Links 09/02/2009: Many Mobile Linux Wins, Another GNU/Linux-Only MID

Posted in News Roundup at 11:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • 7 Cool Things to Do With Linux

    So you’ve taken the plunge and installed Linux. You’ve followed all the HOWTOs all over the net. You’ve got your wireless card working flawlessly. You’ve got your video card working (and you’ve begun to loathe that spinning cube). You’ve installed all the “restricted” software like Adobe Flash, Sun Java and Google Earth. You’ve got all the patent restricted codecs and even DVD playback working just like you want. Now what? You want to know what you can do with Linux outside of the surfing, emailing, chatting and media consumption you normally do? Well, here are a few things to keep you busy.

  • Top 10 Responses to Why Should I Use Linux? – A Linux Evangelists’ Reference

    If you’re a Linux enthusiast like me, you’ve probably tried to convert a few people over to Linux from another operating system. Even though you succeed many times, there are always a few ‘geniuses’ out there who need some real persuading to switch over to Linux.

    So here are some quick and simple things about Linux you can point out to your potential convert.

    1. Linux helps you get rid of viruses, worms, and other computer infections.

    Although it is possible to get infected even with Linux (malware is mainly written for Windows), its system architecture, based on a server-client relationship makes it difficult for a virus to do any damage.

  • 21 More of the Best Free Linux Games

    Over the past 4 months we have continued to receive a steady stream of emails from individuals recommending games that were not included in our previous free game articles.

    After much testing, we have whittled down these users’ recommendations to a list of 21 highly addictive Linux games, covering as many different types of game genre as possible. Hopefully, there should be something of interest here for all types of gamers! All of these games are great fun to play.

  • Parcelforce website cold-shoulders Linux lovers

    Many have complained that Royal Mail’s Parcelforce.com site freezes out anyone using a Linux distro. One reader told us: “When you try and ship a parcel [on Parcelforce's website] it checks the browser user agent and refuses to proceed if you are running Linux.”

    We asked the firm whether it was aware of the issue and whether it was working to resolve the problem so that openistas could also order parcels online.

  • New Hat Selects DataDirect Networks to Power the Most Advanced Mac and Linux-Based Color Grading Workflow in Hollywood

    DataDirect Networks, Inc. (DDN), the data infrastructure provider for the most extreme, content-intensive environments in the world, today announced that New Hat, of Santa Monica, Calif., has selected the xSTREAM
    r™ SAN Solution, based on the S2A9900 Extreme Storage platform, to power its Apple® Macintosh® and Linux-based uncompressed 2K color grading post production workflow. New Hat was founded in 2008 by the legendary award-winning post production team of Bob Festa, Clark Muller and Darby Walker and represents the most technically advanced Mac and Linux-based color grading post environment in Hollywood.

  • Linux Guru Exchange

    My thought on this is simple: Create an evironment where those who would consider themselves of guru-level, could post themselves as available for those in need. A guru would then be taken by a new user and marked as “busy.” It’s a simple exchange. But here’s what has always been the catch – cost. The Linux guru idea has always been such that a guru helps a new user because, at one point, a guru helped them. It’s karmic payback, paying it forward – whatever you want to call it.

  • Compiz community shakeup could bring big improvements

    The Compiz project has announced plans for a major reorganization and a new roadmap for integrating major architectural changes.

  • What can Linux do for you?

    As the Linux name has been filtering down from the dizzying heights of geekdom to the general mind share. I am sure that many people have been wondering exactly what this Linux thing is and what can it do for them.

    This is a question that many have been asking and the answers are many and varied. Some answers are simple but unsatisfying like “What ever you want it to do” and some are confusing to those who are not of a technical bent.


    The easiest way to give Linux a go is with a Live CD. This in no way, shape or for will effect your exiting operating systems installation. Unless you wish to. It is just a simple matter of putting the CD in your computer and turning it on. You then have access to a complete Linux system running on your hardware from your CDROM drive. In this manner you can evaluate that Linux distribution and determine whether it is suitable for both your tastes and hardware.

  • AWN

    • AWN dock (and Extras) 0.3.2 released!

      Avant Window Navigator has released version 0.3.2 today. This includes the release of the core dock, “awn”, and all the applets and plugins, “awn-extras”. There was a combination of about 130 bug fixes and feature requests closed in this release, including a few entirely new applets! One of my favorite new applets, moderately pointless I admit, is the Animal Farm applet which displays a cute animal who gives you a fortune on a click, thereupon changing to a different random animal. Below is a shot of 10 of them running :)

    • Awn/Awn Extras 0.3.2 Released!
    • Awn Window Navigator

      I follow development of the awn window navigator closely ever since it was first announced on Launchpad.

  • Kernel Space

    • AMD Shanghai Opteron: Linux vs. OpenSolaris Benchmarks

      All tests on Ubuntu Linux and OpenSolaris were run through the Phoronix Test Suite. The tests we chose to run that were compatible with both Linux and OpenSolaris were LAME MP3 encoding, Ogg encoding, timed PHP compilation, 7-Zip compression, Gzip compression, GnuPG, OpenSSL, GraphicsMagick, BYTE Unix Benchmark, SQLite, Sunflow Rendering System, Bork File Encrypter, and Java SciMark.

    • Linus 2.6.29-rc4

      Another week (and a half), another -rc.

      Arch updates (sparc, blackfin), driver updates (dvb, mmc, ide), ACPI updates, FS updates (ubifs, btrfs), you name it. It’s all there.
      But more importantly, people really have been working on regressions, and hopefully this closes a nice set of the top one, and hopefully without introducing too many new ones.

    • The incredible shrinking operating system

      From the software concept called JeOS (pronounced “juice”), the Just Enough OS, to hardware concepts like Celio RedFly, an 8-inch screen and keyboard device running applications off a smartphone via a USB or a Bluetooth connection, there are an increasing number of indications that the center of gravity is shifting away from the traditional massive operating systems of the past.

    • Resilience® Announces New Linux-based CWR 8100 Series Purpose-Optimized Appliances for Websense Web Security v7

      Each solution is pre-loaded with Websense Web Security on a Linux-based Resilience-hardened OS, which includes Resilience’s automated provisioning functionality, 5-to-LiveSM.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Krita 2.0: a Host of New Features

      Boudewijn Rempt has summarised results of development for the next version of Krita, the painting and image editing application for KOffice. Krita 2.0 will contain a host of new features, some of which are unique in the free software world. Below Piotr introduces some of the new features which will be available in this release.

  • Distributions

    • Linux Monday: Pushing the envelope on old gear

      Old computers are less than a dime a dozen—-literally. I pick them up for free, either through a wonderful group called Freecycle or literally off the street. I live in a college town and at moving time, that old desktop from freshman year isn’t worth packing. So some local geek like me comes along and turns it into a Linux box. (I have yet to have achieve my dream of someone actually paying me to take one away.) Or, if it’s really old, I strip it for the usable parts.


      There’s a few specialty Linux distributions geared toward low-low end machines. Puppy Linux, for example, will run on a 166MHz processor and 128MB of memory. Damn Small Linux takes that even lower–a 486 processor and 8 MB of RAM. Given the lower specs, and the fact that I preferred the mild profanity name to the cutesy name, I started with DSL. The download was also damn small, a mere 50 meg. I though for a moment I’d lost my connection, but no, it was done.

    • Red Hat

      • IBM Uses Red Hat to Reduce Datacenter Carbon Footprint

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that Bank of New Zealand, a subsidiary of the National Australia Bank Group, has deployed Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 on IBM System z mainframes to solve environment, space and cost issues related to its datacenter. With Red Hat and IBM solutions, Bank of New Zealand has significantly reduced its hardware footprint, power consumption, heat and carbon emissions and costs, including an expected 20 percent cost reduction over the life of the platform.

