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06.04.09

ATMs That Run Windows Fall Into Hands of Crackers

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 9:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Summary: More stories of compromised Windows-based ATMs raise important questions

LAST year we gave an extensive sample of incidents where ATMs got hijacked or failed very badly because they ran Microsoft Windows. Truth be told, by Microsoft’s own admission, Windows is simply not suitable for secure, mission-critical operations [1, 2, 3].

Today we are finding news reports that we wish to share:

i. Data-sniffing trojans burrow into Eastern European ATMs

Security experts have discovered a family of data-stealing trojans that have burrowed into automatic teller machines in Eastern Europe over the past 18 months.

[...]

The SpiderLabs report said only that the targeted ATMs ran on the Windows XP operating system.

Windows XP cash machines can steal your PIN

The SpiderLabs team reports that it has been able to perform an analysis of the malware, which had been discovered on compromised East European cash machines running Windows XP.

[...]

I understand that the malware can be installed, and activated, by way of a Borland Delphi Rapid Application Development executable that replaces the original isadmin.exe utility file. Executing this dropper produces the malware file within the C:\WINDOWS directory of the machine.

Only yesterday we saw yet another hospital whose operations got suspended by Windows viruses. Hospitals should be occupied dealing with real viruses, not computer viruses, so this is not acceptable selection of technology. Likewise, ATM maintainers should worry more about social engineering than about back doors.

ATM

Microsoft Embracing, Extending, and Extinguishing Sub-notebooks

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft, OLPC at 9:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Power button red

Summary: ASUS has made some questionable moves and people explain why

IN TWO posts that were issued earlier in the week [1, 2], it was hopefully demonstrated (and laid out sufficiently clearly) why Microsoft is behind the attack on sub-notebooks which run GNU/Linux. The following long post makes extensive use of evidence that we offered and shows that Microsoft is up to no good because it is most afraid of GNU/Linux, as ever.

Lately I have noticed a pattern. Maybe it’s in my head, but it is mystery that keeps getting deeper and darker as I go along. It started with getting very tired of seeing “Windows only”, or “Windows and Mac Only,” or “Windows and Mac for now but Linux Support Coming Soon.” These annoying statements seem to be showing up in more blog posts, and more download pages lately. For a while there I thought the tide was turning, but something seems to have happened. I know these are probably not all related to some grand paranoid scheme from Microsoft to sabotage Linux, but sometimes I wonder. For instance, what made Asus, the makers of the Gnu/Linux eee-pc morph into Asus the “better with Windows eee-pc maker? Something big happened. Some type of deal, that is very shady and almost certainly anti-competitive. And before that there were the linux pc’s on sale at Walmart- that suddenly stopped being for sale, even though they were making money for Walmart. So I know Microsoft is scared.

To present a clearer picture, Glyn Moody has composed this sort of mashup of evidence. Therein, Moody shows that ASUS is simply faking it.

And just to insult our intelligences a little further:

When asked about rumors that Asustek faced pressure from Microsoft and Intel over the use of Android and Snapdragon in the Eee PC, Tsang said “no, pressure, none.”

Riiiiiiiiight: no, pressure, none – perhaps he should have read his Hamlet (Act III, Scene II) a little more closely. If there was no pressure, why on earth did he apologise, making himself and his company look awkward? – it just doesn’t make sense.

Moody also drew attention to the fact that Microsoft is trying to move goalposts.

Microsoft to use a new term for netbook

[...]

Microsoft declined to comment on the speculation, saying Guggenheimer would provide more details of the strategy while delivering a keynote speech at the company’s Computex forum on June 3.

Microsoft’s strategy is very simple: pay whatever price is necessary (even negative pricing) to expel GNU/Linux from sub-notebook, persuade OEMs to ‘beef up’ their machines so as to accommodate a heavy operating system like Windows, elevate the cost whilst GNU/Linux is absent, commission a persistent Slog against GNU/Linux (attribute imaginary, inherent flaws in GNU/Linux leading to a planned “failure”), and finally hope that the problem simply goes away. It was almost precisely the same with OLPC.

Microsoft embraced sub-nobeooks in order to ‘extend’ them (make them more crippled and more expensive). Now it wants them extinguished. How is this beneficial to consumers?

“Since when has the world of computer software design been about what people want? This is a simple question of evolution. The day is quickly coming when every knee will bow down to a silicon fist, and you will all beg your binary gods for mercy.”

