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01.22.09

When Mono Helps Microsoft Windows and Excludes GNU/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 8:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Every line of code that is written to our standards is a small victory; every line of code that is written to any other standard, is a small defeat. Total victory [...] is the universal adoption of our standards by developers, as this is an important step towards total victory for Microsoft itself: “A computer on every desk and in every home, running Microsoft software.””

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

YOU WANT MONO? You got Mono! But forget about GNU/Linux.

Why does Miguel de Icaza brag about a product that supports only non-Free platforms and specifically — despite its high share — excludes GNU/Linux? He writes: “Unity uses the Mono runtime on both Windows and MacOS and it might become one of the largest deployment vehicles for the Mono VM.”

This is not a victory. It’s the labour of Free software developers being deflected and used only to support Microsoft's patents-encumbered framework and platform. How does it feel to be taken for a fool?

Mono, ECMA, Microsoft

Microsoft Cuts Contractors Spendings by Almost 15%

Posted in Microsoft at 5:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Layoff figures only half the picture

MOST people have already heard about Microsoft's layoffs, but there are related aspects that Microsoft is pretty much concealing, such as those who are on contract (c.f. Abramoff visas fiasco).

Beneath or between the lines, people can find that up to 15% of the contractors (or vendors) might be cut, so the headcount mentioned in the headlines does not tell the full story.

The software maker is trimming costs for travel, freezing wages, scaling back a massive expansion to its Redmond campus and looking to cut what it spends on contractors and vendors by up to 15 percent.

It’s interesting and worth noting that a high executive from Microsoft denied layoffs (in the on-line media) about 2 months ago. He seems to have lied and it’s worth bearing in mind now that Microsoft denies investing in a lawsuit against IBM. In general, Microsoft makes it very hard to trust what it tells the public.

“…Microsoft wished to promote SCO and its pending lawsuit against IBM and the Linux operating system. But Microsoft did not want to be seen as attacking IBM or Linux.”

Larry Goldfarb, Baystar, key investor in SCO

Microsoft Antitrust: “The Linux Threat on the Desktop” (2006) and Predatory Response

Posted in Antitrust, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Windows at 11:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft “Taskforce” lobbied Wal-Mart/Microtell to drop GNU/Linux

Large store
The real story about Microsoft’s fight against
GNU/Linux at high-street shops

Wal-Mart’s proximity to Microsoft — and by association to Novell — is something that Shane and I discussed before, but today’s antitrust evidence comes from 2006 and it reflects on things that were happening behind the scenes when the press was totally unaware. This exhibit is about what Microsoft called “the Linux threat on the desktop.” From Exhibit px09617 [PDF] which comes from Microsoft:

Microtel PCs without an operating system (“naked”) first started appearing on Walmart.com in CY 01. We responded by working with Walmart.com on the language that was used to market those PCs. The focus was on “anti-piracy” messages.

The first Microtel Lindows PCs appeared on Walmart.com in June 2002. We are responding with a taskforce and coordinated efforts to understand the situation and intentions of all parties involved.

[...]

There is one critical data point we are missing: volume. Walmart will not disclose the volume of Microtel PCs they are selling, and Microtell has told us they are under a “non-disclosure agreement with Walmart.” We have been working on some tactics so attempt to obtain volume estimates, but at this time, we can’t confirm any numbers.

[...]

The PR activity and focus from Walmart has definitely increased out efforts to understand the Linux threat on the desktop. Several Linux PCs were purchased and evaluated. See the summary of those findings below.

This exhibit, as text, can be seen in full at the bottom. It’s not too laborious to read entirely, but let’s go through some portions of interest.

The “Confidential [Internal] Memo” lists “Walmart/Linux Taskforce” as Robin Bradshaw, Christine Briggs, Mark Croft, David Hoffman, and Tom Perrier. To understand what this “Walmart/Linux Taskforce” actually is, one should look at the part where it says: “The first Microtel Lindows PCs appeared on Walmart.com in June 2002. We are responding with a taskforce and coordinated efforts to understand the situation and intentions of all parties involved.” In other words, the “task” is to suffocate or destroy GNU/Linux.