    • Debian

      • Debian Project seeks Hardware Donations

        LinuxThe Debian project is looking for sponsors for two new official services: snapshot and data archives. Both services utilize large amounts of data and therefore require a capable machine with a large disk array that provides 10 TB of disk space to start, with the ability to be easily extended. We’d like interested sponsors to contact hardware-donations@debian.org.

      • What’s new with Lenny

        For those getting ready to make the switch and for those who just haven’t really looked in to it, I have decided to list some of the key changes, differences, and improvements between Lenny and Etch that can be found on the Debian Project wiki.

    • Mepis

      • Mepis 8 Replaces 7 – A Good Plan

        I wasn’t planning on making the switch quite yet, but it worked out just right, anyway. Simply Mepis (SM) has been my Linux distribution of choice for a long time now, and it’s getting closer to going gold all the time. The anticipation is growing in the Mepis community, but we can wait (I think).

      • SimplyMEPIS 8.0 RC3: Entering the “Waiting for Lenny” Phase

        MEPIS has distributed ISO files for RC3 of SimplyMEPIS 8.0. The files for 32 and 64 bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-CD_7.9.96-rc3_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-CD_7.9.96-rc3_64.iso.

    • Ubuntu

      • Set Up a Free Business Server With Ubuntu

        If your network lacks a file server, it’s missing a central hub for storage and backup. You could choose between several free and paid options, from Ubuntu Linux up to Windows Server. Here’s how to get started with the free approach. You’ll just have to scrounge up an old PC you probably have lying around already.

      • Does Ubuntu scare Microsoft?

        The job posting reveals Microsoft’s longstanding competitive concerns about open-source software. Although Google and Apple seem to have been Microsoft’s biggest competitive focus in recent years, Linux and other open-source programs are still there, of course, posing a threat to a wide range of Microsoft products. The Microsoft job posting reflects that broad competition.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Stephen King pens Kindle2 exclusive

      AMAZON IS EXPECTED TO ANNOUNCE the arrival of the new version of its Kindle electronic book reader today, and the Wall Street Journal is reporting that the internet trader has added a bit of clout to the launch by persuading pulp horror author Stephen King to write a new book which will (for the time being at least) be available exclusively on the Kindle 2.

    • Amazon unveils Kindle 2.0

      The worst kept secret in literary history has finally been officially confirmed by Amazon: the existence of its Kindle 2.

    • Amazon Raises an E-Book Specter
    • Embedded Computer Runs Linux, Development Tools, and Access Control

      US embedded hardware OEM KwikByte is shipping an embedded system designed for general purpose computing, access control applications, test stands, and inventory management. KwikByte demonstrated the system running open-source packages and a sample access control application within various environments.

    • New 16-Channel H.264 Embedded Linux Standalone DVR for Business Security Camera Systems

      We are proud to further expand our existing H.264 Standalone DVR product line with the addition of our DVR-26416S 16-Channel Embedded Linux H.264 Standalone DVR. This advanced remote viewable DVR is great for home or business camera installs.

    • Phones

      • Can the $99 iPhone beat off 40 new Androids?

        Are you an Android or an iPhone? Maybe you are undecided, which could be he best position to be in as it seems that the smartphone market is set to be spoilt for choice in 2009. It would appear that Apple is set to release no less than three new iPhones this year while the competing Android powered camp could be flooded with no less than 40 new handsets.

      • Telefonica, other telcos to launch Linux phones

        One of the largest mobile operators in the world, Telefonica (TEF.MC), joined wireless Linux foundation LiMo on Monday and committed with five other major operators to sell phones using its software this year.

        Vodafone (VOD.L), Orange (FTE.PA), Japan’s NTT DoCoMo (9437.T), Korea’s SK Telecom (017670.KS), and the top U.S. operator Verizon Wireless will also introduce phones using LiMo software in 2009, the operators said in a joint statement ahead of Mobile World Congress trade show next week in Barcelona.

        “With a host of operators pledging to deliver handsets in 2009, we expect LiMo to start making real tangible progress in 2010,” said Geoff Blaber, an analyst at research firm CCS Insight.

      • Six carriers promise LiMo phones in 2009

        Six major global operators today affirmed their expectation of shipping mobile phones based on the Linux Mobile Foundation’s (LiMo’s) flavor of Linux during 2009. LiMo, meanwhile, announced its second, more ambitious spec, five compliant royalty-free reference implementations, and two powerful new board members, global mobile operators Telefónica and SK Telecom.

      • BONDI gives mobile widgets a day in the sun

        The Open Mobile Terminal Alliance has launched version one of its Web-2.0-widget platform BONDI with a reference implementation, software developer’s kit and endorsements from Opera and the other Linux consortium.

        BONDI is a selection of extensions to ECMAScript (the scripting language formally, and informally, known as JavaScript) to give digitally-signed scripts access to phone functions, including location, contacts, camera and messaging functions – enabling a scripted application to integrate with the phone environment in just the way that iPhone WebApps failed to do.

      • LiMo Foundation Gets Ready for Next-generation Platform

        The next version of the Linux-based mobile platform LiMo is getting closer to launch and a number of operators are promising handsets during 2009, the LiMo Foundation announced Monday.

      • Linux Phones on Tap for 2009 from Verizon, Others

        Your next cheap phone might be a Linux phone – but you might never know it. The LiMo Foundation announced Monday that Verizon Wireless and other global carriers will be rolling out Linux-based phones in 2009, possibly including low-cost devices capable of running advanced Web apps.

      • LiMo To Ring In Low-Cost Linux Phones

        The LiMo Foundation, a loose federation of global carriers that includes industry heavyweights such as Verizon and Vodafone, said on Monday that several of its member companies plan to roll out low-cost Linux-based phones by the end of this year.

      • Global Mobile Operators Confirm Commitment to Widely Deploy LiMo Handsets

        LiMo Foundation(TM) today announced commitment from six major operator members to specify and deliver handsets using LiMo Platform(TM) implementations in 2009. The LiMo Platform represents the vision, inputs and best-in-breed contributions of major stakeholders from across the mobile industry, enabling operators worldwide to leverage a standard set of market-proven OS technologies across many devices while providing deeply customized experiences to their customers.

      • Movial to Demo Its Advanced User Interface With Accelerated Graphics in LiMo Booth at GSMA Mobile World Congress 2009

        Movial, the company that inspires rich, intuitive Internet experiences, today announced it will demo its Internet Experience Suite’s (Movial IXS) Advanced User Interface with the Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) OMAP(TM) 3 platform in LiMo’s booth at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (B135, Hall 8).

    • Sub-notebooks

      • FluxFlux-Se released

        FluxFlux-Se has been released today. FluxFlux is a PCLinuxOS Remaster & provides a fully configured and ready-to-use live system containing all typical programs for the average user.

      • First look at Moblin V2 Core Alpha

        There has been lots of fanfare around netbooks since this new market exploded onto the scene little more than a year ago. Starting with the ASUS Eee PC, other manufacturers soon followed suit to the point where most major computing brands now have a netbook of some description. This major growth has not been limited just to the hardware realm however, software too has come along for a slice of the pie. Last year saw many new distributions targeting these little machines, most being based off larger mainstream distributions. Intel, who helped boost this market with the release of their low-powered Atom processor, has also been busy in the software arena, sponsoring the Moblin project – a Linux-based platform aimed squarely at netbooks running its hardware.

      • UMID start taking pre-orders for MID M1.

        Since, they are mostly happy with Linux based MID since no concerns are related to doing a web surfing out there. ActiveX is only problem for Korean customers. Linux should good enough to operating over the M1 512MB plus SSD version.

