Links 17/05/2009: Kids in Vietnam Run GNU/Linux, Firefox Gets New Icon

Posted in News Roundup at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Search for the Ultimate Linux Guru Begins

    Highlights of the site for me:

    * The Linux Guru Directory. We have a saying, “code is the new resume.” With the transparency of the Internet, those who participate and showcase their skills are best positioned for success. Users of Linux.com can gain Linux guru status for answering questions, reviewing products, submitting tutorials or much more. The top user every year receives a dream laptop signed by no other than Linus Torvalds.


    I’d also like to thank our inaugural sponsors: Intel, NetApp, Novell and Red Hat. It’s certainly no surprise to see those names associated with Linux but we truly appreciate their leadership in helping us make this site a reality.

  • Editor’s Note: When Will it Really Be the Year of Linux?

    It already is. It already has been. It will continue for the forseeable future.

    My scorn for lazy tech reporters who have made an industry out of “This is the year of Linux!/ No it isn’t, stupid hippies!” is no secret. In fact I could make my own little industry out of scorning lazy, useless, content-free tech reporting, except that complaining all the time is dull and annoying. It gripes me greatly that this grand bully pulpit of online publishing, where a single person has the potential to reach the entire world, is wasted on 90% dreck. But then Theodore Sturgeon said that ninety percent of everything is crap, so I guess that’s just the way humanity operates.

  • Elug and SA Linux join forces

    The relationship will also see Elug and SA Linux collaborating on marketing and events, with the first major collaborative event taking place on the 19 September with two gatherings in the east of Gauteng to celebrate Software Freedom Day.

  • Why Linux Does Not Need A Unified Package Manager

    To me this is a very simple question to answer. Linux does not need a unified package manager when the source to the application you are using is available for you to compile on your own. Make your own package.

    “Now Dann,” you might say: “Surely you do not mean for generic desktop user Joe to compile his own software?” To that I reply: “If not him or her, then surely there is someone else in the community willing to help him or her out.”

  • Desktop

    • My Vietnamese 8th Graders are new Linux users

      With just less than one month left of class, I decided to see if my 8th Grade students at the American International School in Saigon would be interested in learning Linux. I am glad I tried because these kids seemed to be having a lot of fun.

  • Server

    • Linux, football and nitrogen: perfect mix for sports tech company

      What do football, Linux and nitrogen have in common with each other? Quite a lot, it seems, as far as start up company Kinetic Performance Technology is concerned. The company formed six years ago and is now behind some of the nation’s top footballers and athletes. We speak with one of its co-founders in the first part of a series that will focus on successful technology start-ups.


      What technology do you use in your developing, I understand that Linux plays a large part?

      The Altitude room runs on a Linux server. We program it all in Python and it runs on an Apache web server so its all open source. Our other product, GymAware is an Apache mod-Python Web application with a MySQL database backend.

      Kinetic’s network infrastructure runs on Linux with Samba, Subversion and automated backups aided by Python. We use eclipse to run our development environment, and rely on plenty of support from the open source community.

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: What’s coming in 2.6.30 – Storage: RAID improvements, optimised CFQ Scheduler, SAS drivers

      The next kernel version is to provide all that’s necessary to convert, for example, a RAID 5 into a RAID 6 and vice versa. There are changes to the block layer designed to speed up the system, and new and improved drivers will offer better SAS support.

      With the fifth release candidate of Linux 2.6.30 out a few days ago, the development of the next kernel version in the main development line continues to progress. As indicated by Linus Torvalds in his release email, the changes are slowly decreasing in number and size, which is what usually happens at this development stage.

    • ZFS, Btrfs and Oracle

      Most of you may already be aware of Oracle’s acquisition of Sun Microsystems. If not, here is an article stating just that from Sun’s website. I read the news as soon as it was published on the net along with the reactions of Sun users for Sun products. What will be the future of mySQL or OpenOffice?

    • OpenCL, OpenGL 3.1 State Trackers “Hopefully Soon”

      Yesterday afternoon there were two new Gallium3D state trackers released by VMware / Tungsten Graphics for OpenGL ES 1.1 and ES 2.0 support. With these new state trackers there is now OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 acceleration for any graphics hardware that has a Gallium3D driver. The OpenGL ES state trackers came just weeks after the release of an OpenVG state tracker.

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE 4.3 Beta 1 – looking pretty

      Looking back for a moment, there’s no question that KDE 4 has had a very rough ride. Certainly, version 4.0 was a disappointment for many users, lacking features and functionality to make the move from 3.5 worthwhile. Version 4.1 started to repair the damage, and 4.2 padded it out to be good all-round desktop (don’t miss our top KDE 4.2 tips!). Will 4.3 be the first 4.x release to win over armies of Gnome fans?

    • GNOME foundation needs your vote for Board elections 2009

      As you should know, the GNOME foundation is run by a board of 7 directors known as “The Board”. After 18 months of active duty, it’s now time to refresh either the blood or our confidence. Which means…

  • Distributions

    • The G:Standard 3.0.beta01 (2.9.80) is Released

      The GoblinX Project is proud to announce the first released of the next G:Standard. The G:Standard 3.0.beta01 (2.9.90) is Released. The G:Standard is the original edition first released in the end of October 2004. In the past it was called as GoblinX and later as GoblinX Standard. In order to dismiss doubt about the releases and follow the same criteria used for all dsitributions (editions) of the GoblinX Project it became simply G:Standard.

    • Linux Distros That Don’t Suck

      I, much like every other hardcore geek on the face of the earth, have multiple linux based distro iso’s laying around. Some of them are for testing and some of them contain tools that I use on a daily basis. I have had many people email me about the best distro out there. The only answer I have for them is “depends on what you want to do”. I have spent sometime working on a list of Linux distros and what they are good for.

    • Testing out Arch Linux

      Arch installation is done through a text installer, but is quite simple. Installation is quick because there’s not much software to install. The base installation only has core libraries and binaries. There’s not even X. You’ll only get a console prompt, vi and not much more. And this is great, because you can customize it the way you like it and install only what you want. And if you want X, just issue “pacman -S xorg”.
      It’s not for everyone, but long-time Linux users that like to fiddle with their system will probably like Arch.

    • Revisiting antiX and SimplyMEPIS

      Yesterday I made it a point to spend some time with both antiX and SimplyMEPIS. There were no package updates in SimplyMEPIS at all; it is rock stable. There were only a few package updates to antiX, which is based on Debian Testing. Both of them ran very smoothly and cleanly. No wonder I keep them among my trilogy of systems!

    • Red Hat

      • Migrating from Fedora Art Team to Fedora Design Team

        As discussed some time ago [1], we are going to rebrand ourselves as the Fedora Design team rather than the Fedora Art team, both in hopes of attracting more UX designers, and also since it’s a more accurate representation of the team so folks needing help with UI design will know where to go. Well, for roundabout reasons (getting fed up with our limited ability to collaborate on files, more later in this email) I finally got around to starting this process.

      • The OLPC XO-1.5 and Fedora 11

        Some good news from OLPC: we’ve decided to base the new XO-1.5 laptop’s software release on Fedora 11. Unlike previous releases, we plan to use a full Fedora desktop build, booting into Sugar but giving users the option to switch into a standard GNOME install instead. (This will mostly be useful for older kids in high school.)

    • Ubuntu

      • Ubuntu One: Future of Ubuntu?

        Some of you might know that Ubuntu recently launched a beta online storage service called “Ubuntu One”. This service looks very similar to what other popular online storage service like dropbox already does, except that Ubuntu One (pro service) is more expensive than Dropbox and the fact that dropbox client already supports Linux very well that it makes little sense to use Ubuntu One as an online storage service. Unless you consider these facts:

      • #! CrunchBang Linux Review

        I recently decided to try out CrunchBang Linux. The lightweight, Ubuntu based Linux distribution although lacking some of the features of a modern GNOME or KDE desktop still stuns.


