.
Though three other tech-related bills died on the order table with prime minister Stephen Harper’s proroguement of Parliament in late 2009, it was the anti-spam and anti-malware legislation that Internet service providers mourned most.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Advance Technology Alliance called for the appointment of a cyber-security czar, mirroring the approach of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Attacks on Google Inc. and Adobe Systems Inc. raised the spectre of widespread corporate espionage rooted in China, and led the search engine giant to a showdown with the Chinese government.
In the One-Time-Canadian-Tech-Giants-That-Have-Fallen-From-Grace Department, January marked the anniversary of Nortel Networks Corp.’s bankruptcy and yet another round oflayoffs at one-time Microsoft Office challenger Corel Corp.
Speaking of Microsoft challengers, Redmond was going to court to ask for a rehearing in a patent case that awarded Toronto-based i4i Inc. $290 million  in damages and an injunction against the use of custom XML technology in Microsoft’s Office suite after a Texas jury found the company wilfully infringed i4i’s patents.
And rumours began circulating of a mysterious device to be released by Apple  sometime in March. It was not yet being described as “magical.”

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