“Is that retaliation at play? Let’s remember that those who don’t choose Microsoft have the Microsoft executives yell “cut those fuckers off” and then sue them for something. ”Microsoft also writes: “We understand that there has not been a customer satisfaction issue. Walmart sets fairly strict standards for customer return rates and service calls.” They were also shipping about $200,000 per week, which must have made them happy with GNU/Linux desktops.

Then Microsoft turns to the dealer at another level: “All of the conversations with Microtel are centered on growing their Microsoft business, and improving the relationship between Microtel and Microsoft. We avoid any direct conversations on Lindows.”

Now, pay attention to this part: “Luke is concerned that Microsoft is mad at them for selling Linux PCs.” Is that retaliation at play? Let’s remember that those who don’t choose Microsoft have the Microsoft executives yell “cut those fuckers off” and then sue them for something. On at least 3 separate exhibits that we’ve found in Comes, the company referred to competition as "Jihad". Even Bill Gates uses this word.

For Wal-Mart, this GNU/Linux project was really successful. Microsoft remarks: “Their goal with Lindows was to hit a very low price point – if it sold, they would keep it, if it didn’t they would dump it after 90-120 days. It’s selling.” In fact, it was also selling later on when Walmart began offering gOS PCs (2007), but we lack evidence to show if Microsoft was involved. It did look highly suspicious at the time.

Microsoft also writes: “”Naked PCs” (no O/S) are still outselling Linux PCs (but not by much)…”

Let us remember that Microsoft said it was "scared" of GNU/Linux. It called it a “huge threat”.

Having circulated this for some feedback, we gathered some responses, such as: “Clear evidence that Microsoft hosts meetings on their retail clients and how to undermine them and their competitors by illegally addressing their sales instead of competing with them through better price and products.

“This is habit of drugs induced paranoia driven marketing plops that look closely at money and play blind with regulator and fair trade.

“The retail clients should have nothing to fear.”

Another person remarks: “In regards to ‘triple-dipping’, it really amazes me how none of the major OEMs or content providers have pup to the bat to provide a total stack, e.g. making money from the hosting , the content and then from the consumers – a license to print money …”

A longer response comes from Rex Ballard, who writes:

“Microsoft has tried a number of tactics against the “No OS” or “Linux on PC” machines.

“These include:

  • Filing trademark infringement lawsuits against Lindows (FUD to slow sales).
  • Sponsoring the SCO lawsuit against IBM, claiming copyright infringements (FUD to slow sales).
  • Claiming that Linux violates Microsoft copyrights and patents, yet refusing to identify the infringing code so it could be replaced. (More FUD)
  • Threatening Retailers – telling them they can’t turn on Windows PCs while Linux PCs are on.
  • Vapor-Ware – XP, Longhorn, Vista. – for almost 25 years. (Latest being Windows 7).
  • Attempt to gain control of advertising revenue by going against Google.
  • Attempt to limit coverage – by getting placement control of OEM advertizing as well as their own $4 billion budget – possibly a total of $40 billion in “leverage”.
  • Filing Piracy lawsuits against Retailers who offer Linux instead of Windows.
  • OEM contracts force OEM to exclude Linux.

“EULA of Vista Home editions originally did not permit Vista to be used in virtualized environment. EULA of XP and Vista require that even Linux clients accessing the Windows desktop remotely have an XP or Vista License.

“All of these issues have been raised by the “California Group” monitoring the settlement compliance, but the DOJ has dismissed all complaints (over 4,000 so far) as being “Without Merit”. This ties the Judge’s hands. She can’t impose sanctions without a request from the DOJ. Judge Kollar-Kotelly has openly stated in court that she is disappointed by the lack of compliance, AND the DOJs unwillingness to seriously investigate complaints and violations of the settlement. The Judge is powerless to enforce her own Judgement.