        Default Applications. This distribution has some of the best preinstalled software installed. Gwibber, Skype…the list goes on. Although some applications have been replaced by lightweight alternatives: Evolution with ClawsMail, OpenOffice Writer with ABIWord… the choices are reasonable for a desktop that is designed to be lightweight. Likewise, there are some great oddities in the “Terminal Apps” section: everything from web browser to torrent client can be accomplished through the CLI and that will surely speak to the inner geek . Oh and did I mention Flash and other restricted formats are enabled by default.

      • HMR group possibly stealing the Ubuntu Logo

        I found this on Reddit and I was amazed nobody is talking about it over here. Well the site http://www.hmrgroup.co.uk/ is been using this logo which is strictly forbidden by the Ubuntu trademark policy http://www.ubuntu.com/aboutus/trademarkpolicy

      • A day with Ubuntu

        Overall, it was fun and a new experience to sit with Ubuntu and not with Windows. I hope there will be more days in the future when I will work with Ubuntu and have all my needed files ready for it and work with it without any constraint or limitation.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • USB display technology heading for Linux

      Linux users should soon be able to use USB-connected monitors that incorporate DisplayLink’s chips. DisplayLink has released Linux versions of its USB monitor source code under LGPL, and has partnered with Novell and the Linux Driver Project to develop drivers for desktops and mobile devices.

    • DisplayLink Provides USB GPU Support On Linux

      Besides Intel, VIA, and ATI/AMD cooperating with X.Org and Linux developers by providing source code and documentation to help with the enablement of their hardware under Linux, another major company has come to the open-source table. No, sadly it is not NVIDIA. DisplayLink is the company and it has now provided an open-source library so that products using their technology will eventually work with Linux.

    • Mr. DisplayLink goes to Linux
    • Digi-Key Ships Open Source BeagleBoard Development Board

      Digi-Key has confirmed it is shipping Revision C of the BeagleBoard from BeagleBoard.org, targeted at the active open source community.

      Based on a Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) OMAP3530 processor, the BeagleBoard bridges desktop and embedded development by delivering laptop-like performance in a pocketsize, 3×3-inch form factor for innovative projects ranging from robots, netbooks, and mobile Internet devices to entire Linux distributions and gaming frameworks, Digi-Key explained.

    • Phones

      • Nokia, Intel developing oFono Linux-based OS for GSM phones

        Despite the unquestionable success of the S60 platform, Nokia apparently isn’t ready to settle with just one OS for all of its devices as word is that they’re preparing a new mobile OS in collaboration with Intel. Called oFono, this new Linux-based mobile platform is for GSM phones ruling out any speculation that it’s for a Nokia netbook

      • Sybase Befriends Samsung, Symbian, Amazon

        With the adoption of this open source client, Sybase iAnywhere said it added support fo over a billion phones including numerous Nokia devices and Symbian phones.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Kids belong on Linux netbooks

        Recently, fellow Computerworld blogger, Preston Gralla wrote about a Lenovo analyst who felt that Windows 7 will dominate netbooks, and Linux will fade away. Of course, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols responded that Linux does have a future on netbooks.

        But they are all addressing adults. When you instead focus on children, it seems pretty clear. Kids belong on Linux, specifically on netbooks running Linux.

      • iUnika Gyy netbook weighs 1.5 pounds, will cost $176

        Hey, remember the $199 Impulse TNX-9500, the “world’s cheapest laptop?” Yeah, it was just the beginning. Say hello to the iUnika Gyy, which manages to shave its price down to €130 ($176) by using a slower 400MHz MIPS processor and ditching that costly XP license for Linux.

      • Will Your Next Netbook Be Running Android?

        Android, based on a Linux kernel, meets some of those criteria, says Jim McGregor, chief technology strategist for research firm In-Stat. With Google at the helm for Android, device makers can get a open-source product that still has the backing of a big brand.

      • Linux vs Windows – which is the better netbook OS?

        Yes, Linux has a perfectly good (although slightly complex) image editor in GIMP but if Adobe decides to pump out a version of Photoshop for Linux, all of a sudden, Linux becomes a palatable option. Linux can already do everything else and while Linux hardheads will continue to push the “open source” mantra for this OS, the average consumer couldn’t care less and likely doesn’t know what open-source means anyway.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Cut overlaps in software and support costs

    To cut software costs during the economic downturn, companies should trim overlaps in software deployments and unnecessary support subscriptions, advise experts.

    Chong Yoke Sin, Group CIO of healthcare cluster, SingHealth, told ZDNet Asia in an interview, wastage commonly occurs when companies purchase software with overlapping capabilities. She offered an example of a company purchasing a business intelligence (BI) tool which comes with online analytical processing (OLAP) features, but purchases another standalone OLAP tool on top of it because the company believes the latter to have more features.

  • High-Profile Speakers at “eLiberatica – The Benefits of Open and Free Technologies” Conference

    We have the pleasure to announce the third edition of one of the most important Open Source and Free Software conferences in Eastern Europe: eLiberatica 2009 that will take place on 22nd- 23rd of May, in Bucharest, Romania.

  • Open Source You Can Use, May 2009 Edition

    Sound, video, distros and programming all figure into this month’s roundup of open source goodies. Read on for more.

  • University of Georgia Announces uPortal-Based MyUGA Student Portal

    According to Rehan Khan, associate CIO, University of Georgia, the uPortal open source solution provided the University with a secure and scalable enterprise platform with the capability to evolve and expand online services in the future.

  • Open Source Solution Breaks World Sorting Records

    In a recent blog post, Yahoo’s grid computing team announced that Apache Hadoop was used to break the current world sorting records in the annual GraySort contest. It topped the ‘Gray’ and ‘Minute’ sorts in the general purpose (Daytona) category. They sorted 1TB in 62 seconds, and 1PB in 16.25 hours. Apache Hadoop is the only open source software to ever win the competition. It also won the Terasort competition last year.

  • Should Health Care Standards be Open Source?

    My argument is that the $100 really isn’t the point, but it is the lack of access, the lack of “eyeballs” that this situation causes acts as an impediment to health care transformation. The fact that Jack, the computer science undergraduate, can’t just go download a copy and start building the next big Health 2.0 company should be a real source of concern. I’d argue that the total openness of protocols such as HTTP, and TCP/IP is one of the key reasons why the Internet itself works and is generally interoperable. In the words of Linus Trorvalds, “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow”.

  • Cities of Anderlecht, Charleroi and Vorst on the move towards OOo

    Since end of April, all civil servants of Anderlecht are using OOo. Charleroi and Vorst to follow this example.


  • FLOSS Weekly 69: OpenMoko

    Sean Moss-Pultz and Christopher Hall for OpenMoko, the open source hardware platform for mobile phones.

  • New Firefox Icon: Iteration 2

    Note: this is a draft icon rendering for Firefox 3.5, subsequent iterations will be posted every 24 hours or so.

  • Avoiding the JavaScript trap

    Identi.ca is a service that’s built on the GNU Affero GPL, which is a modified version of the GPL that closes a loophole enabling people to make alterations to GPL software without releasing those changes. (The GPL says you must release your changes only when you distribute them and technically web servers aren’t distributing code, as they’re run at the server.) Identi.ca is also special because all the content on it is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 licence, so you’re able to get all your data off whenever you want to.

  • Open-Source Speech Recognition Platform – Simon Unveiled

    An open-source speech recognition platform called ‘Simon’ has been developed under the General Public License (GPL), in order to serve people with locomotor and cognitive dysfunctions with an advanced speech recognition system (SRC).

    In general, speech recognition is a process of converting an acoustic signal (captured by a microphone or a telephone) to a set of words. Some of the speech recognition applications include voice dialing, call routing, content-based spoken audio search, simple data entry, preparation of structured documents and speech-to-text processing.

  • Open (But No Source Code)

    • “Transparency will Damage Democracy”

      Great to see Heather Brooke getting at least *some* recognition for the huge service she has done transparency in this country by fighting for access to details of MPs’ expenses, thanks to her fascinating piece in the Guardian today, which lets her tell the real story behind recent events. Do read it if you can: it’s an extraordinary tale of dogged refusal to give up in the face of unremitting parliamentary arrogance.