      • HP’s Command-Line Performance

        A new, Linux-powered HP netbook is getting a lot of attention — not for what it includes but for what it doesn’t.

        The HP Mini 1000 Mi Series is a great-looking, reasonably priced netbook PC. It runs on a customized Linux operating system, billed as the company’s “Mobile Internet” platform. And if you check the fine print, you’ll notice that it is missing one very notable feature: a command line.

      • How do you beat free?

        Before I start rolling, I’d like to make it clear that I understand the difference between freeware and Free software. I’ve used Linux for eleven or so years and have been MS-free for basically all of it. Now, on with the show.


        That hundred dollars pays for the MS Windows license (maybe $30) and leaves you some profit — profit which you aren’t making on the hardware because the market’s so tight. Give up MS Windows, and you’ve given up that source of income.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Enterprise Interview: Anthony Gold, president, Open Solutions Alliance

    GM: You’ve said you want to take the OSA to the “next level” by addressing interoperability between proprietary and closed-source software. Could you please say exactly how you intend to achieve that in practical terms? For example, do you contemplate licensing deals with proprietary vendors, or is it a matter of working towards common standards? If the latter, would they be completely open?

    AG: Indeed, I’m looking very forward to taking OSA to the next level by extending the success we’ve had driving interoperability among open solutions to interoperability among the solutions customer demand, regardless of the nature of their licensing terms. And, these conversations are in the works.

    I don’t anticipate working on licensing deals. The OSA doesn’t represent any one commercial entity, so we would not enter into such deals as an organisation.

    Rather, I’m looking to work towards common interoperability practices and standards that allow solutions to easily be deployed together. If these efforts result in standards, I would expect them to be open so that they could benefit everyone in the industry; however, the conversations aren’t at that point yet.

  • New Approach to Open Source Application Deployment

    Open Source application deployment has come a long way. Currently, there is excellent way for Linux distributions to install and update its software. For example, both Fedora and Debian based distribution has RPM / DEB package management systems with its associated tools YUM / APT. This simplifies Open Source application deployment and update with easy to use tools.

    However, we would like to raise two issues for discussion:

    1. In order to create a RPM / DEB package, you will need to learn and understand how to build and maintain these package systems. You need to understand spec / control files; how scripts interact with packages. They are not hard to learn, but there is a learning curve.
    2. The current ways of asking users to specify parameters are not re-usable. A package maintainer can use script and command line to query user input, but that requires hard coding the questions inside the package. Debian has the debconf templating system, which provides a centralized location to store question templates, default values, and variables. This again require learning the debconf system – not difficult to do – but there is a learning curve.

  • Send comments opposing TLS-authz standard by February 11

    Last January, the Free Software Foundation issued an alert to efforts at the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) to sneak a patent-encumbered standard for “TLS authorization” through a back-door approval process that was referenced as “experimental” or “informational”. The many comments sent to IETF at that time alerted committee members to this attempt and successfully prevented the standard gaining approval.

  • Mozilla to Join EU Suit Against Microsoft

    The European Commission (EC) has granted Mozilla, the open-source collaboration behind the Firefox Web browser, the right to join its antitrust case against Microsoft, a spokesman said Monday.

    The Commission, Europe’s top antitrust authority, charged Microsoft last month with distorting competition in the market for Web browsers by bundling in its Internet Explorer (IE) browser with the Windows operating system.

  • Over 30 Must-Have Open Source Resources

    Periodically, we here at OStatic like to round up our ongoing collections of open source resources, tutorials, reviews and project walkthroughs. These educational tools are a central part of the goal here at the site. We regularly round up the best Firefox extensions, free online books on open source topics, free tools for web developers, resources for online video and audio, Linux tutorials, and much more. In this post, you’ll find more than 30 collections and resources. Hopefully, there is something right up your alley here, and the good news is that everything you’ll find is free.

  • XAware at the Heart of New Mexico’s Innovative Public Safety Information Sharing Program

    XAware, Inc., a leading provider of commercial open source data integration software, today announced its solution is a critical component in a public safety information sharing program operated by the State of New Mexico’s Justice Information Sharing Council (JISC) under the New Mexico Sentencing Commission. XAware’s data integration capabilities enable New Mexico to operate an innovative system for accessing and sharing information from criminal agencies in a way that is secure, efficient and cost-effective.

  • Open-source software suites pre-installed in local PCs

    In a bid to promote the wider use of open-source software in Thailand, the National Electronics and Computer Technology Centre (Nectec) has joined five local computer manufacturers to pre-install open-source software suites in personal computers.

    The five companies are SVOA, D Com, Synnex (Thailand), IT Bakery and Powell Computer.

    Nectec’s director Pansak Siriruchatapong said Nectec was developing and customising open-source software suites for the local-brand PC companies, including the operating system Ubuntu Linux and applications such as Open Office, Firefox Web browser and Thunderbird e-mail software.

  • Open source software for health investigated

    Open source software is creeping into health systems around the world, but is yet to seriously challenge incumbent proprietary software, according to experts.

    Otago University health informatics lecturer Muzaffar Malik says core open source medical software, such as clinical information system OpenVista, is being used in several countries.

  • Use open system in 2010—ex-poll chief

    Lagman said the Computer Science Department of the University of the Philippines Diliman had been tapped to develop the open source software for the proposed OES.

  • AccesStream Moves One Step Closer to a Version 1 General Availability Release

    AccesStream, a provider of open source enterprise identity access management and security solutions, is pleased to announce the beta 2 release of its identity access management solution to the open source community. The Beta 2 release is the second of three beta releases to culminate with the Version 1 general availability release at the beginning of April. The source code is available for immediate download and testing from AccesStream’s website. This open source initiative will allow developers worldwide to participate in the progress of the Accesstream project.

  • Bruce Perens: Combining GPL and Proprietary Software

    Linux is a natural for embedded systems. That’s why it’s popping up in more cell phones, often without the customer even realizing it’s there. But cell phone manufacturers, and the broader sector of embedded systems, must cope with the problem of how to combine the GPL Linux kernel, and software that isn’t Open Source. How does one do that legally?

  • Events

    • SCALE

      • Red Hat and the Fedora Project to Present at Southern California Linux Expo

        The rise of software patents continues to pose challenges for free and open source software (FOSS) developers, including the difficulties of clearing patents and the risk of patent litigation. In his presentation ? Patents and Open Source After Bilski,? Rob Tiller, vice president and assistant general counsel, IP for Red Hat, will explore the legal issues raised by patent law for FOSS developers and users. Tiller will provide an overview for non-lawyers on exclusionary patent rights and contrast those with the open collaboration culture of FOSS. He will also discuss the recent Bilski decision of the U.S. Federal Circuit, and how that decision might improve the current problem of software patents facing FOSS developers.

      • Preview: Three Trends At Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE)

        As the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE) prepares to kick-off February 20 in Los Angeles, The VAR Guy did some preliminary poking around. He wanted to see if there were any key trends worth nothing for open source solutions providers. The result? Take a look at these three anticipated trends and themes from SCALE.

    • FOSDEM

      • South Africa at Fosdem 2009

        Walter Leibbrandt and Friedel Wolff of South African localisation specialists Translate.org.za attended this weekend’s Fosdem 2009 conference in Belguim. They sent Tectonic their thoughts on the two-day European FOSS gathering:

        Day 1
        Fosdem 2009 started! We attended the beer event last night in the centre of Brussels and apparently the bill at midnight was already close to €10 000. We were tired after the flight, so we didn’t hang around until 03:00 like some people apparently did. Several people came to greet us and we also had a random question about what the country domain of Translate.org.za on our T-shirts was

      • FOSDEM – the hordes

        Hordes of unpaid volunteers. Bunches of open source professionals. Lots of freedom activists. You get what you pay for. So this is what you get at FOSDEM. For free.