“Even with ASUS and Acer, once the sub-notebooks were released into the market, Microsoft strong-armed them into offering the same machines with Windows XP home edition. Could it be that they threatened to revoke Vista/XP licenses on full-sized PCs and Notebooks? What pressure was used? Investigation is warranted.

“There are about 9000 exhibits on this site, which show that Microsoft not only engaged in criminal activity to obtain their monopoly, but also showed that Microsoft continued to engage in criminal activity to protect that monopoly even AFTER the DOJ settlement, a direct defiance of the Appeals Court Ruling.”

Linspire may be defunct now, but given the evidence, can’t Michael Robertson sue Microsoft instead of suing Kevin Carmony?

For those who wonder, this was not an isolated incident where a “taskforce” is assigned to fight GNU/Linux adoption (Microsoft calls it “Linux infestation”) . The memo ends with: “Develop a deeper understanding of the Linux efforts at other System Builders and OEMs in the US. (Datel, ZT Group, MEI etc) (Tom Perrier & Ken Goetsch).”


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit px09617, as text


Read the rest of this entry »

Con Artists in the Press

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Windows at 11:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ABOUT one year ago, Rea Maor wrote an excellent post stating that people who don’t use GNU/Linux shouldn’t write about it. Carla has just published a spot-on essay on exactly the same topic and she’s not shy to drop some names in. We strongly recommend reading it.

My current favorite horrid example is Dana Blankenhorn’s famous “someone please send a Linux laptop” column [Dana Blankenhorn runs ZDNet's "Linux and open source blog" and he hardly ever uses open source, let alone Linux], written in July 2008:

“I have written about, and been written to about, Linux laptops for some time. Now is a good time to take the plunge. So I am asking for a review unit. ”

How can one craft any sort of response other than WTF??! But let us not be hasty. The Internet is already full of hasty, kneejerk flamers and uninformed pontificators, and we do not want to be like them. Perhaps there is more to this story, so let us make use of the very secret weapon that nobody in tech journalism knows about: Google. I’ve been reading Mr. Blankenhorn’s column for some years, and between my cluttered old memory and Google I do not find any indication that he had ever actually touched a Linux PC until September 2008:

“My first Linux laptop is the ASUS EeePC.”

Be still my heart.

Preston Gralla, famous Windows author, wrote a good article about his first serious Linux experience Living free with Linux: 2 weeks without Windows. But again, WTF??! Another technology writer who has been writing about Linux for years without knowing anything about it:

“Now, I recognize that a few hours of using desktop Linux isn’t a true test drive. But if you want someone to throw over their habits of a more than a dozen years, you’ve got to wow them right away. And Linux didn’t do that for me.”

Like, heavy, man. This doesn’t even rise to piffle– it’s piffle lite.

We also strongly encourage everyone to watch out for sources of disinformation — marketing and bias disguised as “trade journals”. Preston Gralla from IDG [1, 2] is just one example. As for ZDNet, we covered this problem many times in the past. They have many Microsoft bloggers on staff (even Microsoft employees), yet none who is pro-GNU/Linux and Free software. Novell employees don’t count as such. Microsoft has relationships with ZDNet and it also sends employees to comment there anonymously.

This is known as editorial control by selection or self censorship. In some cases, Microsoft tries getting reporters fired. There is always room for improvement [1, 2].

“Ideally, use of the competing technology becomes associated with mental deficiency, as in, “he believes in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and OS/2.” Just keep rubbing it in, via the press, analysts, newsgroups, whatever. Make the complete failure of the competition’s technology part of the mythology of the computer industry. We want to place selection pressure on those companies and individuals that show a genetic weakness for competitors’ technologies, to make the industry increasingly resistant to such unhealthy strains, over time.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Links 22/01/2009: HyperSpace-SplashTop Intersection, Obama Seeks Open Source

Posted in News Roundup at 6:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

GNU/Linux

  • Phoenix Strikes HyperSpace Deal With ASUS

    ASUS was the first company to ship SplashTop, an embedded instant-on Linux environment, on any of its products. They began by offering SplashTop on select ASUS motherboards, then it turned into ASUS notebooks, and then to many more ASUS products. However, Phoenix Technologies has now wooed ASUS into shipping HyperSpace on their notebooks.