Bill Gates

“ODF is Going to Be National Standard for Document[s] in Vietnam Too”

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 8:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vietnam flag at How Lung Bay

Summary: It may only be a matter of time before ODF acceptance is widespread in east Asia

THIS morning we wrote about Hungary's embrace of ODF and it became an opportunity for some further discussion.

Earlier today, around the afternoon to be precise, someone from Vietnam wrote to me: “ODF is going to be national standard for document in Vietnam too, if nothing wrong happens (like MS lobby the gov etc…)

Vietnam made explicit promises that it would migrate all systems to Free software shortly, but given Microsoft’s dirty tricks in Vietnam [1, 2], the results remain to be seen. Microsoft does not tolerate competition.

Another place where we previously saw a movement towards Free software got totally hijacked by Microsoft cronies and overwhelmed by corruption. Now it is publishing an ODF-hostile report. That place is Massachusetts and Glyn Moody reports about their report.

One of the key moments in the rise of open source was when Massachusetts announced that it was adopting an open standards policy for documents.

Since this was a gauntlet flung down for the dominant supplier in this space, Microsoft, it was inevitable that a battle of epic proportions would result. In fact, it turned out to be a very dirty fight, degenerating into ad hominem attacks on the person behind this move to open standards.

[...]

This is certainly a fair point: when Massachusetts opted for open standards, ODF was the only option, but was still somewhat rough. In particular, OpenOffice.org was the only full implementation of ODF.

[...]

To call this “lock-in” is even more misleading: since there is no lock-in with one open source implementation, there is even less when there are multiple open source solutions, albeit imperfect. Unless, of course, you want to call it a lock-in to freedom.

In fact, this obsession with perfect interoperability misses another crucial point, which is that there will *never* be anything like a perfectly-compatible solution with Microsoft’s OOXML, given the 6000 pages of documentation, and the presence of opaque binary blobs. Compared to that situation, ODF is *already* far better, in that there are multiple solutions with good, if not 100%, interoperability.

As Microsoft itself admitted (see the quote below for example), is hasn’t intentions of actually implementing OOXML. It continues to take a proprietary route, so to adopt OOXML is to put faith in a dummy (or pseudo-standard) which required crime to almost validate.

“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.”

Brian Jones, Microsoft

What the Corrosive Relationship Between Microsoft and Cisco Means to GNU/Linux

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 8:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft-Cisco tensions could lead Cisco further away from Windows

Cisco recently settled with the FSF/SFLC and some sources suspect that Cisco may enter the GNU/Linux market by acquiring Novell*, another company whose treatment of the GPL has been questionable in most arenas.

Having betrayed Cisco several times before, Microsoft turns out to be doing it again. [via The Inquirer]

Them’s Fightin’ Words: Cisco Says HP-Microsoft Alliance Cuts Out Partners

Cisco Systems called out Hewlett-Packard’s and Microsoft’s $180 million unified communications and collaboration alliance, saying it leaves partners out of the loop and that neither company has the networking chops to support the solutions.

More interestingly, as we showed a fortnight ago, this massive Hewlett-Packard/Microsoft deal came almost concurrently when (or after) H-P and Microsoft had signed another patent deal. Could this be a form of award or endowment?

Will Cisco lean more towards GNU/Linux as a result? Let us hope so. It cannot do much harm now that Cisco promises compliance and has an officer appointed — even fully committed — to the task. Cisco, unlike Intel, has not quite the reputation of an abusive bully, so it would make a decent ally. For PR purposes, Cisco has also just announced finalists in a Linux competition it initiated. Many people may not know this, but Cisco is at the moment one of the richest (if not the richest) technology companies. Oracle and Apple do pretty well too, whereas Microsoft is reaching out for borrowed money.
______
* Speculations about Novell being bought are all too common now, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

What Does Microsoft Want From Spain? (Updated)

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, Bill Gates, Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 7:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ogg Theora

Direct link

Summary: Microsoft seems unable to leave a GNU/Linux-bound Spain alone; antitrust probe launched against Microsoft in Russia

THE DISCOMFORTING NEWS from Spain is something that we covered a lot in the month of May. The following posts probably provide necessary background because they accumulate or concentrate many information resources and facts we won’t repeat here:

The news is circulating quickly, suggesting that the President of Spain says that Bill Gates recognised GNU/Linux success in Extremadura. The video above is very telling because the man may have fallen for the whole “charity” storyline [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]. The President of Spain confirms it: Bill Gates named Extremadura’s GNU/Linux project as “a worldwide leader for ITC and open source” and here is a new report about it:

Extremadura has been surely the first region in the world to introduce Linux massively in the schools. The Linex Project was started in 1999 and now it counts with more than 80.000 PCs among its schools with a ratio of 2 students per computer. Additionally, Extremadura has widely deployed Linux in more government areas, as Health and rural public points for Internet access and social digitalization.