    • A breakthrough on data licensing for public science?

      I spent two days this week visiting Peter Murray-Rust and others at the Unilever Centre for Molecular Informatics at Cambridge. There was a lot of useful discussion and I learned an awful lot that requires more thinking and will no doubt result in further posts. In this one I want to relay a conversation we had over lunch with Peter, Jim Downing, Nico Adams, Nick Day and Rufus Pollock that seemed extremely productive. It should be noted that what follows is my recollection so may not be entirely accurate and shouldn’t be taken to accurately represent other people’s views necessarily.

    • NESTA, Open Innovation, Creative Commons

      Lately I’ve been spending a fair amount of time talking to the folks at NESTA in the UK. There’s a lot of interest in how the kinds of legal and technical infrastructures we’re building at Creative Commons might work at scale in the UK, and yesterday NESTA hosted me and James Boyle (founder of Creative Commons, and a guiding force in our science work from the very beginning) at an event labeled Open Innovation and Intellectual Property, jointly hosted by the Wellcome Trust and Creative Commons.

    • Synthetic Biology: Feasibility of the Open Source Movement

      Synthetic biology is developing into one of the most exciting fields in science and technology and is receiving increased attention from venture capitalists, government and university laboratories, major corporations, and startup companies. This emerging technology promises not only to enable cheap, lifesaving new drugs, but also to yield innovative biofuels that can help address the world’s energy problems.


  • Another Scandal Surrounds Pirate Bay Judge

    Pirate Bay judge Tomas Norström’s objectivity has already been called into doubt because of his ties to national and international pro-copyright lobby groups. Now, one of the defense lawyers says he has uncovered another scandal and claims to have evidence that Norström wasn’t assigned to the case randomly, as should be the case according to court procedure.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Steve Weber, creator of the phrase “anti-rival goods” 14 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

Gnote Enters Debian, UbuntuOne Has No Mono

Posted in Debian, Fork, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Mono, Ubuntu at 5:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Gnote penetrates distributions at the speed of lightning

OVER AT Identi.ca, gdk writes: “Yay! #Gnote is in !Debian”

seraphyn adds: “Surely better than the mono-litter on !debian. I dislike mono”

This was probably inevitable and Ubuntu might soon swing the same way. Fedora already has it as well, not to mention Debian Sid.

“Fedora already has it as well, not to mention Debian Sid.”Someone wrote about Novell’s iFolder and Mono in relation to UbuntuOne, stating wrongly that “The client side seems to be free software and based in mono.”

This is not correct. If one looks at the source code, then it’s clearly all wrong.

The problem with Mono is old news to many. Applying some simple logic and considering what’s at stake, here is one way to put it. To repeat a message I sent elsewhere, if Microsoft hates something, it means it’s bad for Microsoft. Examples may include GNU/Linux advocacy, critics, and law enforcement. When Microsoft assists something, it’s means it’s good Microsoft. It might help to think along the lines Mono, Moonlight, OOXML plug-ins, Hyper-V support, and SLE*.

Microsoft openly states (both Ballmer and Ozzie) that open source and/or GNU/Linux are the biggest threats to Microsoft.

Does anyone really think Microsoft will help its biggest threats?

Microsoft is a business. It operates for shareholders. It works to defeat its competitive threats.

This is obvious, but Mono and Novell apologists just ignore the warning signs. Microsoft has already sued Linux (probably SCO to an extent, then TomTom, maybe others). What more proof does one need that Microsoft does battle this so-called “cancer” and so-called “IP” is its weapon of choice? It’s only rational to react responsively.

Obama Cabinet Already Caving in to Microsoft?

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 5:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft wants the government, Adobe wants the children

A FEW weeks ago we saw Obama bringing Microsoft closer to his government [1, 2]. A lot of supportive references are already provided for context and Goblin, one of our readers, adds:

US Science panel assimilated?


The BBC site say:

“As a member of President Obama’s new science panel, he [Microsoft's Mundie] is also involved in helping the US administration understand the unfolding intersection between technology and society.”

I wonder if this “understanding” will involve him mentioning Linux/Mac or other alternatives? I wouldnt have thought Mr Mundie would want anyone understanding them, not when Microsoft have a tool for everyone!?!??

Anyway, resistance is futile. Next time you keep watch on your toaster (to prevent toast burning) consider that in the future, it could be Microsofts “feature rich & intelligent” toaster watching back at you.

What might actually be more curious is the news which came since then (not related to Mundie in any way). How about this?

Microsoft offers stimulus-tracking software

Microsoft Corp. on Monday unveiled a software program that will help government agencies track projects funded by the economic stimulus program.

Will this software track taxpayers’ funds that are used to build a bridge so that Microsoft employee can luxuriously drive to their private mall? Because that’s exactly where some of the money goes.

There is also this in the news: “REI, Microsoft meet with Obama on health care”

Local companies REI and Microsoft were among a handful of businesses praised today by President Obama for programs designed to make their employees healthier and keep down health-care costs.

This was also published here.

Glyn Moody complained about the cheapening of the word “open” in a programme Microsoft calls “OGDI” (sounds similar to EDGI). It’s another Microsoft ploy which receives coverage right now. Here is a deceiving headline: “Microsoft offers free repository for agency data”

Microsoft has set up a repository in which government agencies may upload and store their public-facing datasets so that they can be reused by other parties.

It’s not “free”, it’s lock-in. This platform is about making the government and its civilians more dependent on Microsoft and the company appears to be doing the same thing in India right now.

New Microsoft software to monitor state projects through Internet

Microsoft India is developing a dynamic software framework, which will allow Gujarat to track the implementation of various schemes at the touch of a button. The project called Darpan, which is under development, works on Internet-based technology and would be useful to get important information from small villages and remote areas faster.

To capture the government like this seems like a form of colonialism. From India we also get the following massively-distributed E-mail, which was sent to students so that they become volunteer agents of Adobe. It’s only a few days old and it’s HTML-formatted.

From: adobe
Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 3:54 PM
To: adobe
Subject: Submissions closing soon for Adobe Design Achievement Awards

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if http://direct.adobe.com/i/329816_34668_246452

We wrote previously (with evidence) about Adobe's addiction tactics. One company aims for government and another aims for children. There are of course overlaps, too.

Money Matters for Gates, Ballmer and Allen Families

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 5:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A roundup of financial news for the most part (and some relationships to Microsoft families)

THIS POST is not a look at the personal lives of people; rather, it delves into professional activity alone. With that in mind, let it be stated that Bill Gates’ father is a participant in what became of Microsoft. Many times before we wrote about his role in the SCO lawsuit, Abramoff visas, and so on and so forth. We last mentioned all this (with links) right here.

Microsoft is now disengaging from this man’s firm. It was covered by far the most by the Microsoft journalists and the press up in Washington. Examples that we found include known pro-Microsoft reporters and also the Seattle press.

Microsoft will no longer seek regular legal counsel from a firm named after Bill Gates’ father, after it was chopped from a list of regular suppliers.

K&L Gates has been removed from Microsoft’s list of preferred providers following a comprehensive review, the company said, which saw Microsoft seek competitive bids. Microsoft narrowed a list of 16 potential suppliers down to 10 in the process.

No single factor was believed to be behind the decision to chop K&L Gates.

More from Seattle:

Microsoft, under increasing pressure to cut costs, says a competive bidding process led it to drop law firm K&L Gates from its top 10 list of “preferred” legal providers. The news is notable because the firm traces its roots, in part, to Preston Gates & Ellis — with the “Gates” in its name referring to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates’ father. But Microsoft says it will still continue to work with the firm.

The sources that covered it matter because it was published mostly in the Microsoft-friendly press, which didn’t take the notion and observation to task.

Bill Gates comes from a family of lawyers and diplomats on the face of it, but this is a subject that we covered before. There is also this self-congratulatory new piece.