  • Business

    • Do Top Hackers Have Too Much Money?

      Having money implies a certain amount of time has passed since you first got it, and time changes many things. As most people have found, no matter how wonderful a job can seem at first, in the initial flush of triumph and enthusiasm, after a while things begin to niggle. You may find the work mundane or repetitive, the office uncongenial, management lacking in comprehension, or that there are myriad other things that exasperate you.

    • Open source: It’s about capitalism, not freebies

      I’ve been saying for years that open source is about capitalism, not communism.

      I used to laugh when Microsoft ignorantly slandered open source as “anti-American” because the inverse was so clearly the case (PDF chapter from Open Sources 2.0).

      Now Forbes, hardly a bastion of communist thought, is running an article that profiles several prominent open-source capitalists, including Brian Behlendorf (Apache, CollabNet), John Roberts (SugarCRM), and Rod Johnson (SpringSource). It turns out that these entrepreneurs have found winning ways to turn open source into cash.

    • WSO2 Launches Carbon Modular Open-Source SOA Framework

      WSO2 announces the launch of WSO2 Carbon, the company’s new fully componentized SOA framework based on the OSGi specification. In addition to Carbon, WSO2 announces the first four WSO2 products based on the Carbon framework: WSO2 Web Services Application Server 3.0, WSO2 Enterprise Service Bus 2.0, WSO2 Registry 2.0 and the new WSO2 Business Process Server — WSO2’s first business process management offering.

    • WSO2 offers open source, componentized SOA

      Open source SOA vendor WSO2 on Monday will debut a componentized framework for SOA based on OSGi, with the intent of letting user sites assemble just what they need for their own deployments without having to carry excess software.

  • Hardware

    • Cool projects with open source hardware

      I’m a huge fan of open source software to help me at work and at home. Two of my favorites are WordPress for blogging and Web site design, as well as GnuCash for managing my personal finances. But lately, I’ve been doing a lot more research into open source hardware.


  • Bloggers not protected by anti-astroturfing laws

    You may recall that last year year, astroturfing, sock puppetry and other forms of fake-blog bullshit were made illegal – at least, illegal if they’re carried out by companies.

    Section 22 of the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive is absolutely clear, making it illegal to go around “falsely claiming or creating the impression that the trader is not acting for purposes relating to his trade, business, craft or profession, or falsely representing oneself as a consumer”.

  • Dutch government study: net effect of P2P use is positive

    The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs commissioned a study by research company TNO about how much Dutch Internet users download music, movies, and games, and what the social and economic effects of this downloading are. This resulted in a nearly 150-page report (Dutch) with many tables of percentages in it. The report differentiates between paid and unpaid downloads and talks about file sharing, eschewing the word “illegal.” In the Netherlands, only uploading copyrighted music and movies is against the law. “Unpaid downloads” include officially licensed promotional content.

  • Hacker clones passports in drive-by RFID heist

    A British hacker has shown how easy it is to clone US passport cards that use Radio Frequency ID chips by conducting a drive-by test on the streets of San Francisco.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Bdale Garbee, Hewlett Packard computer wizard and Debian lead 06 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

Steve Ballmer: “We cannot let intel do chip design on Linux ever”

Posted in Antitrust, Bill Gates, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer, Windows at 3:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And Bill Gates says: “I asked our people many times if there is
any backsliding on their not using Linux for this.”

WE CONTINUE exploring Microsoft’s mischiefs which were intended to derail Intel’s support of GNU/Linux. We make careful use of antitrust evidence that appeared very briefly in 2007 and then pulled due to a secretive settlement. Previous posts on the subject include:

Steve BallmerToday we take a look at Exhibit px06600 [PDF], Exhibit px06601 [PDF], and Exhibit px06604 [PDF]. Their lengths are 6 pages, 7 pages, and 5 pages, in turn. They overlap although they were scanned separately to be used as evidence. Having removed the repetition we have summed up all the text in the following two PDFs (thanks to Arun):

The originals, which are raw scans, are available from the links further up. We also have them as plain text at the bottom. Let us go through some highlights in a chronological order.

It started with an alarming message to Microsoft employees (from Microsoft’s Mike Porter). This stated:

Intel decision to deploy Linux for EDA (chip design)
Intel plans to deploy Linux to run their internal EDA (chip design) applications, due largely to NT stability issues. Andy, Craig, and Albert have all committed to maintain their long-term strategy on NT, and work closely with us on messaging for Workstation Leadership Forum. Intel has been trying to move it’s internal chip design applications from AIX to NT for ~3 years. There are two key apps; desktop (interactive design toots) and server (C-Sym, a batch processing app). The server application has been ported, but Intel cannot get close to the 99% availability target required for production use – they claim ~96%. They have frequent system hangs and “blue screens’. We offered support thru local MCS, but Intel (Albert Yu) rejected our bid. They wanted more MS skin in the game. Albert and Louis Burns (VP IS) share the decision. Because of project deadlines, and their desire to design on Intel based systems, Intel did a quick port of C-Sym to Linux. The Linux version ls ’more robust than the AIX version’. Stephanie Boesh has put together a SWAT team and she has been working to pull multiple group together within Microsoft to improve this relationship and get the project back on track. Last week, we re-secured Albert Yu’s commitment to make this work.

At a later stage, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer were entered into this debate.

As soon as Ballmer saw it he replied briefly and bluntly:

—-Original Message–
From: Steve Ballmer
Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 1999 9:48 AM
To: Bob Herbold; Shannon Perdue
Cc: Mike Porter (Exchange); Marshall Brumer (Exchange); Bill Gates
Subject: RE: Intel/Microsoft Marketing

We cannot let intel do chip design on Linux ever what do we need to do to change the decision who do we need to call we will put whatever w skin to the game they need.

Less than an hour later Bill Gates jumped in as well:

—-Original Message–
From: Bill Gates
Sent: Tuesday, July 06, 1999 10:33 AM
To: Steve Ballmer, Bob Herbold; Shannon Perdue
Co: Mike Porter (Exchange); Marshall Brumer (Exchange)
Subject: RE: Intel/Microsoft Marketing

At the workstation leadership forum they reiterated their commitment to move all their stuff to Windows 2000.

I asked our people many times if there is any backsliding on their not using Linux for this.

If this has changed I wasn’t informed. I knew I would get a chance to talk to Barrett and the question I asked was whether I needed to bring this up or not.

If we are not in good shape on this I need to know.

It’s worth emphasising that no other person at Microsoft talked about shooting down Linux at Intel. It’s only Ballmer and Gates who had to pounce on this opportunity

Ballmer calls for others to take care of this:

—0riginal Message—
From: Steve Ballmer
sent: Wednesday, July 07, 1999 1O:48 AM
To: Bill Gates; Bob Herbold; Shannon Perdue
Cc: Mike porter(Exchange);Marshall Brumer(Exchange);Charles Stevens;Dave Derry;
Subject:Subject: RE: URGENT FW: Intel/Microsoft; Marketting

Charles stevens and dave derry please advise.

Then they start pressuring Intel:

—0riginal Message—
From: Dave Derry
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 1999 11:58 AM
To: Keit Eide; Bill Henningsgaard;Stephanie Boesch
cc: Matt Pease; Bill Wood; S. Somasegar (Exchange);Ramesh parameswaran (Exchange);Gregory
Jensenworth (Exchange); Michael Murphy (Premier);
Subject: RE: URGENT FW: Intel/Microsoft; Marketting

We met with Albert Yu, VP Microprocessor group, on June 17th, he too reiterated Intel’s commitment to move their EDA/applications/tools to windows 2000 we have SWAT team including developers working closely with Intel with this migration. I don’t believe linux is a further threat going forward going though, they did thru necessity move a tool to linux.