After Extremadura, Andalusia and Valencia, two of the most populated regions of Spain, have developed similar but bigger projects based on open source and Linux. In the case of Andalusia, its medium education holds currently the biggest Linux network in the world with more than 250.000 computers accounting clients and servers, all them administered from a central point in Seville, the capital of the region.

[...]

But , of course, as OSOR continues saying the strong open source community of Spain is against paying to Microsoft for something that is not needed:

The Spanish free software association, Hispalinux, criticised the laptop plan in April, saying for instance that the government should have requested a public tender for the laptops. The debate now includes dual-boot systems with both GNU/Linux and Microsoft software pre-installed, raising questions about the Spanish government paying for proprietary software licences it might not use.

“A very interesting article,” says Matt from a Linux forum. “Apparently Gates goofed when he tried to name the region of Spain where Microsoft has a big Windows project going.  That would be Aragon, but he either couldn’t think of the name or mentioned Extremadura by mistake.”

To quote some more from the above, “the story didn’t finished with the correction of such a supposed “mistake”, since, on Tuesday June 2nd, the President of Spain, Mr. Zapatero, confirmed in a public event that “Bill gates told me that ‘there was a region in Spain that shines as a world leader because the extension of the new technologies and the open source in it, and this region is Extremadura’.

“Here is a nice map indicating Linux adoption in Spain,” adds Matt. He also gives some articles to serve as background (we covered most of them before):

We’ve put more details about Catalonia right here, claiming that it was akin to EDGI. For some background on EDGI, see:

Speaking of EDGI, Microsoft appears to be trying it in Russia right about now*. Why? Because Russia is fed up and it has just launched an antitrust investigation against Microsoft. Spain should do the same thing, but given the video at the top, someone quite crucial seems to have been placed in Microsoft’s pocket already. As enthusiastic as he is, he fails to spot Gates’ mistake.
______
* Microsoft recently dumped money on Russia to prevent risk [1, 2, 3].

Update (05/06/2009): Here is the same video with subtitles.

Links 04/06/2009: UNIX Turns 40, New KDE4 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 10 ways the Linux desktop improves the user experience

    Many of you out there doubt the user-friendliness, the power, and the flexibility of the Linux desktop. But after 10-plus years of using the Linux desktop, I’m pretty confident I can put those concerns to rest. Not only is the Linux desktop user-friendly, powerful, and flexible, it also improves on the standard desktop metaphor — in many ways.

    Here are 10 of the best ways that the Linux desktop improves on the standard. By the time you’ve finished reading this, your interest should be piqued enough to at least want to try one of the Linux desktops.

  • La Curacao takes the plunge into a Linux-based OS

    La Curacao is a Los Angeles-based chain of Hispanic-focused electronics stores. Its locations are decorated with symbols of ancient Mayan and Aztec civilizations: the chain’s motto, “Un Poco De Su Pais,” translates to “a little bit of your country.”

    While La Curacao enjoys strong levels of customer loyalty, its previous operating system sometimes left both customers and sales associates frustrated. Transactions could take a long time to complete, which prompted some sales associates to abort the process and start over.

  • The Cat Who Knew Linux

    I watched that cat go
    as my monitor gleamed and it glowed,
    my Linux desktop with Beryl endowed.

    He was gone in a flash and nowhere to be seen,
    but he left a wet spot on the floor, in front of my screen.

  • Desktop

    • Why Linux is Better than Mac (or, how I learned to stop worrying and love apt-get and debuild)

      However, if you know what you are doing, Macs Stink! This is really true if you are into open source software, because it is almost impossible to compile someone else’s code on a Mac, even if they wrote it for Mac.

    • Apple Faithful: Arrogance Is Not a Virtue, and Why I Will Never Buy a Mac

      Jason: “Yeah but it can it run Lotus 123 or WordStar? Can you go onto CompuServe or BBSes with it?”