Meanwhile we find that Microsoft’s PR person in CNET posted this: “Ballmer: ‘The world borrowed too much money’”

Says the man whose company is now borrowing money for reasons it is unwilling to publicly disclose. The pro-Microsoft reporter Stuart J. Johnston asked, “If Microsoft Is So Rich, Why Is It Borrowing?”

Well, maybe it’s not so rich after all. The company has, after all, engaged in financial fraud before and its investors are unhappy, some making comparisons to Madoff. See our previous posts about Microsoft and debt:

Also in the news right now: “Does Bill Gates Have An Open Sell Order On His Microsoft (MSFT) Stock? Dumps 20M Shares In 10 Trading Days”

A filing after the close on Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) showed that Bill Gates sold another 3 million shares of the stock on 5/12 at $19.79.

Our reader Twitter, pointing to the article above, explains that “Bill Gates dumps 3 million shares at less than $20.

“If Microsoft is buying stocks, it’s people executives raping the company. They sell out and leave the worker bees with a lot of useless paper and a failed company [...] but the company has done dumber things.”

“In other news,” he says, “Microsoft takes on debt.” He points to an article from a Microsoft faithful [1, 2] who spins it like many others that cite one another.

“A reader has just informed us of yet more evidence of the tie between the New York Times and Microsoft.”“The article speculates the 3.75 billion dollars are going toward acquisitions and assures it’s readers that the company has plenty of cash,” he says. But he continues: “I’m not so sure. Could it be that they are actually out of money and ready to implode?”

We have heard this from other sources too.

Whether it’s true or not, Wikipedia used to say Steve Ballmer is a son of a banker. It no longer says such a thing, but interestingly enough it does however shed light on Microsoft’s obsession with extreme marketing: “In 1990 Ballmer married Connie Snyder, who was on Microsoft’s PR team at the Waggener Group in the ’80s.”

A reader has just informed us of yet more evidence of the tie between the New York Times and Microsoft [1, 2]. And despite the fact the New York Times had no choice but to dump Silverlight-related software, here is this duo collaborating again, conspiring against Web standards, essentially.

Microsoft, in collaboration with The New York Times, introduced at the start of May 2009 the Silverlight 2 Kit for the New York Times Open application programming interfaces.

They even call it ‘Open’ API in order to (once again) falsely associate Silverlight with “openness” — whatever that actually means these days.

First they reluctantly dumped Silverlight (for technical reasons) and now the The New York Times is helping Microsoft Silverlight. It’s truly mystifying. But what is more interesting is the fact that Steve Ballmer is actually writing/publishing for them right now. Yes, Steve Ballmer has just published an article there and our reader notes that he says: “My brain is just chop, chop, chop, chop, chop. And so, if you really want to get the best out of people, you have to really hear them and they have to feel like they’ve been really heard. So I’ve got to learn to slow down and improve in that dimension, both to make me better and to make the people around me better.

In relation to the phrase “chop, chop, chop”, our reader points to Alice Cooper’a video/performance of “Chop, Chop Chop” and adds some lyrics:

Some people call me the creeper
‘Cuz they don’t know my name or face
I got ‘em running in circles
Because a homicidal genius never leaves a trace
I’m a lonely hunter
City fullo f game
Walkin in the neon lights
Chop, chop, chop – engine of destruction
Chop, chop, chop – a perfect killing machine
Chop, chop, chop – it’s a symbiotic function
Chop, chop, chop – I keep the city so clean

Truly strange choice of words.

Lastly, regarding Paul Allen’s baby, it’s pretty much going the wrong way. From the latest news:

If economic depression now looms or reigns (for obvious reasons), then definite answers should not be so distant in the future.

Links 16/05/2009: GlusterFS 2.0 Out, OpenOffice.org 3.1 Benchmarks?

Posted in News Roundup at 5:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Poem Contest–Write and Win $5

    General:Write a minimum of 4 lines about Linux (could be distro specific like Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, etc.)…maximum length in not there. The lines should be rhyming though might not follow a meter system. No need to mention but still: absolutely original lines should be submitted.

  • Security – It’s Not Just For Geeks

    One of the most recent articles is about an incident with a major botnet. Apparently, the creators of the botnet decided to hit the “big red button” which brought roughly 100,000 Windows machines to their knees in bluescreen madness.

  • Server

    • Positron Releases Asterisk Based Embedded PBX PCI Adapter

      Positron Telecommunication Systems Inc. announced today that it has released the V-114 PCI adapter, the first commercially available embedded PBX PCI adapter based on the open source Linux Project, Asterisk®. The V-114 offers a standalone solution that integrates Linux, Asterisk and Telephony ports all on a single PCI adapter that installs simply and easily into any operating system as an Ethernet adapter.

    • Landscape 1.3 released for Ubuntu management

      Landscape is a commercial service for helping enterprises to scale and manage multiple Ubuntu deployments on both servers and desktops. The new release includes features for managing Ubuntu in Amazon EC2 cloud based deployments which is something that prior versions Landscape did not manage. The Amazon EC2 support makes a whole lot of sense now since with the recent Jaunty Ubuntu release, Ubuntu has cloud capabilities and can be easily run as an Amazon EC2 instance.

  • Kernel Space

    • GlusterFS 2.0 Release: msg#06316

      Greetings everyone!

      GlusterFS is a clustered file system that runs on commodity off-the-shelf hardware, delivering multiple times the scalability and performance of conventional storage. The architecture is modular, stackable and kernel-independent, which makes it easy to customize, install, manage and support different operating systems. Multiple storage systems can be clustered together, supporting petabytes of capacity in a single global namespace. Building a configuration of a few hundred terabytes can be accomplished in less than thirty minutes.

    • DisplayLink Releases Linux Source Code for Its USB Graphics Processors

      Today DisplayLink is taking steps to bring its USB display technology, formerly only available on Windows and Mac, to Linux. DisplayLink’s chips enable one or more high resolution displays to be connected via the standard, universal USB 2.0 connector. The library released today enables the creation of Linux software – X Servers, drivers, and other applications – which will work with the growing universe of products using DisplayLink technology.

  • Graphics

    • OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 State Trackers For Gallium3D

      Just minutes after announcing Mesa 7.5 Release Candidate 2, Brian Paul has announced that he is in the process of pushing out Gallium3D state trackers for OpenGL ES 1.1 and OpenGL ES 2.0. These two new state trackers for this forthcoming Linux graphics architecture are coming just two weeks after an OpenVG state tracker was released for accelerating this other Khronos API.

    • The Linux VGA Arbiter Has Been Revived

      Tiago Vignatti has announced he has revived work on the VGA Arbiter for Linux and will be attempting to push this code upstream in the Linux kernel, just four years after this arbitration code was first hashed out.

    • Beryl back from the ashes

      You might be interested that over a weekend a mate and myself introduced Beryl back in to the fold. This is a direct result of our frustration of how bloated Compiz has become and is becoming more of a fashion thing rather than functional for having multiple desktops.

  • Applications

    • aTunes: Amazing Cross-Platform Audio Player and Manager

      aTunes is a full-featured audio player and manager, developed in Java programming language, so it can be executed on different platforms: Windows, Linux and Unix-like systems.

    • LGP History pt 1: How LGP came to be

      Back in the day, 1999, around august time to be exact, I was working for a fairly horrible company in London. I had been a beta tester on Loki’s Civilisation: Call to Power, but I couldn’t easily buy a copy from anywhere in the UK. Finally, a friend and I ordered it from the states. We waited weeks for the delivery, and finally a month or so after ordering, it arrived.

  • Distributions

    • BackTrack 4 – Hacking galore

      BackTrack is a powerful hacking suite. It is well made, with stylish touches that add to the overall feel of the distribution. It runs very fast in the live mode, even faster than most installed distributions. Most importantly, the array of tool is rich, well balanced and overall quite impressive.