Stephanie can you add further updates as to progress we have made and your take on Linux making further inroads.


—Original Message—
From: Bill Henningsgaard;
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 1999 12:31 PM
To: Stephanie Boesch (Exchange); Dave Derry; Keit Eide
CC: Matt Pease; Bill Wood; S. Somasegar (Exchange);Ramesh parameswaran (Exchange);Gregory
Jensenworth (Exchange); Michael Murphy (Premier); Mike Porter (Exchange)
Subject: RE: URGENT FW: Intel/Microsoft; Marketing

let’s be very honest about our current status on this. my read is that Intel is committing to providing everything we need to deliver their requirements, whether we are on a track to do this is much more questionable.

their requirements are very demanding – a robust and stable computing platform that will run their chip design and test scenarios AND support an interoperable environment to allow them to coexist their current UNIX-based environment with a future NT-based environment during an extended migration, in their minds this means that NT needs to support most/all of the functionality that UNIX supports today, including running their test scripts, etc. based on their current understanding after 3 years of trying to do this, NT cannot deliver on these requirements and we have no plans in place that will change this Linux delivers this with little effort to even so, an executive view, Intel is very committed to helping us t make NT the platform they need.

our current status is that we’ve committed development resources to this effort and are trying to understand in detail what their environment looks like. i question whether we’ve made significant progress in the last 3 weeks. I refer to gum’s phone call about his perception of lack of progress which I share.

there is a phone call today (it’s the 8th here) that will summarize progress and identify issues – that will either confirm or refute whether we’ve really moved the ball forward.

in summary, the ball is completely in our court. we’ve got excellent support from intel in allowing us to try to make N’F the platform they need, but honestly I think their management team believes we are NOT on track to do this. if we don’t make very tangible progress that changes this perception AND if we don’t deliver a timeline that allows them start using NT per the requirements above in a reasonably short (6 month) timeframe, I think they will force us to admit we can’t deliver and they will move to linux.

keith – i can’t be on the call on the 8th, so i need you to forcefully and honestly communicate whether we’ve made tangible progress, we need to escalate to steve if we’re not on a track to win after that call.


—Original Message—
From: Stephanie Boesch (Exchange)
Sent: Wednesday, July 07, 1999 3:30 PM
To: Bill Henningsgaard; Dave Derry; Keit Eide
cc: Matt Pease; Bill Wood; S. Somasegar (Exchange);Ramesh parameswaran (Exchange);Gregory
Jensenworth (Exchange); Michael Murphy (Premier); Mike Porter (Exchange)
Subject: RE: URGENT FW: Intel/Microsoft; Marketting

unfortunate that MikePo was left off this thread …… he has already reported back to SteveB on the project status from the development team’s perspective. I suggest we not followup with additional email from the field.

I agree little progress has been made over the last three weeks. This has primarily been due to Intel’s change in command. Intel is creating a new team of engineers including new management to drive this project moving forward. In addition, we have made similar changes by adding dedicated PM resources to the effort and moving the management to RameshP. We are slowing coming out of the investigation phase and now looking at solutions. This has caused a delay in getting the ball rolling from both sides.

We have commitment to make this effort work, but the question will be on what project. And in what time frame. We don’t have enough Information yet to make these estimates.

We also need to realize that all efforts are now on Windows 2000 which will probably surface “new” issues as well.

From the other file we pull:

isn’t intel already using linux for EDA?

To summarise, Microsoft’s Windows was too unstable for Intel. It gave them blue screens of death and other issues. Intel then decided to port the software to GNU/Linux, so Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer immediately commissioned a lobby to stop this (shades of Wal-Mart and Dell [1, 2]). The goal was to ensure GNU/Linux is not “making further inroads.”

The full correspondence, for readers’ own judgment, lays bare below.

Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibits px06600, px06601, and px06604 (combined) as text

Read the rest of this entry »

Why Moonlight is Not Free, and How Microsoft “Addicts” People

Posted in Bill Gates, Europe, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Addiction evidence

With the author’s permission, we repost portions of this comment.

Why Moonlight is Not Free

Moonlight is ostensibly ‘licensed under the terms of the GNU LGPL 2 license only (no “later versions”)’.

Here’s part of LGPLv2.0:

You may not impose any further restrictions on the recipients’ exercise of the rights granted herein.

But Novell have indeed “imposed a further restriction” to the license for Moonlight:

We consider non-LGPL use instances where you use this on an embedded system where the end user is not able to upgrade the Moonlight installation or distribution that is part of you product (Section 6 and 7), you would have to obtain a commercial license from Novell

This “further restriction” is explicitly prohibited under the LGPL, therefore Moonlight is non-Free.

“Since I am not a Novell customer, I therefore cannot use this software.”This would, for example, prohibit Moonlight from being distributed on immutable systems such as a LiveCD, since the software on such a medium cannot be updated in place by the recipient. LiveCDs can sometimes be installed of course, but that doesn’t alter the fact that “the product” is immutable, and therefore in violation of Moonlight’s license if it distributes that software. LiveCD’s can also be “remastered”, but then that essentially changes “the product” to something else, created by someone else. In any event, the above clause is a “further restriction” which violates the LGPL, and hence the software is not Free, regardless of the semantics of this clause, and regardless of Novell’s false claim that immutable systems are inherently in violation of the LGPL.

Of course there are other even more insidious things which make this software non-Free, such as the fact that only direct “Downstream Recipients” of Novell are indemnified against the use of Microsoft’s patented technology in this software. Since I am not a Novell customer, I therefore cannot use this software. Again, this is not an attribute of Free Software.

How Microsoft “Addicts” People

Could you make it explicit about what Microsoft is doing to get people addicted.

Let me begin my answer to that question by quoting Bill Gates himself:

Gates shed some light on his own hard-nosed business philosophy. “Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, but people don’t pay for the software,” he said. “Someday they will, though. As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Microsoft have three main mechanisms by which they “addict” users to their products:

  1. Secret MOUs with OEMs to exclude competitors’ software from being preinstalled, thus essentially forcing all PC buyers to pay for Microsoft’s software, whether they want it or not. This in itself is a form of pressure to use Windows (“I paid for it, therefore I should have the (perhaps dubious) benefit of using it”).


    1. ‘The answer lies in the nature of the relationship Microsoft maintains with hardware vendors. More specifically, in the “Windows License” agreed to by hardware vendors who want to include Windows on the computers they sell. This is not the license you pretend to read and click “I Accept” to when installing Windows. This license is not available online. This is a confidential license, seen only by Microsoft and computer vendors. You and I can’t read the license because Microsoft classifies it as a “trade secret.” The license specifies that any machine which includes a Microsoft operating system must not also offer a non-Microsoft operating system as a boot option. In other words, a computer that offers to boot into Windows upon startup cannot also offer to boot into BeOS or Linux. The hardware vendor does not get to choose which OSes to install on the machines they sell — Microsoft does.’ ~ birdhouse.org
    2. ‘The States’ remedy hearing opened in DC yesterday, and States attorney Steven Kuney produced a devastating memo from Kempin, then in charge of Microsoft’s OEM business, written after Judge Jackson had ordered his break-up of the company. Kempin raises the possibility of threatening Dell and other PC builders which promote Linux.