  • Asus Will Add Phoenix HyperSpace Shell to Notebooks

    Asus plans to incorporate the Phoenix Technologies HyperSpace pre-boot environment into its next-generation notebooks, the company said Tuesday.

    Asus did not specify which notebooks will receive the HyperSpace treatment; the company also did not indicate whether its netbooks, some of which already use a quick-booting Linux environment, would also receive HyperSpace.

  • LCA2009: Collaborating across distributions

    Krafft devoted a session at Australia’s national Linux conference in Hobart today to presenting details about the concept; his talk was titled “Cross-distro collaboration: packaging with modern version control systems.”

  • LCA2009: Building trust through the abundance mindset

    Systems administrator, author and activist Tom Limoncelli kicked off Australia’s 10th national Linux conference proper in Hobart this morning with the first keynote.

    Limoncelli spoke about the two mindsets that prevail in the IT community – that of scarcity and abundance – and how focusing on the latter could free up energy for creative ways of dealing with the problems that IT people face at work, in their communities and in life as well.

  • Shuttle Linux Minis to Come with VIA

    Taiwan-based hardware manufacturer Shuttle has released a series of mini-desktops running Linux. The next generation will have power-efficient VIA Nano processors.

  • Step-By-Step: Moving Your Server To Linux

    Many of the steps to an Ubuntu Linux server setup are either trivial (e.g., selecting a language) or similar to the desktop installation process (e.g., choosing a time zone or providing information to set up a default user account). Others, however, are very different from the Ubuntu desktop setup process, and some require your careful attention.

  • Enigma ported to Linux

    Inspired by the wonderful Enigma desktop by Kaelri, featured at Lifehacker, I decided to port at least some of the beautiful design to my Linux desktop.

  • French Lawmakers Hope to Inspire Linux Revolution

    If the French National Assembly gets its way, the open-source Linux operating system will take over the governments of Europe, seizing on a weak economy to displace Windows.

    About 18 months ago, the Assembly shifted from running Windows on the 1,100 computers of its members and their assistants to running a version of Linux called Ubuntu. (I profiled the rise of Ubuntu in a recent article.) According to Rudy Salles, vice president of the assembly, the decision to abandon Microsoft’s Windows software was both an economic and political gesture.

    The French Parliament should save about 500,000 euros over the next five years, thanks to the low price of Ubuntu –- free –- and have lower management costs. Linux tends to have fewer security issues than Windows, for example.

  • Liberation fonts for Linux

    I was reminded yesterday that just because I know something, doesn’t mean that everyone knows it. This time it was some friends who really didn’t like their current fonts in Ubuntu and OpenSolaris respectively. So, I suggested that they try Red Hat’s open-source Liberation fonts. To my surprise, it turns out they didn’t know about them.

    [...]

    Most, but not all, Linux distributions now come with Liberation fonts. To see if you already have them, just use your usual package manager, such as OpenSUSE’s YaST; Debian/Ubuntu’s Synaptic; or Fedora’s PackageKit manager, to see if they’re installed. If they’re not, just grab them and let the package manager install them for you.

  • Another reason to use Linux: Maximum burning speed!

    So in short, burning CD’s and DVD’s is faster, more stable, and better quality in Linux.

  • Migration from Microsoft to Linux – O, the Joy

    So I finally made the plunge. I’ve long wanted to be part of that geeky elite who broke from the crowd, stepped aside from their fellow computer lemmings and took a different plunge – not off the cliff, but into an alien and poorly understood (by the masses) computer operating system – Unix.