      The Beta version did throw a few errors here and there, but it was nothing major. Small consistency issues also arise, and there’s the lack of support for Ext4, which I expect will be solved soon. Documentation needs to be improved, starting with the website SSL certificate and continuing with lots of questions regarding the general usage.

    • Ubuntu

      • Xubuntu: A Simple Approach To Ubuntu

        For the new Linux user, Xubuntu is an easy to use version of Ubuntu that is fast, simple, and reliable. Experienced or “get it done” types will appreciate the minimalist approach, that can be beefed up to whatever degree that is needed.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Off To A Great Performance Start

        Wow, while there may not be many end-user improvements in Ubuntu 9.10 yet and the desktop looks just like that of Ubuntu 9.04, there does seem to be some performance improvements. Besides the huge SQLite improvement that did not come as a surprise, there are better compilation times with GCC 4.4, much better disk performance with the newer Linux kernel, and other improvements throughout. One area that still needs to be improved upon is with the Intel Linux graphics performance after going through radical changes with kernel mode-setting, DRI2, and the Graphics Execution Manager.

      • Linux vs Windows: The Netbook Question

        I recommend you try Linux on your current PC before making your decision. Ubuntu Linux is one popular distribution that’s extremely easy to set up and get running. You can boot it directly from the CD (which you burn from a downloaded .iso file), install it from inside Windows, or put it onto a bootable flash drive.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Motorola gets $310 million China Mobile deal

      MOBILE HARDWARE MAKER Motorola has won a deal worth $310 million to provide gear to China Mobile Communications.

    • Linux development service cracks DaVinci code

      Timesys announced its first LinuxLink development subscription support for the Texas Instruments (TI) DaVinci architecture. The LinuxLink framework now supports TI’s video-oriented DM6446 and DM355 RISC/DSP system-on-chips (SoCs), and provides Linux-based reference board device drivers and automated development tools, says the company.

    • GP2X Wiz Now Available

      That’s right mobile gaming fanatics. GamePark’s new GP2X Wiz portable game system is now available. The new device sports a 533Mhz 3D accelerator plus flash engine, 1 gigabyte flash memory, SD card support, and will run you about $180.

      The Wiz is also built on the king of open-source OSs Linux, which, alongside the Wiz SDK, means users can create their own games.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Netbook boasts Linux multi-track recording suite

        Trinity Audio Group announced a netbook version of its Linux-based multi-track recording product. The Indamixx Netbook Model 2 is an Intel Atom-based MSI Wind, with a 10-inch screen, 3G, and a 160GB hard drive, pre-installed with Trinity Audio’s digital mixing and editing suite.


        The preloaded Linux software mix still appears to be based largely on 64Studio, a community project that maintains a Linux distribution for creative content professionals, such as A/V producers and recording engineers. However, Trinity Audio has now ported its suite to a “Transmission 3.0″ distribution based on Ubuntu Linux 9.04, says the company.

      • Dell baffles buyers with new netbook

        Dell has announced a ‘new’ netbook, the Inspiron Mini10v, an eerily similar model to the company’s previous offering, the plain Mini 10. The obvious difference is price, which drops to £200 in the cheapest Ubuntu Linux version.

        The price reduction has been achieved by stripping out the odd feature that most netbook buyers would hardly have used, specifically the HDMI interface, and by using a different graphics chipset, the plain Intel GMA 500 rather than the equally basic Intel GMA 945GSE.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Blackboard Swallows Its Competitors, Tossing Open Alternatives a Bone

    It’s an interesting situation playing out in the academic software market that other software vendors would do well to watch. By swallowing its competition, Blackboard is keeping its hold on the marketshare and presumably positioning itself for the future. But simply buying competitors to keep hold of the market, and not making changes to retain the customers that opted for their products over yours in the first place isn’t sustainable. There are alternatives — there are always alternatives. In its drive to purchase, not revise, Blackboard has tossed its open source competitors a great opportunity.

  • Sun

    • Sun shines more light on Open Source Kernels

      Sun Microsystems will hold its first-ever kernel conference in Australia later this year. Perfect timing, says a company spokesperson, as more and more companies turn to Open Source to remain innovative in harder economic times.

    • What was done in OOo 3.1?

      Last week on 7 th of May OpenOffice.org 3.1 was released and more than 2 million users downloaded that version until now. OOo 3.1 is the first feature release after the successful OOo 3.0 release 7 months ago. What was done in that version. Here you can find the numbers beside the features described in the “ what’s new guide”.

    • Chart performance

      Recently I did some performance measurements on charts. I used a big line chart with 13 series each with 4000 data points.


    • Gnash Summer Project Seeks Donations

      The Gnash free flash player development team is setting its sights on getting to version 9.0 by the end of the summer and is launching a project later this month to ensure that they meet their goal. The project, known as the “Gnash V9 Summer Bash” will engage student interns to hammer through a number of ActionScript3 (AS3) Class Libraries that are critical to v9 and v10 functionality. The success of the project will result in Gnash compatibility with a number of high-demand websites — including educational, major media, and other popular sites.

  • Programming

    • Grails and Scala support Google’s AppEngine

      There is a lot of demand for making Google’s App Engine web application hosting platform accessible to more programming languages and frameworks. Originally launched supporting only the Python language, Google recently announced that App Engine would also support Java programs. Now, developers are adding support for that platform to their JVM based languages and frameworks. The developers of the Grails web framework have announced that the framework’s latest version 1.1.1 officially supports the hosting platform. It has also been reported that the Scala programming language cooperates with the AppEngine. Scala – a pragmatic combination of functional and object-oriented programming approaches – uses the Google Eclipse plug-in for this purpose.


  • Tune Hunter sues the big names in music

    AN OUTFIT called Tune Hunter has accused a raft of companies including music-search service Shazam plus Apple, Amazon, Napster, Samsung, Motorola, Gracenote, Verizon Wireless, LG Electronics, AT&T Mobility, and Pantech Wireless of nicking its idea for a music identification system.

  • New Danger Mouse CD Released As A Blank CD-R Due To Legal Fight With EMI

    Of course, one of the main reasons why the album became so well known was because EMI sent cease-and-desist letters to everyone who posted copies of the album, and then to anyone who posted that they were going to participate in the “Grey Tuesday” protest. The whole thing seemed pretty silly. It’s not as if anyone listening to The Grey Album would find it a substitute for either of the other albums.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Steve Weber, creator of the phrase “anti-rival goods” 14 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

Links 15/05/2009: BIOSOS, New Elive

Posted in News Roundup at 5:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • BIOS Maker Aims to Retake the PC

    The core system software, as the company now calls its BIOS, builds on Linux operating system software and virtualization technology. Virtualization software started out as a way for users of one operating system, such as Windows XP, to run another operating system, such as Mac OS X or Linux, in a virtual environment. But as the technology has evolved, developers have recognized other advantages, aside from interoperability. By creating a virtualized layer of software, known as a hypervisor, between a computer’s hardware and the operating system, for example, data can be transparently checked for viruses and other malicious software. In the business world, a single big server or a cluster of computers can run virtualized systems so that resources can be divvied up among customers.

  • Analyst: cyberwarfare arms race with China imminent

    This statement was widely reported by the press, but much of the coverage (and Coleman himself) appears to be of dubious accuracy. Kylin is not a new top-secret operating system, it’s a publicly available FreeBSD derivative that was created by academics for research purposes with funding from the Chinese government. Contrary to Coleman’s assertion that it is immune to cyber weapons designed to target Linux and UNIX, Kylin is actually designed to comply with UNIX standards and has a Linux binary compatibility layer. Certain aspects of Kylin’s design are documented in mainstream computing journals like IEEE. Its hardening features include filesystem encryption and access control frameworks. In fact, its security features appear to be roughly equivalent with those of the average commercial Linux distribution.

  • Desktop

    • Linux for Mom and Dad?

      So, the vast majority of people will not have to worry about software. The key to enabling Mom and Dad to use Linux instead of Windows is

      1. making sure they can get Linux pre-loaded on their new computers,
      2. making sure that drivers are available and easily found, so that plugging devices in “just works”,
      3. making sure configuration and network connections work smoothly, and that the geeky bits are hidden, and
      4. convincing them that it’s OK that they can’t call on Cousin Bubba’s friend, because he only knows Windows.