      “I’m thinking of hitting the OEMs harder than in the past with anti-Linux. … they should do a delicate dance,” Kempin wrote to Ballmer, in what is sure to be a memorable addition to the phrases (“knife the baby”, “cut off the air supply”) with which Microsoft enriched the English language in the first trial. Unlike those two, this is not contested.’ ~ The Register

  2. Controlling Standards: By supplanting industry standards with their own, and making the use of those standards ubiquitous (with the forced preinstallation of Windows on OEM systems), Microsoft spreads dependence on their proprietary and patent-encumbered standards, and subsequently the software which most effectively implements those standards, which is quite naturally the software created by the company that devised those standards – Microsoft.

    There are two reasons for this: First, only Microsoft and its “partners” have the necessary grant of authority to utilise their patented technology (either fully or at all), and second, Microsoft has the habit of deliberately introducing undocumented features into their software in order to make it work differently to the published standard, and thus make the end results (e.g. documents) non-interoperable with other software which follows those standards properly. This then induces a dependence on Microsoft’s proprietary implementation (and thus – their software). A perfect example of this is OOXML, which Microsoft has already admitted they will arbitrarily change to suit their own purposes:

    Microsoft won’t commit to the open document standard it’s pushing so hard

    Now consider this from Brian Jones, a Microsoft manager who has worked on OOXML for six years. In July, Jones was asked on his blog whether Microsoft would actually commit to conform to an officially standardised OOXML. His response:

    “It’s hard for Microsoft to commit to what comes out of Ecma [the European standards group that has already OK’d OOXML] in the coming years, because we don’t know what direction they will take the formats. We’ll of course stay active and propose changes based on where we want to go with Office 14. At the end of the day, though, the other Ecma members could decide to take the spec in a completely different direction. … Since it’s not guaranteed, it would be hard for us to make any sort of official statement.”

    Now that’s cynical. After all this work to make OOXML a formal, independent standard — a standard created and promoted by Microsoft, remember — Microsoft won’t agree to follow it.

    There are many, many such examples, indeed it’s difficult to find any software technology which Microsoft has not at least tried to pervert to their own ends.

    Why do you suppose Microsoft battled with Netscape so ferociously? Netscape didn’t sell a competing OS, and Microsoft didn’t sell a browser, so why the need to “cut off Netscape’s air supply”? That battle was not about products, it was about standards. Microsoft needs to control those standards, in order to maintain its monopoly. Exactly the same thing goes for OOXML vs ODF, and .Net (Mono/DotGNU) vs Java. This is why DotGNU is wrong, because it only serves to further Microsoft’s “standards dominance”, and lest we forget, Microsoft operates it’s business like gangsters. This is not the kind of company anyone should be supporting, in any way at all, much less supporting them by giving them the very weapon they need to win.

  3. Propaganda and disinformation (i.e. FUD): Microsoft spreads false propaganda about itself and its competitors, both directly and indirectly using shills. This is no conspiracy theory, but a proven, well documented fact.

    Microsoft accomplishes this primarily using bribery, which sometimes takes the form of cash or commodity gifts (e.g. laptops), is sometimes masked as “marketing assistance” (in at least two documented cases), and often takes the form of lobbying (a.k.a. legalised bribery).

    Another means by which Microsoft spreads its propaganda is via “Industry Analysts“, which it hires legitimately, although in a clandestine fashion, to produce illegitimate “studies”, which are either outright lies or gross misrepresentations of the truth.

    And finally there’s Microsoft’s chief goon, Steve Ballmer, who claims “Linux violates 235 Microsoft patents“, “Linux is a cancer“, “Google reads your E-mail“, “Red Hat’s customer’s owe Microsoft money“, and many other examples of FUD to dissuade people from using Free Software like Linux, and thus “addict” them to Microsoft’s products.

Credit: Slated

Why Did Dell Choose Ballnux (Microsoft-Taxed GNU/Linux) for Thin Clients?

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Servers, SLES/SLED, Ubuntu at 6:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dell monitor logo


don’t know if any of this is useful or interesting, but reading through all of those Comes v. Microsoft exhibits really makes a person view tech-news items differently,” said one reader. “After reading your latest post on Digg I clicked through to a SJVN blog-article where he mentions how well Canonical is doing with their Ubuntu Server,” she proceeded. From the article at hand:

In 2007, I talked with Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical’s CEO, and he told me “There is already a lot of work being done with hardware vendors. We’re confident we can do all the engineering required to just make Ubuntu work on servers.” It turns out he was being straight with me. In 2008, Ubuntu started shipping on Dell servers.

Let’s remember how Microsoft pressured Dell to toss GNU/Linux out of its servers.

“I was sorting through some Google news items in my email and this (below) was one of them,” told us the reader and “[s]ince it’s an O’Gara piece from Sys-con it’s definitely not a good source of accurate info, and I know that Dell supports a lot of different software on their enterprise offerings…but still… It just made me curious how much pressure might Microsoft (through Novell) be putting on Dell after hearing how well Ubuntu was doing.

“Microsoft uses Novell/Suse as a weapon against Red Hat and Canonical?”

As we noted on Saturday, Dell favoured SLE* for thin clients and Maureen O’Gara is an excellent source if one wants to know how Microsoft feels about these things [1, 2]. She has a very short report comprising only a couple of sentences that add nothing particularly new.

Novell says that Dell’s going to preload SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client onto its three-month-old OptiPlex FX160 thin client.

Dell’s relationship with Microsoft changed — or “evolved” rather — in 2007 when they “joined” the Novell/Microsoft deal. They didn't say exactly what it meant, so it was cryptic by design and shortly afterwards they sported SLE*. Another company that followed the SLES/D route was Lenovo. And then there’s H-P. Mysteriously enough, H-P chose SLED although they recently dumped it for Ubuntu on mini laptops because ‘vanilla’ SLED is not perfectly suited for this type of low-end hardware with small displays.

“Dell’s relationship with Microsoft changed — or “evolved” rather — in 2007 when they “joined” the Novell/Microsoft deal.”H-P, like many other companies of its kind, is cross-licensing with Microsoft, so someone does not tell the whole story which would potentially damage H-P’s business. The discussion is steered astray purposely.

Bruce Perens used to work for H-P. He found out just shortly before the attack from SCO that H-P probably knew about it in advance. H-P and Microsoft remain very close because H-P relies on low Windows margins. It’s keeping close to Microsoft, whose strategy is denial and intimidation. Groklaw went a long way to supply evidence for much of this and the Dell deal (probably patent deal) was eerily similar to the H-P story. Their advertisements tend to disappoint as well, but it's Microsoft's fault. Pricing too is a bit of a mystery.

Microsoft realises it needs to generate new revenue streams. Racketeering is not the way to go though, not as a sustainable long-term strategy anyway. Intellectual monopolies are mythical in this case and generally valid only in very few countries that allowed themselves to be litigiously corrupted by the interests of very few.

Links 09/02/2009: KDE 4.2 Review; X.org at FOSDEM

Posted in News Roundup at 5:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish


  • BitDefender Offers New and Improved Features for Linux-Based Users, Free for Home Use

    BitDefender®, a global provider of award-winning antivirus software and data security solutions, has launched a new version of BitDefender Antivirus Scanner for Unices, the on-demand antivirus and antispyware scanner for Linux and FreeBSD, which is free for personal use.

  • ioquake3 Engine Nears New Version

    The team behind the development of the ioquake3 engine, a spin-off of the open-source Quake 3 engine, is preparing for the release of a new update. The second release candidate for ioquake3 1.36 is now available and it features a number of new improvements. This new release of ioquake3 brings off-server data downloading support, OpenAL sound support for surround-sound configurations, Ogg Vorbis audio decoding, full x86_64 architecture support, improved Quake Virtual Machine tools, and there are many other features. There is also an SDL back-end for the OpenGL context, window management, and input.