  • Kernel Space

    • LCA2009: That mysterious thing called the kernel

      Corbet pointed out that maintaining code outside the mainline kernel was expensive; if code made it to this kernel, the one that is handled by Torvalds, then the chances of it being in every distribution were very good.

    • Nouveau Companion 42

      The 42nd edition of the Nouveau Companion is now available to provide an update on the status of this community project to provide an open-source 2D/3D driver for all of NVIDIA’s graphics hardware. Covered in this developer update is the status of the Nouveau driver on newer NVIDIA hardware, work underway on NV20 Gallium3D code, the LLVM back-end for Gallium3D progressing, the work that’s left on kernel mode-setting support, and the GEM / TTM memory management work. The lack of a stabilized memory manager for the Nouveau kernel mode-setting driver is what’s postponing a stable 2D driver release.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Call to authors

      For the last couple months I’ve been quietly working on a publishing deal for KDE books. I now have a contract in hand and we’re making our way to Making It Happen. The number of books under this deal would be significant: 3 250 pagers, 15 100 pagers. That’s a lot of writing.

  • Distributions

    • Granular 1.0 Released

      After a long wait, Granular 1.0 is finally out. And we are pretty much excited about this release because this is the first stable Granular release since about a year, and because it’s version 1, of course. This final release of Granular 1.0 brings with it solid stability, out-of-the-box usefulness, great multimedia experience, support for running Windows software, and all of this & much more in the size of a CD (livecd).

    • Back to Gentoo

      Gentoo is a bit of work, but it’s worth it, in particular if you want to learn about how your system works. I recommend it.

    • GNUmed Live CD 0.3.9 released

      A new GNUmed live CD is out. With the help of this CD one can test drive GNUmed without altering the currently running environment such as operating system. No installation necessary.

    • Red Hat

      • LCA2009: Going the Satellite route with Red Hat

        The company in question is Red Hat; its revenue went up 22 percent in the third US quarter, with earnings going up by 20 percent. Those are certainly figures that no-one would sneeze at.

        Hence, it was to be expected that Richard Keech, who works for Red Hat locally as principal consultant, would be wearing a grin on his face when I met him to discuss the talk he gave at the Australian national Linux conference in Hobart.

    • Ubuntu

      • Interview with Daniel Holbach, Ubuntu Community Developer

        In the proceedings of the Ubuntu Developer Summit for Ubuntu 9.04, held at Mountain View’s Googleplex in December, I read that “every Debian Contributor is an Ubuntu Contributor”. Actually, the relationship between Debian and Ubuntu showed good moments but some critical situations too, especially around the problem of Ubuntu Developer not sending their patches back to Debian. Do you believe that Debian and Ubuntu will always remain kind of half brothers, or do you see a closer future for them?

        We improved the situation a lot. Lots of patches are sent to Debian every week and we have lots of teams that are actively working together and coordinating development together. Actually we have a bunch of MOTUs who decided to go all the way to become Debian developers too. Of course this is not the route for everyone, but it’s great that we are having a greater overlap between both distros.

        I don’t think we’re at a point yet where “everything’s perfect”, but I feel we’re getting closer and closer.

      • Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 3: New Notifications and Ext4

        Canonical has released its third alpha version of Ubuntu 9.04. It brings a few new features to test, including notification settings in the user interface and the much publicized ext4 filesystem support.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Giant battery comes with rugged PDA

      Rugged handheld specialist AML has unveiled a Linux and Windows CE-ready PDA targeting retail and hospitality applications, entertainment venues, and trade show events. Boasting a far larger battery than most laptops, the AML M8050 has a built-in MSR (magnetic stripe reader), WiFi, and barcode scanner.

    • “Green” netbook boasts five-hour battery life

      CherryPal announced an Atom-based “Bing” netbook that runs Linux or Windows XP, and offers a claimed five hours of battery life. The company also announced an upgraded version of its Linux-based nettop, the CherryPal C114, and launched a “Green Maraschino” open-source Linux distribution supporting the Bing.