    • Switching My Dad to Linux–Part Two

      The key thing throughout the experience has been that Ubuntu is genuinely a better choice for my father’s laptop. It has to be said that a large part of this is the failings of Windows Vista. If the laptop had come with XP installed, I would probably have suggested he stick with it, although I’d have installed Firefox and OpenOffice.org for him. But Vista is a turkey of an operating system that works against its users.

  • Kernel Space

    • Defining a New Community

      So far, the response to the new Linux.com has been really positive and, save for a few glitches here and there, we’ve been very happy with how the launch has gone thus far. As we transition from launch mode to operations mode, it’s worth taking a little time to reflect on what we’re going to be doing on Linux.com.

  • Applications

    • Audacity: The Versatile Audio Tool for Everyone

      I spend a lot of time looking at other people’s computers, and I see Audacity installed on a lot of them. Not many software programs deserve the adverb “versatile”, but Audacity is one of them. It is the Swiss Army knife of audio applications.

      Audacity is used for all sorts of audio tasks. There may be more specialized applications in each category, but Audacity does a great job. If you have anything to do with audio, this program deserves to be in your toolbox.

    • Caster released for Linux

      The indie developer Electron recently released Caster for Linux. Caster is a cross platform “3D” 3rd person shoot’em up game in which the character moves cross a map, hunts different types of monsters and collects energy items. Starting with one type of “weapon” the player collects five further weapons throughout the episodes. Skills like jumping or dodging and weaponry can be updated during the game depending on the score gained in the previous level.

    • 5 Great GTD Applications for Linux

      There is a popular joke about Linux users that we are so busy tweaking our system to do things for fun that we don’t have time to do important stuff. Getting things done in a structured manner (regardless of your OS) has always been a challenge for me. Writing down things to do on a piece of paper just doesn’t work for me anymore, specially since I spend a lot of time in front of the computer it makes sense to have a GTD application on my desktop I can have access to all the time. So ever since I made the complete move to Linux I tried quite a few organization tools to help me get things done much more efficiently, some of these tools are OS independent but all of them works on Linux. Hopefully you will find some of these apps helpful.

    • Amarok 2.1 Beta 2 Released

      Another month has passed, and it’s time to present the second beta release of the upcoming Amarok 2.1.

  • Distributions

    • 5 Common Questions About Hadoop

      There’s been a lot of buzz about Hadoop lately. Just the other day, some of our friends at Yahoo! reclaimed the terasort record from Google using Hadoop, and the folks at Facebook let on that they ingest 15 terabytes a day into their 2.5 petabyte Hadoop-powered data warehouse.


      Hadoop uses commodity hardware, so every month, your costs decrease or provide more capacity for the same price point. You probably have a vendor you like, and they probably sell a dual quad-core (8 cores total) machine with 4 1TB SATA disks (you specifically don’t want RAID).

    • Ubuntu

      • How To Install Ubuntu On Any PC

        In this walkthrough, senior editor Robert Strohmeyer walks you through the steps needed to install Ubuntu–a popular distribution of the Linux OS–on a PC. This fast, simple operating system runs well on limited system resources, boots quickly, and is very easy to operate.

      • Distro Review: Ubuntu 9.04

        It’s an unscheduled stop today on my never ending distro tour. I had planned to look at Chakra Project next as regular readers will know, but due to a strange series of events I ended up sidestepping onto the recently released Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope. So, it would seem odd of me not to take a decent look and see what improvements have been made in the last 6 months. The last time I looked at Ubuntu in depth was actually 12 months ago with the 8.04 release. I found it to be a solid enough but somehow lacking a little in ambition. Would Jaunty jump forward with new features? I decided to find out…

      • New Distribution Releases

  • Devices/Embedded

    • MontaVista releases next generation of its embedded Linux OS

      Latest version of Linux lets developers take better advantage of target hardware platforms and open source software.

    • Mobile WiFi hotspot comes stateside

      Novatel Wireless’s Linux-based mobile hotspot device will soon be offered by two U.S. wireless carriers, says eWEEK. Verizon Wireless will start offering the “MiFi 2200″ to customers on Monday, while Sprint will introduce the Linux-based device in June, says the publication.

    • Hands On: New Cool-er E-Book Reader Turns Up the Heat

      Despite the light weight and thin form factor, the finish on the device isn’t tacky–though it does have a ‘plasticky’ feel to it. The Cool-er runs a Linux operating system and has a 1GB storage card slot.


      Interead is also hoping to strike deals with retailers. If successful, the company could further get the kind of volumes that it needs to drop prices down to $200. The company is also open to working with software develops to create apps for the device which runs the Linux OS and launch an iPhone-like app store for the Cool-er.

    • Is this Cool-er than Amazon’s Kindle?

      Amazon’s Kindle runs GNU/Linux, which is no surprise given its suitability for these kind of consumer systems. The Kindle is fast establishing itself as the leading ebook platform, so, at first blush, that might seem unalloyed good news for free software.

      Sadly, though, Amazon has also proved that it is no great friend of freedom – first, by embracing DRM for its books, and secondly, by cravenly disabling the text-to-speech capability because The Authors’ Guild has eighteenth-century ideas of what copyright is about.


      Here’s one, with the rather hubristic name of Cool-er, which has the bonus of being British (although it doesn’t seem available here yet).

    • Kindle owners start to lose text-to-speech on purchased books — how do DRM-free Kindle books work?
    • LBS vendor and Intel partner on Moblin MIDs

      Nokia’s Navteq digital-mapping subsidiary announced a partnership with Intel to encourage development of location-based services (LBS) software using the Linux-based Moblin platform. A new, Intel-sponsored microsite on the Navteq Network for Developers portal provides resources for those developing LBS software for Atom-based MIDs (mobile Internet devices).

    • Sub-notebooks

      • 10 solid Linux distributions for your netbook

        If you’ve purchased a netbook, you’re most likely looking at either Xandros Linux or some version of Windows. Although the Xandros operating system is a serviceable operating system, it always seems you are using an operating system hindered by hardware. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are plenty of flavors of Linux out there that can be installed on your netbook that will give you a similar (if not identical) experience to that of your standard laptop.

      • Out goes Xandros… in comes Ubuntu

Free Software/Open Source

  • VLC Media Player Skins2 Contest announced

    The VideoLAN Project developers have announced the start of the Skins2 Contest for the VLC media player. VLC (formerly called VideoLAN Client) is a free open source cross-platform multimedia player for various audio and video formats. The contest will run until the 29th of May and a public vote will be held from the 29th of May to the 1st of June. The VLC developers point out that they reserve the right to veto inappropriate submissions.

  • The Blender Model Repository and BlenderNation: open-source merger?

    As some might know, Blender is an open-source 3D content creation application – it’s cross-platform, a pioneer in the free 3D application market, and I use it. Not only do I use it, love it, and hang out in the #blenderchat IRC channel on freenode, I host the Blender Model Repository, taking over from Andrew Kator long time ago when he suffered legal issues. It’s been running stable for the past year or so, every so often getting new model submissions, and users finding it a useful resource.

  • Murphy’s Law: Do Open-Source Social Networks Matter?

    So what’s the takeaway? When open-source is just a vision or a programming goal, it can achieve its goals regardless of the size of the community that grows around it. But when you throw social networking into the mix, open source development gets hit with a wrench. While a number of interesting open alternatives to common, proprietary social networking platforms exist today, they are never going to be able to carry the kind of clout of the big social networks. An open-source social network has to be the game-changing application like Twitter was to the normal Web back in 2006 — you can’t just copy the best and expect to find much success.

  • Georgia Learns Why Open Source is Better

    Maybe they’d like to start using ClamWin: free and open to scrutiny.