  • Linux is a mixture, windows is a compound.

    On the other side of the fence. Due to windows being a compound it cannot be changed. One version of windows is only suitable for a single role. You have no choice in the choosing of elements in windows. You cannot have it work under several different file systems. You cannot replace the windowing manager etc. etc. If you did want to do something like have a different window manager or internet browser then all you can do is layer those programs on top of the windows operating system. You cannot remove the original programs or replace them and the layered programs will never be as integrated as in a Linux system. Like many compounds, windows is also very reactive. Any problems or corrosive substances (virus, spyware) coming into contact with a windows compound effects the whole system.

  • KDE 4.2 Review

    I recently did a bunch of package unmasking in my desktop Gentoo installation and did an emerge of KDE 4 .2 and I thought I would share my experiences in my shiny new desktop environment (unfortunately I was unable to see how Amarok2 integrated with KDE 4.2 due to some MySQL embedded compilation issues for 64-bit Linux).


    Overall, KDE 4.2 feels like a HUGE step forward for the KDE 4.X releases and is more what I would have expected the initial KDE 4.0 release to have been. This release feels like a usable desktop and has definitely made me 180 on my post KDE 4.0 release switch to GNOME. The KDE developers have made a strong case on why those users who switched away from KDE because of any disappointment in the 4.0 release should come running back.

  • Kernel Space

    • Texas Instruments Shows Mini Projector At X.Org

      A representative from Texas Instruments had showed up in the X.Org development room yesterday to show off one of their new products: a very tiny projector. This projector has a mini HDMI integrated connector for video input, uses LEDs and DLP technology for display, and can easily fit within your palm.

    • Bringing Multimedia, Audio Into The X Server

      Helge Bahmann talked about bringing multimedia and audio extensions into the X Server this morning at FOSDEM. Helge talked about this topic last year at FOSDEM, but in the past year he has made more progress in this area. No multimedia extensions are yet present in the mainline X Server, but his code is working to varying degrees based upon the situation. This code is also utilizing some existing X functionality already.

  • Distributions

    • The Unthinkable: Moving From Ubuntu to Debian 5 Lenny

      I am thinking the unthinkable…..I am considering changing from Ubuntu 8.10 for my desktop to Debian 5. I have been running the Debian 5 Lenny candidate for awhile and have bee very pleased with the stability and features. It actually functions and acts more like the distribution I need and work on than Ubuntu. Not so say that Ubuntu is bad, just that I typically do not need or use the latest applications. I mainly work on my Linux desktop for about 60 hours a week. So I really need something I can count on. Again, not that Ubuntu has let me down, it has never really crashed on me but I do struggle with bugs from time to time. I use my GUI desktop to work from as I manage Linux servers, either Ubuntu or CentOS.

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 128

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #128 for the week February 1st – February 7th, 2009. In this issue we cover: Ubuntu Jaunty Alpha 4 released, Rock the Docs: Ubuntu LoCo Docs Day, Hall of Fame Interview: Christophe Sauthier, Fridge Calendar has moved, Ubuntu HugDay, New Contributing Developer, Launchpod Episode #16, Launchpad performance weeks, Full Circle Magazine #21, Ubuntu podcast #19, Toshiba Netbook with Ubuntu Remix, First Ubuntu Event in Monastir Tunisia, Team Meeting Summaries, and much, much more!

      • Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” Wallpapers

        First there were Ubuntu 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” mock-up designs, now showing up are tons of user-created wallpapers dedicated to the next major release version of this popular Linux distribution. If you are interested, let me show you some of those wallpapers here. But please take note that this is not a “best Linux wallpapers list” so I encourage you to lower your expectations and stop oneself from sending us violent reactions :-) However, if you happen to know a link or two to other good Ubuntu Jaunty Jackalope-related wallpapers, please do share it with us via comment.

      • Ubuntu Server on Amazon – Beta programme now open

        Ubuntu Server on Amazon gives you the power of Ubuntu combined with the flexibility of Amazon’s cloud computing service. Ubuntu’s modularity, virtualization capabilities, range of applications and optimised performance make it the perfect solution if you’re deploying applications on Amazon’s Elastic Computing (EC2) cloud.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Amazon Kindle: A Road Warrior’s Best Friend

      I don’t care if print is dead, or if it’s just resting a while. What I do care about is getting the best, most versatile access to information when and where I need it. And for this, I’ve come to depend on my Amazon Kindle. While the rest of the tech world is busy kvetching over the forthcoming second-gen Kindle’s design aesthetics and its admittedly hefty $359 price tag, I’m wondering only one thing: Will it make me want to upgrade?

    • Android developers look beyond mobile phones

      Android may only be used in one mobile phone but interest in the wider consumer product development community is starting to grow.

      Californian touchscreen start-up, Touch Revolution has created a custom software installation based on Android which can be used in a range of non-mobile consumer products.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free software isn’t freeware: why Linux and FOSS have a higher standard

    Microsoft’s recent survey proclaimed nearly half the population believe it is ok to use pirated software for personal use. This diminishes the argument by Linux advocates that you can use their operating system without any cost. Yet, you can’t confuse free as in cost with free as in freedom. Here’s what FOSS really means.


    Worse, when the company ceased it was no longer possible to get maintenance even if you agreed to the fee. So, when your current license period lapsed that was it; businesses had possibly years and years of important information which was plain and simply no longer accessible. Even though it was their own data.

    By stark contrast, if a FOSS program went belly-up you’d never be stuck. Your documents, your data, your information would be available forever because the specifications are always available – as encoded within the program source code.

    Once again, you don’t have to be a programmer for this to benefit you. You might be the CEO of a major business. However, you can find someone – even if you need to hire them – to help out. You can rest easy that your electronic data can always be opened if it has been stored in a FOSS file format.

    Remember, just because FOSS has the word “free” in it, it’s not the same as freeware. FOSS may not cost anything but it’s “free” in a broader sense. It’s free to use in any way you require. More than this, it’s free from risk.

  • Re: A balance of freedoms

    Something that many fail to understand is the fact that proprietary software is designed to divide society. Think about how this relates to Skype. The masters over Skype say, “Come use our Skype software, it is very convenient and it will let you do X, Y and Z. However, you must agree to this set of conditions before you are allowed to install and use Skype onto your computer”. Basically, the set of conditions are intended for the masters of Skype to maintain complete control over their software. As a result of when you choose to accept the conditions, you would also choose to give up your freedom.

  • Putting freedom back in software

    The father of the free software movement descended into a packed room at Concordia Monday explaining to 125 people why freedom is just as important in software as it is in the rest of life.

    Richard Stallman, founder of the Free Software Foundation and lead architect of the GNU Project – which developed part of the GNU/Linux operating system – stressed that there is an ethical requirement to use software that is “free as in freedom, not as in beer.”

  • New open-source software permits faster desktop computer simulations of molecular motion

    Whether vibrating in place or taking part in protein folding to ensure cells function properly, molecules are never still. Simulating molecular motions provides researchers with information critical to designing vaccines and helps them decipher the bases of certain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, that result from molecular motion gone awry.

  • Dialogic Joins Digium Interoperability Partner Program

    Digium, the innovative force behind Asterisk, the world’s most widely used open source telephony platform, made a joint announcement with Dialogic Corporation, an international provider of world-class products and technologies for media and signal processing, that Dialogic (News – Alert) (News – Alert) has officially joined the Digium Partner program and will soon become an Interoperability Partner.

    This announcement marks the first step in certifying the Dialogic 1000 and 2000 Media Gateway (News – Alert) Series for use by the Asterisk (News – Alert) community.