    • Linux MID sports 3G WLAN radios

      Korean manufacturer Yukyung unveiled a large mobile Internet device (MID) equipped with an Intel Atom Silverthorne Z520 running Linux at 1.33GHz. The Viliv X70 Communications MID is equipped with a 7-inch, 1024×600 touchscreen, GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi, WiMAX, HDSPA, and even a hard drive.

    • Linux Recording With the MobilePre

      Linux is well-suited to be a powerhouse audio engineering platform. It offers advanced, reliable memory management, task scheduling, stability, and its endless hackability makes it customizable for all occasions. It’s certainly a superior platform to Windows: while there is a much larger selection of software and hardware available for Windows, it’s not exactly a feast of riches, but more like a feast of meh. For audio hardware that requires drivers, they are often not very good quality and do not get updated like they should. Vendors are still slow to release Vista drivers, and Vista is such a system resource hog it’s impractical to use for audio recording and editing. There is still Windows XP, and while it is frugal of system resources, the downfalls of using Windows are well-known.

    • Phones

      • Android “G2″ emerges, as G1 preps for Europe

        Images have surfaced of a keyboard-less “G2″ Android phone reportedly being readied by HTC. Meanwhile, T-Mobile announced a G1 rollout in Europe, Kogan’s Android-based Agora smartphone has been postponed, and Android is gaining a “Cupcake” update and key retrieval system, while losing a core developer.

      • ISV announces Palm Linux ports

        Brazilian independent software vendor (ISV) Handcase says it is porting about 100 of its PalmOS applications to the Linux-based WebOS platform set to debut in Palm’s forthcoming Pre smartphone. Handcase is also translating some 323 of its PalmOS apps from Portuguese to English, it says.

F/OSS

  • Open source developers ride the cloud

    The survey of more than 360 open source developers conducted in November 2008 also found that 52 percent use Linux in a virtualized environment and that MySQL remains the open source database of choice, with more than half of developers using it in some of their projects.

  • Tridgell to teach FOSS course at ANU

    Tridgell said he and Bob Edwards would be teaching a free and open source software development course at the ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science.

  • How to promote activism over Internet

    As part of my campaign for social change, I have slowly been getting involved in different types of activism in the recent past, Free Software being one of them.

  • Eclipse goal to become ‘management-aware’ in 2009

    Developers might get the picture, but Eclipse reckons it had better ramp up awareness its products among senior management as it moves beyond tools in 2009.

    Eclipse Foundation marketing director Ian Skerrett has blogged it’s important to help senior business and technology executives to understand the Foundation as it moves into runtimes.

  • Apache Lucene to get Lucid

    InternetNews.com has learned that Lucid Imagination, a new venture to provide commercial support and services for the open source Apache Lucene text search engine is ramping up with an official launch on January 26, 2009.

  • Business Cases

    • Firm finds gain after open-source shift pain

      It’s nice to read what open-source vendors think of open source: it’s easy, cheap, and quite possibly the cure for cancer. (That last one is my personal hope.)

      However, it’s much more useful to get real customer feedback on open source. That’s what makes Mercian Labels’ shift to open source–with all the benefits and negatives that come with such a move–so intriguing. It’s especially useful data, since the company meticulously tracked the highs and lows of its shift to open source on its blog, as its managing director, Adrian Steele, told me over e-mail.

    • Linux can save your business.

      So just by using Linux you are free of the pressure of auditors and software giants breathing down your neck.

    • The Case for Open Source Development, a Personal Case Study

      A couple of days ago I happened to meet my old friend Idel Fuschini on the street, and we have been talking about things happened ten years ago or longer when working in the mobile VAS sector, when WAP was still to come.

    • Nokia using Drupal
  • Government

    • Google Docs vs. Microsoft Office

      Microsoft Office is the office suite of choice for millions of users; Google Docs is a web-based office suite that offers superior sharing and collaboration options. Should you switch from Microsoft Office to Google Docs? In this article, Cloud Computing author Michael Miller presents the pros and cons of both suites[md]and helps you decide whether it’s time to jump into the world of web-based applications.