  • AccesStream Releases Version 1.0 of its Enterprise Open Source Identity Access Management Solution

    AccesStream, a provider of open source identity access management solutions, announces the Version 1.0 release of its solution to the open source community.

  • Telethon Taps Open Source to Save on Costs

    When Linking Arms, Inc. launched its nonprofit organization back in 2005, its founders set forth a seemingly modest mission to train and prepare at-risk youth for entry into productive adult life through educational resources, sports, mentoring and tutoring programs.

  • Take Your Web Apps Out of the Browser with Mozilla’s Prism

    Fresh out of the Mozilla Labs oven this week is a beta version of Prism, a new incarnation of WebRunner that integrates Web applications with the desktop. The idea behind Prism starts with from the premise that as more people move their computing activities to the cloud, users will become increasingly dependent on Web apps designed to replace locally-based email, calendaring, and word processing.

    The problem is, running these types of apps in a Web browser adds clutter and unecessary steps to what should be a straightforward user experience. Mozilla wants to eliminate that particular pain point and streamline the way we use Web-based applications.

  • Business

    • Enterprise Applications Go Open Source

      In this eWEEK podcast hosted by Mike Vizard, xTuple CEO Ned Lilly explains how the current economic climate is helping to drive the open-source phenomenon into the enterprise application arena.


    • War on Sharing: RIAA moves to block new FSF court brief

      In response to our proposed revision of our amicus curiae brief in the Tenenbaum case, the RIAA is attempting to block our submission to the court, saying, “…FSF’s latest brief demonstrates even more strikingly the deep animus FSF and its counsel hold for Plaintiffs, their counsel, and the recording industry. Such a biased organization cannot properly assist the court in providing neutral information and analysis.”

  • Government

    • Trash Talk

      Is there something about Estonia that makes them special? According to the Open Source Index, they have the highest Community Activity rank of all the countries measured. Now, the US is not far behind in that metric, but I think we should look a little deeper. Perhaps Estonia scored so high because they have an ethos of community activity that naturally carries over to software. And perhaps the US scored so high because within the open source community we get it. But we remain a small minority within an enormous landfill of proprietary software development. When enlightened, American software programmers can be as good as the Estonians at community activity. The trouble is, there just aren’t enough of us. Yet.

    • Where does Obama stand on open source?

      Love him or hate him, Barack Obama will be President into 2013.

      This is a key moment for open source. In some ways it is going from strength to strength. But it remains vulnerable to counter-attack from the copyright industries.

      So far the President’s record on open source is mixed.

    • Vancouver enters the age of the open city

      BE IT RESOLVED THAT the City of Vancouver endorses the principles of:

      * Open and Accessible Data – the City of Vancouver will freely share with citizens, businesses and other jurisdictions the greatest amount of data possible while respecting privacy and security concerns;

      * Open Standards – the City of Vancouver will move as quickly as possible to adopt prevailing open standards for data, documents, maps, and other formats of media;

      * Open Source Software – the City of Vancouver, when replacing existing software or considering new applications, will place open source software on an equal footing with commercial systems during procurement cycles; and

    • City of Vancouver set to back open source, open standards, open data

      Mayor Gregor Robertson and Coun. Andrea Reimer want the City of Vancouver to support open-source software and open standards.

  • Open (But No Source Code)


  • Recording Industry Tries To Shut Down Search Engine In Spain Without Allowing It To Defend Itself

    Luckily, the judge did not fall for this, and after a hearing in which both sides presented their position, is allowing the site to continue operating while the trial continues, noting that shutting down the site: “might cause irreparable prejudice to the defendant.” It’s good to see another reasonable ruling, though troubling that the recording industry tried to push for an immediate injunction.

  • Bono says he’ll sue France over HADOPI

    French European Parliament MP Guy Bono says he’ll call for legal action against France if it adopts the corporate entertainment cartel’s HADOPI law.

    Pushed by French president Nicolas Sarkozy on behalf of Vivendi Universal, EMI, Warner Music and Sony Music, and Time Warner, Viacom, Fox, Sony, NBC Universal and Disney, France’s lower house of Parliament has passed the “three-strikes” law, also known as the HADOPI law.

  • RIAA tries to evade $5M class action

    You could’ve been forgiven for believing it was over for Tanya Andersen, the disabled single mother who, after being brutally bullied by the RIAA and its teams of legal hitmen, was awarded close to $108,000 in fees and costs, the highest amount ever.

  • Refuting Mark Helprin’s Views on Copyright

    Normally, this post would be something best left to someone like William Patry, whose credentials on copyright are above reproach. Lawrence Lessig has responded to Helprin in a contemporary and ingenious way, but Lessig’s main focus now has moved from intellectual property matters to what he has called “corruption” (and what Harvard Law School, his new employer calls “a major five-year project examining what happens when public institutions depend on money from sources that may be affected by the work of those institutions”).

  • RealNetworks: MPAA Is ‘Price-Fixing Cartel’

    RealNetworks is upping the ante in litigation seeking to prevent it from distributing DVD-copying software. The company argues the Hollywood studios are a “price-fixing cartel” that have no right to prevent consumers from duplicating the movie discs.

  • RealNetworks accuses MPAA of antitrust violations

    RealNetworks has accused the major film studios of antitrust violations in documents filed Wednesday with a federal court.

  • Pirate Bay organises Distributed Donation of Dollars attack

    Now this is interesting: with the arrival of a demand for some $4.5 million in damages, one of the founders of Pirate Bay has come up with an innovate method of paying it. Gottfrid Svartholm has set up something called internet-avgift which encourages ordinary Internet users who are friendly to the Pirate Bay cause to donate towards the cost of that fine. In fact, the system enables them to send those donations directly to the law firm which represented the music companies during the trial.

  • Film industry turns up P2P heat on Carter

    The UK film industry today backed the record industry’s long-running campaign for laws to force ISPs to cut off persistent illegal filesharers from the internet.

    At a conference in London today, a coalition including Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT), the UK film sector’s copyright enforcement body, will aim to put pressure on the communications minister, Lord Carter. FACT will add to lobbying by its record industry counterpart the BPI for the government to impose French-style “graduated response” regulations on ISP, that end in disconnection if warnings are ignored.

  • Vulnerability Renders MPAA/RIAA Copyright Warnings Useless

    In a bid to educate pirates, copyright holders hire companies such as BayTSP to track down people who share their titles on P2P networks. The alleged infringers then receive a warning and are given the opportunity to resolve the issue. However, this system is vulnerable to abuse and therefore completely useless.

  • How long could you last without infringing a copyright?

    Nowadays we infringe copyrights numerous times throughout the day without even thinking about it. Watching an unauthorized SNL clip on YouTube. Playing the radio in the background at work where customers can hear. Loaning a copy of your Finding Nemo DVD to play at your kids’ daycare. Downloading clip art to use in a personal scrapbook. Scanning your own wedding photos. Forwarding a funny photograph to a friend. Loaning a co-worker some software. Etc., etc., etc…

  • When love is harder to show than hate

    Copyright law is set up to protect critics, while leaving fans of creative works out in the cold

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Steve Weber, creator of the phrase “anti-rival goods” 13 (2005)

Ogg Theora

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

Patents Roundup: Microsoft, Patent Ambush, Moral Issues, and Europe’s Back Door

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Patents at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The latest news about patents with emphasis on software


THE COMPANY from Redmond has been busy creating patent FUD against Linux using an assault on TomTom. This does not mean, however, that the company is immune to the very same patents its actively lobbying for around the world (with the simple aim of making truly Free software illegal). IDG presents this new story of the company which won hundreds of millions of dollars for what it claims to be patent violations in Microsoft software.

A small security company that won a $388 million judgment against Microsoft after accusing the company of patent infringement has big plans for the future.

Uniloc, with U.S. headquarters in Irvine, Calif., prevents software piracy by creating a unique device fingerprint that can distinguish the computer in your hands from any other computer ever built. Vendors that want to prevent unauthorized use of software tie their product activation processes to Uniloc’s patented method of identifying a device.