  • Singing The Praises Of Songbird 1.0

    THERE’S no shortage of quality music player/jukebox software available on the internet and in the past I’ve used iTunes, Amarok, Rhythmbox, Exaile, Audacious and several others.

  • 10 free Linux alternatives to OpenOffice.org

    OpenOffice.org has a reputation for being the premiere office suit for the Linux platform. Maybe so but these days, it’s not exactly a lean slab of software anymore, particularly if you just want to try a component and don’t actually want the whole box and dice. Netbooks are one device category that comes to mind, for sure.

    But what are the alternatives? The reality is, for better or worse, the world is still dominated by Microsoft’s Office so any alternatives must have at least .doc (Word) and .xls (Excel) support. You could argue that beyond that, support for anything else is a bonus. Even if you don’t want or need MS support, there are days when a quick message doesn’t require a complete office suite to unleash itself onto your unsuspecting PC.

  • FLOSS Weekly 55: jQuery


  • Since When was Copyright Infringement ‘Theft?’

    This is the BIG LIE perpetrated again people all around the world. Every organisation in the same ilk as AFACT maintains the same half-truth as if it were cast in stone. They equate “copyright infringement” with “theft.” The word is even welded into their name.

  • Lords: rise of CCTV is threat to freedom

    The steady expansion of the “surveillance society” risks undermining fundamental freedoms including the right to privacy, according to a House of Lords report published today.

  • Creator of iconic Obama portrait arrested

    An arraignment is scheduled on Monday. If convicted on all charges, he faces up to three years in jail, Kenneally said.

    Fairey made headlines this week when The Associated Press claimed his Obama portrait infringed on its copyright to a photograph used for the artwork and that it should be compensated for its use.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Bdale Garbee, Hewlett Packard computer wizard and Debian lead 05 (2004)

Ogg Theora

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

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 8th, 2009 – Part 2

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: February 8th, 2009 – Part 1

Posted in IRC Logs at 4:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Enter the IRC channel now

Read the rest of this entry »

Microsoft: The Cronies, the Pressure, and Staff Reductions

Posted in Antitrust, Google, Microsoft at 4:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft Cronies

Microsoft has several cronies inside the US DOJ, one of whom is Thomas Barnett. We wrote about his relationship with Microsoft only a couple of weeks ago. Here he is commenting on Yahoo-Google and Reuters says nothing about the conflict of interests (nor does the government that appointed Barnett).

Thomas Barnett, who led the investigation of Google’s scrapped deal with Yahoo when he headed the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said tying the lucrative search divisions of Yahoo with Microsoft could be a tough call for regulators.

“Any ‘three to two merger’ to my mind would require a significant investigation,” said Barnett, who stepped down in November after three years as head of the division.

Why is a person with Microsoft money in his pocket getting to decide on this? The story above makes a classic example of political corruption in action. Meanwhile, things are rather tough for Yahoo! if this report from the Wall Street Journal is anything to judge by.

Carol Bartz has been CEO of Yahoo for only few weeks. But she’s already working through a to-do list of changes to push. (Nothing yet about Microsoft deals or asset sales or cost-cutting, we’re afraid.)

In the most recent of what’s shaping up to be a weekly email to Yahoo employees, the blunt Ms. Bartz laid down some mandates in a memo last Friday.

First, cease the tardiness. “Let’s all work hard to start meetings on time,” she wrote, according to people familiar with the email.

She also implored the company to stop talking about “silos.” If she hears the word “one more time I am going to think I am back on the farm in Wisconsin,” she wrote.

Lastly, plug the leaks. Referring to the fact that someone forwarded her first company-wide email to some blogs, she wrote: “I hope whoever did it, feels bad enough to come forward and resign.”

Yahoo has its share of pains, which were largely inflicted by Microsoft. Here is a chronological list of some previous posts on this subject:

It seems abundantly clear what Microsoft is doing as a matter of strategic pattern.

“I’d be glad to help tilt lotus into into the death spiral. I could do it Friday afternoon but not Saturday. I could do it pretty much any time the following week.”

Brad Silverberg, Microsoft

Microsoft Hardballs

Some days ago we stumbled upon an old article which concerns Microsoft antitrust exhibits that were not allowed to be admitted as evidence. This is interesting because we possess a high number of Comes (Iowa) exhibits which, despite being very real, might be too confidential, sensitive and serious to be presented publicly (well, at least without getting sealed).

A memo by Microsoft’s Jim Durkin recalled a meeting by Gates and other executives in which Gates said of RealNetworks: “This is a strategic area, and we need to win it.”

The same memo dated June 5, 1997, quotes another senior Microsoft executive, Robert Muglia, as saying that RealNetworks is “like Netscape, the only difference is we have a chance to start this battle earlier in the game”.

All those memos sure bring back a flavour of Netscape, to which Microsoft applied similar forces and dirty tactics. It’s truly a shame that the European Union is slow to respond, but “better later than never” they say. Here is another belated report about pretty old news:

The European Commission has accused Microsoft of harming competition by bundling its Explorer web browser with its Windows operating system.

The commission said it had reached the preliminary view that the US software giant had undermined consumer choice and infringed EU rules.

Microsoft and the European Union have engaged in legal battles over competition issues for years.

Last year, the EU fined Microsoft 899m euros ($1.4bn; £680.9m).

There are other behavioural disturbances showing up in the news this week.

When Microsoft does not send its 'partners' to prison, the company sure puffs a lot of hot air. it’s posing as a victim.

Microsoft today announced settlements with 15 traders caught selling illegal software in regions throughout the UK. One reseller agreed a £75,000 settlement after customer complaints revealed he was illegally reselling Microsoft Windows recovery discs, many of which didn’t work. A further 14 traders faced court action in respect of hard disk loading1 and selling improperly licensed software to unsuspecting customers over the last six months.

These people are, according to Microsoft, actually helping the monopolist. Or at least they used to until Microsoft got miserable and hit a barrier.

The news about Bill Gates' weird mosquitoes incident continues to receive critical coverage from mainstream publications. Here is IT Pro (UK):

Bill ‘Super Villain’ Gates does a Steve ‘Monkey Dancing’ Ballmer


The media has grabbed this as evidence that Gates has gone insane. However, I have another theory: he is just fed up with Steve Ballmer getting all the headlines and so decided to take a leaf out of the Monkey Dancer Marketing Manual. Either that of his money really has made him mental and Gates will next be seen wearing a spandex bodysuit, cape, mask and insisting on being known from now on as Mosquito Man the least scary super villain in history.

This queer scene is likely to be well remembered and no apology was issued on the face of it, let alone regrets that ought to be expressed.

Microsoft Workforce

An issue that we covered before is Microsoft’s faceoff with an American senator [1, 2, 3]. Rightly enough he was dissatisfied with the company’s betrayal of American workers, so a sort of bar has just been put in place to impose on Microsoft a form of permanent restriction.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), introduced an amendment to the $900 billion stimulus package that would bar companies that received bailout funds from hiring foreign skilled workers with H1-B work visas, AFP is reporting. The amendment was co-sponsored by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont).

This move comes after Grassley last week asked Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) to lay off H1-B workers before Americans after the company announced it was going to cut 5,000 employees.

The outcome of Microsoft’s staff collapse begins to bear news, such as the firing of an employee who got a Microsoft tattoo. Is this the type of love he gets back?

It’s generally a good rule of thumb to avoid tattoos of your company’s logo.

For Microsoft solutions adviser Dan Woodman, that advice, unfortunately, came a little too late.

Analysts suppose that more layoffs will come to Microsoft pretty soon. The cuts were not sufficiently deep and they cannot stabilise the balance sheet, so the company is approaching debt [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] whilst trying to feed off of Linux' success.

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