    • Gmail Fills the Bill for Obama Staff

      E-mail is near and dear to Barack Obama (thus his reliance on his Blackberry). But when Obama’s incoming staff members first enter the White House on Inauguration Day, they won’t yet have access to the traditional White House e-mail system. According to The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney, being out of the loop for even a few hours is just not acceptable for the tech-savvy Obama crowd. So the administration has turned to Google. No, it didn’t tap Google’s Eric Schmidt to fix the problem. Instead, it issued its staffers Google Gmail accounts to bridge the gap.

    • Calls for open source government

      The secret to a more secure and cost effective government is through open source technologies and products.

      The claim comes from one of Silicon Valley’s most respected business leaders Scott McNealy, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems.

      He revealed he has been asked to prepare a paper on the subject for the new administration.

    • SA govt officials meet to thrash out OSS progress

      The South African State IT Agency’s (SITA) Free and Open Source Software Programme Office (FPO) will host the second annual chief information officers (CIO) workshop on February 24.

      The one-day workshop will bring together all government IT decision makers to share ideas and experiences regarding FOSS implementation in government.

  • Development

    • The cross-platform option: Developing Web applications for smart phones

      A second major advantage is the popularity of WebKit, an open-source library that renders HTML on the page. The iPhone and Google Android both use WebKit directly, and now Torch Mobile is making a WebKit-based browser for Windows Mobile. Eliminating the incompatibilities among mobile browsers makes it a bit easier to develop cross-platform tools. Android may run Java and the iPhone may be built on Objective C, but the same application can reach both via WebKit.

    • Open-sourcers get with the git

      There was a time when the Linux community used BitKeeper as its source code control system, after switching from the open-source CVS. But then Samba developer Andrew Tridgell figured out you could telnet to a BitKeeper server, type “HELP,” and get a list of commands. Upon hearing of Tridgell’s daring hack, BitMover – the company that maintains BitKeeper – got all license-revokey on the community, changing the terms of the agreement and demanding that Linux developers start paying for its software.

    • DVCS Round-Up: One System to Rule Them All?–Part 1

      In 2002, Linus Torvalds caved in to the pressure from the community to finally adopt some sort of source control mechanism for the Linux kernel. Since the existing alternatives (namely CVS and SVN) did not fit his requirements, Torvalds finally settled on a closed source solution: BitKeeper by BitMover Inc. This decision was controversial at best, and many argued that BitKeeper’s advantages were not worth the risk of becoming dependent on a piece of closed source software. Notable criticism came from GNU founder Richard Stallman, arguing that especially a flagship project like Linux should avoid using proprietary tools. However, Torvalds did not give in, essentially asserting that he would use either BitKeeper or no source control at all.

  • Audio

  • Applications

    • Open Source E-Commerce: Twelve Promising Programs

      Small business owners, rejoice! Last year while the Big Three — osCommerce, Zen Cart, & CRE Loaded — open source commerce teams made mega-blunders or didn’t do anything noteworthy, dozens of smaller teams were hard at work taking advantage. The difference between open source and proprietary became almost indistinguishable except to developers, with some open source programs now selling for more money than proprietary programs.

    • Open source trading platform could be a win for Wall Street

      Linux and open source software are a key component in the underlying infrastructure of the finance industry, but the higher layers of the stack are still dominated by a multitude of proprietary, in-house solutions. A software startup called Marketcetera aims to change that with a new, open source platform for building automated trading systems.

    • Rush Hour: Newest GNU Restricted User Shell

      The latest stable release of the GNU Restricted User Shell (Rush), version 1.5, includes new configuration offerings and a notification feature.

    • Firefox

Internet

  • FCC Again Wants Details From Comcast On Its Traffic-Shaping Efforts

    Comcast has already been slapped down — well, slapped on the wrist, anyway — by the FCC for violating Commission rules with its traffic-shaping efforts, and it could be on its way for a second rebuke. The FCC has asked Comcast for some more details on its newest “congestion management” system, which throttles heavy users’ speeds for periods of time.