      Andy: “Who cares? This thing is so cool!”

      Jason: “Enjoy. I’ll stick with my keyboard, character mode graphics and PC-XT.”

      Cousin Andy grew up to be a very nice, smart and successful guy and went into educational publishing. He got married and had a couple of kids, and is now a venture capitalist. But at that time, when I was 15 or 16, I just remember him as my know-it-all older first cousin. Andrew, I love you man, but you are responsible for creating the master template for my complete distaste for Mac Fanboyism and my eventual disassociation from anything Apple. Sorry.

    • The power of advertising?

      User: its good to be a #microsoft nerd because #apple is over rated and designed for asthetics and not functionability

      Goblin: Thats a joke right? Have you used a #MAC ? If you are into functionality and not aesthetics why not use Linux then? theres plenty of distro’s that will satisfy your “tech” thirst. Gentoo? you don’t have to use KDE or Gnome you know. I’d love to hear your comments on why Apple is overrated…I think you’ve bought into the “Laptop Hunter” ads. Oh dear.

    • Why I chose Ubuntu after trying Windows 7

      A couple of years ago I would probably easily dismiss the idea of trying out a new version of Windows on the basis of a Free Software ideology or the chorus of voices of Free Software or Open Source fans saying how it just sucks and I better not bother. But things have changed and while some may accuse me of betraying my own four freedoms or even worse the sin of promoting subjugation of computer users, my “evolution” (or de-evolution, perhaps, in some views), has exactly a lot to do with freedom. For what that’s worth to would be detractors, it’s freedom that I rediscovered, not that I betrayed.

      [...]

      I think it is becoming rather obvious why Ubuntu rears itself as a better choice here. Availability of production software is an issue that I face only a small minority of time. I mainly do web development or writing which I can easily do with tools readily available. Fun stuff like watching movies, listening to music, watching videos online, chatting etc. is all well supported. So the things that are missing are things which I need too sparsely to warrant switching to a new OS, let alone paying for it.

      [...]

      All in all, a good case is being built for popular, well supported Linux based OS’s like Ubuntu.

  • Server

    • Red Hat Linux helps to power Verizon’s Cloud

      Verizon Business rolled out its Computing as a Service (CaaS) product today, which brings the big carrier directly into the cloud marketplace. While the cloud is a compute infrastructure, it still needs an operating system and for Verizon that means both Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Microsoft Windows.

  • Kernel Space

    • NILFS: A File System to Make SSDs Scream

      The 2.6.30 kernel is chock full of next-gen file systems. One such example is NILFS, a new log-structured file system that dramatically improves write performance.

    • The holy grail of 100% uptime is a little bit closer

      Whether your a systems administrator managing hundreds or thousands of machines, or a freelance designer working on your trusty laptop, chances are that a mandatory system update has, at one time or another, interrupted your day with a mandatory reboot. When it’s just your laptop, it’s not so bad — get a refill on that coffee! — but when it’s hundreds or thousands of machines, it can be a logistical nightmare. Now a new company called KSplice is looking to make all our lives a little easier by applying system updates to a running computer without requiring a reboot!

  • Applications

    • Mumbles Brings Growl-like Notifications to your Gnome/Ubuntu Desktop

      You’ve certainly have bumped into Gmail Notifier for Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope, the awesome little python-install application that brings Growl-like, transparent Gmail notifications to your desktop, Mumbles goes a lot further than that.

    • DockbarX: Experimental Dockbar for Linux

      DockbarX is a taskbar with grouping and group manipulation with some “experimental” features compared to Docbark (it is not a fork of Dockbar, but a branch of DockBar holding new “experimental” features).

    • Catfish Searches Your Linux Desktop

      Linux only: Desktop search utility Catfish searches through your Linux desktop using the search engines already at your disposal—instead of installing yet another processor-intensive indexing engine.

    • What is eBox and Why Should You Care?

      Not only is mail handled, with POP3 and IMAP, but it is possible to use virtual domains for the mail and mail aliases are supported. If your business uses internal IM in addition to mail, the Jabber server is simple to set up.

    • Green Computing with Proxmox VE 1.2 and 3ware

      Proxmox VE 1.2 is running Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM-85) and OpenVZ on Debian 5.0. It is a 64-bit system and works with virtualization capable CPU. It equipped with a web-based control panel and allows you to create, delete and modify the virtual guests from it. You can also backup the virtual guests with cron job. It is a very good and easy way to implement the virtualization environment. However, Proxmox VE does not support fakeRAID and software RAID. A hardware RAID card is required.