Patent Ambush

FAT is a good example of patent ambush, a practice whereby a company seeds the market with its technology and then waits until it spreads widely before attacking/extorting. It is a form of ambush, or the setting up of a trap for competitors.

Rambus is a recent case study [1, 2, 3, 4] in this one particular area. The FTC had the company investigated. But now, however, it turns out that the FTC does just what it always does. The British press says that the FTC just lets Rambus off the hook despite patent ambush.

US regulators have finally thrown in the towel after seven years of battling memory chip designer Rambus in court.

The Federal Trade Commission today said it’s officially dropped claims Rambus violated antitrust laws by hoodwinking the JEDEC (Joint Electron Device Engineering Council) industry standards group into approving memory technologies on which it was quietly obtaining patents.


The FTC has been wrestling with Rambus for yonks on claims the firm manipulated the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (JEDEC) – the body in charge of memory industry standards, not some distant galaxy – to adopt memory technology designs that Rambus was sneakily patenting.

This looks pretty grim for the FTC. It tolerates abuse in the standards/patent industry and thus breeds mistrust.

Further on the same subject of patents in standards, read what this man shrewdly says.

Either EU remains committed to open standards or the term “open standards” need to be removed from the new interoperability framework decision. Perhaps just standards as in formal standards from ISO would be more adequate? Open standards should not be stolen from the winning innovative Internet realm just because the greed of those that prefer royalty based industry standards.


” The term “open” is usually restricted to royalty-free technologies while the term “standard” is sometimes restricted to technologies approved by formalized committees that are open to participation by all interested parties and operate on a consensus basis.” (at least still)

If one needs to pay a competitor for use of a so-called ‘standard’, then it’s proprietary, not open. “Open” should not be taken just for visibility, or else new terminology is required, such as “free(dom) standards”.


Look what IBM is doing.

“Last week, the USPTO granted IBM a patent for its System and method for comprehensive automatic color customization in an email message based on cultural perspective. So what exactly did the four Big Blue inventors come up with? IBM explains: ‘For example, an email created in the U.S. in red font to indicate urgency or emphasis might be mapped to a more appropriate color (e.g., blue or black) for sending to Korea.’ IBM took advantage of the USPTO’s Accelerated Examination Program to fast-track the patent’s approval. BTW, if you missed the 2006 press release, IBM boasted it was ‘holding itself to a higher standard than any law requires because it’s urgent that patent quality is improved.’”

IBM should be shamed for this. It is still a big part of the problem. Digital Majority has found another good article about the economic impact of this gold rush to own every idea under the sun.

It costs high-tech companies an average of $5 million to defeat a frivolous suit. So often defendants pay large sums just to make the case go away. This money is diverted from worthwhile research and development that could go to innovation leading to more jobs and economic growth.

The American economy is in critical need of invention and innovation. But if we want intellectual property industries to help invent a way out of the recession, we must put an end to the legal gamesmanship that rewards lawsuit abuse over creativity.

All industries directly or indirectly affected by patents — including finance, automotive manufacturing, high-tech, bio-tech and pharmaceuticals — will benefit from patent reform. It will encourage innovation — from the lone inventor in his or her garage to the high-tech company that files a thousand patents each year, and all businesses in between.

Moral Issues

Economic issues aside, there is a moral and mortal issue at stake too.

Patents as a whole are becoming increasingly controversial. It’s not just about software patents, which happen to be more relevant to Free software in the sense that they harm free distribution. Patents sometimes kill. They get to define who lives and who dies.

Here is a new article that Groklaw aptly labels “Pandemics and Patents”:

Swine Flu Not an Accident From a Lab, W.H.O. Says

As for the use of oseltamivir, the generic form of Tamiflu, the W.H.O. has certified only one drug — Antiflu, made by the Indian company Cipla in both pill and liquid forms — as equivalent to brand-name Tamiflu.


The move could prompt patent lawsuits by Gilead and Roche, which developed and sell Tamiflu, so Cipla will sell only to countries indemnifying them against such suits, the company said.

There is also more recognition that human rights are being compromised: “Experts Aim To Balance Intellectual Property Rights And Human Rights”

The United Nations human rights framework is being brought to bear on intellectual property law, in the hopes that the weight of expert voices in human rights can lead IP regimes toward a better balance between the needs of industry and the needs of public policy.

The Working Group on the Right to Development, an intergovernmental political body, in August 2008 took on the task of examining two intellectual property-related development partnerships that could influence the work of policymakers in at least two UN institutions.

Europe Awoken

Can Europe stay a haven to FOSS developers at all? Was it ever a haven when threats of embargo were issued across the Atlantic? There is forever a danger that Microsoft tries to legalise software patents in Europe. Since it cannot compete based on technical merits it will try to injure and illegalise FOSS. It is so much easier than producing a better product sometimes. Here is a timely new reminder of the situation:

MEPs locked horns with the Commission again in 2005 over a proposal to harmonise patent protection law for computer-implemented inventions, dubbed the ‘software patents’ directive. MEPs demanded that Charlie McCreevy, the European commissioner for the internal market, revise the draft legislation, but he refused on the grounds that EU governments supported its objective. An overwhelming majority of MEPs voted to reject the proposal in second reading, the first time the Parliament had ever used this power.

One last point: there is growing concern that software patents may arrive at continental Europe through a form of unity with the UK (Charlie McCreevy is Irish), which has already permitted Nokia to do its damage.

Certain computer programs are patentable according to the UK IPO.


The Patents Act says that something cannot be patented if it consists only of a program for a computer. The IPO has historically been stricter in denying software patents than European patent authorities, despite UK law being based on the European Patent Convention, on which the European Patent Office bases its decisions. The US allows software to be patented. The UK IPO now states that Software that allows programmers to program a mobile phone system remotely from a computer can be patented because it is more than just a software program. The ruling overturns an initial decision that the invention is unpatentable because it consists of nothing more than a computer program.

Watch out for the back door of Europe.

What is Going on with ASUS and GNU/Linux?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft at 5:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: ASUS betrays GNU/Linux after getting “closely tied up with Microsoft”, a new Web site called “It’s better with Windows®” appears

ASUS really blew it when it decided to take Microsoft’s invitation and turned its back on GNU/Linux (profits at ASUS now down 94%). We also have allegations of kickbacks now [1, 2].

Groklaw has found this curious complaint about the way ASUS treats GNU/Linux after it had gotten “closely tied up with Microsoft,” to use its executive's own words.

A friend of mine pointed out the Eee PC Seashell (1008HA) for example, which looks very nice on the website. But hang on, what’s this. I’m now told by your marketing department that “It’s better with Windows®”, and I am invited to find out more by clicking a a link.

Over at Groklaw, Pamela Jones writes: “ the link is to a site calling itself It’s Better With Windows, and if you check out who owns it, it is registered on GoDaddy to a Michael Sharp, in Kent, Washington. This wouldn’t be an Intel-type of deal, by any chance??

Further, the post states:

I also see that Windows is “Compatible”, and that I can be “confident” my devices and applications will work. Ok, lets see. My HP Printer, digital camera, 3G dongle, sound card, mobile phone and wireless stick all refuse to work on a Windows XP machine without navigating some obtuse vendor websites or chugging through a load of vendor supplied CDs. It does have a CD-ROM drive, right?

You make some nice kit, and were instrumental in the rise of the netbook form factor all around the world. I can completely understand you pandering to the masses clawing for Windows XP because they don’t know any better. But don’t insult my intelligence by telling me it’s ‘better’, because it flat out isn’t, and a patronising, condescending pro-Windows website isn’t going to convince me otherwise.

Linux was good enough for you at the launch of your Eee PC models two years ago, and it’s even better now. How quickly you changed your allegiance when the hardware caught up with the requirements of Windows. We now know who our real friends are. Maybe you never really were our friend, maybe you just used us to steal a march on the competition. If that’s the case then you suck.

It does have a tinge of Slog-type attack on the viability of GNU/Linux on sub-notebooks , such as those which are backed by NPD.

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