  • All Major Canadian ISPs Slow Down P2P Traffic

    Net neutrality really is the hot topic at the moment. After the FCC slapped Comcast for slowing down BitTorrent users, Canada is now looking into the network management practices of its ISPs. And rightly so, as a CRTC investigation reveals that most of the ISPs in Canada actively slow down customers using P2P applications.

  • Danish ISP Blocks The Pirate Bay; But Is It For Legal Reasons… Or Competitive?

    A year ago, recording industry lobbying group IFPI successfully convinced a Danish court to force ISP Tele2 to block The Pirate Bay. This came after a similar ruling that forced Tele2 to block access to AllofMp3 (which, you’ll recall was the big “threat” prior to The Pirate Bay). Of course, these blocks don’t work particularly well, and seem incredibly annoying for those content creators who actually want their content distributed through systems like The Pirate Bay.

  • Ding Dong, COPA Is Dead

    The federal government has been trying to pass a law to “protect the children” online for ages. First there was the CDA, the Communications Decency Act, which was struck down as unconstitutional. Then, there was COPA — the Child Online Protection Act. It tried to be more narrow… but was still a very questionable law, with rather vague wording. It bounced around the courts for years, including hitting the Supreme Court twice — which sent it back to lower courts both times. Last summer, the appeals court knocked it down again, and today the Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal… meaning that COPA is about as dead as can be. This is definitely a big win for free speech online.

Leftovers

  • EU data protection authority confirms privacy breach in “Telecoms Package”

    The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) released his opinion on the current state of the Telecoms Package. His views on the ePrivacy directive confirms La Quadrature’s analysis: If nothing is done, article 6.6 will allow any company to collect and process traffic data from any Internet user, for an undetermined period of time. This disposition is harmful and unacceptable. MEPs must react by strongly reaffirming citizens’ right to privacy and the interests of society as a whole during the second reading of the package.

  • China’s anti-censor software pimps user data

    As well as selling aggregate usage data, software developers were also offering to sell detailed surfing histories of individual surfers for a fee, something that poses an even greater privacy risk, according to an analysis by Hal Roberts from The Berkman Center for Internet Society at Harvard University.

  • Intel boss Otellini warns of first loss in 21 years

    INTEL’S CEO, Paul Otellini, has fessed up to the possibility the firm may report its first loss this quarter after 21 years of profitability.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Lawyer John Koenig on how people make money with Free Software 10 (2004)

Ogg Theora

Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

One Windows Worm, One Week, and Possibly 250,000,000+ New Windows Zombies

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Time for urgent “Change”

THIS IS A HUGELY important issue that we tracked a few days ago. We already knew that almost 1 in 2 Windows PCs had become zombie PCs, but it keeps getting worse. According to this report, as many as one in three Windows PCs may have been occupied by one single worm in a matter of just days! That’s how serious it is.

The computer worm responsible for the biggest attack in years has infected at least 1 out of every 16 PCs worldwide, a security company said Wednesday, and may have managed to compromise as many as nearly 1 in 3.

This may be the right time to contract law-makers or regulators and make a request for new laws to be applied to bad platforms that can leave people dead.

The victims of this latest storm are so many and the BBC says that even a UK-based Fire and Rescue service is downed by its use Windows, which came under virus attack.

Strathclyde Fire and Rescue has said its IT network has “come under attack from a computer virus”.

Once again, this is costing lives.

Vista and Vista 7, as we pointed out a few days ago, are not immune. It’s more of the same.

Windows worm trickery for Vista

The Conficker virus has opened a new can of worms for security experts.

Drives such as USB sticks infected with the virus trick users into installing the worm, according to researchers.

Microsoft would like naive reporters to propagate the perception that this could happen to anyone, but it was Microsoft itself that said: “Our products just aren’t engineered for security.” Well, now they find out?

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 21st, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 21st, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

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