    • 5 addicting open source games

      There are lots of games in the world of open source, which means lots of cheap fun. Well, sort of. Many of these games aren’t complete enough to be playable, others have been abandoned, and some just aren’t very fun. But there are many good open source games, and out of these a few are just amazing. So amazing, in fact, that you just might get addicted.

    • Synapse – A Cool New IM Application

      There is a new IM app on the block, its called Synapse, it is a new alpha application which means its not nearly finished yet, but from the screenshot it looks amazing!

      Here is some of Synapse’s Key Features that already stand out from all the others:

      * Grid View – A Compact way to see/browse your friends!
      * Activity Feed – Unified View for friends activity ie; Twitter, IM Status, Music playing & More!
      * Photo Sharing – Flickr Integration, Drag & Drop images to chat window!
      * Web Preview – Get a glance of a webpage or video behind a link right in your chat window when you send/share a link!
      * Code Sharing – Syntax Highlighted code blocks for easiy collaboration
      * Highly Extensible – Plugins are added with extreme ease, and the architecture wont hold developers back in creating new plugins/addons

  • Desktop Environments

    • Enlightenment E16 Reaches Version 1.0.0

      While Enlightenment E17 is still undergoing development, the Enlightenment E16 window manager has finally reached version 1.0.0. As Kim Woelders points out in the 1.0.0 release announcement, there are not any fundamental changes since version 0.16.8.15, but it just felt like it was time this X window manager reached the 1.0 status.

    • KDE

      • KDE 4: The Komplete Desktop?

        The desktop is very different to anything else experienced in the Linux world, although users familiar with previous revisions of KDE will feel some comfort. All installed applications are available from the K-button in the task bar and broken down by category. Unlike GNOME, KDE includes most configuration options under a central control centre and there are lots and lots of things users can tweak. This is one of the main issues which separates GNOME and KDE projects. GNOME tries to keep things simple while KDE offers a plethora of options and puts more power in the hands of the user. Although he currently uses GNOME (due to his disappointment with the KDE 4.0 release), Linus Torvalds said: “This ‘users are idiots, and are confused by functionality’ mentality of GNOME is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it. I don’t use GNOME, because in striving to be simple, it has long since reached the point where it simply doesn’t do what I need it to do. Please, just tell people to use KDE.”

      • Kcheckgmail Gets in the KDE 4 Door

        There are several programs to get mail notifications in the notification tray in KDE 4 but up until now there have been no native KDE ones: cgmail, and gnubiff rely alot on Gnome. There is the emailnotify plasmoid which isn’t too shabby but I wanted my notifications in the notification area!

      • KDE 4.2.4 a.k.a. CornRow Released

        The KDE Release Machine seems unstoppable these days! Today brings you KDE 4.2.4, the monthly update to the 4.2 series of KDE. KDE 4.2.4 is the recommended update for all those using KDE 4.2, or rather anything in the KDE 4 series. Those that stayed away from KDE 4 until now might give it a whirl as well to see if KDE 4 is up to their tasks.

      • KDE Community Improves Desktop with KDE 4.2.4
      • Amarok 2.1 “Let There Be Light” released

        Since the release of 2.0 we have gotten a lot of feedback and have already integrated some of it in 2.0.1 and 2.0.2. This new release includes a new look, many improvements, new features and brings back old favorites.

      • Amarok 2.1 Brings a Plethora of Cool Features

        As we’ve mentioned at the beginning of the article, there’s also a huge list of bugfixes and many other small improvements. And, as the developers always promised, future versions of Amarok 2.1 will bring even more of your favorite features… so stay tuned!

      • Amarok 2.1 Released
      • Amarok 2.1 released
      • Hooray, I Have Finally Found a Replacement for Amarok

        Gmusicbrowser has a lot more features that the ones in this post, I only wrote about the things I liked, but you will find an option for full-screen too, IDtag writer and many many others. Give Gmusicbrowser a try and let me know what you think!

  • Distributions

    • What is a Linux Distribution?

      To answer the original question of “what is a Linux distribution”, I’ll conclude by saying that it is just a version of the Linux kernel bundled with a graphic interface and some applications, the same way that there are home and professional versions of Windows. The biggest difference is that there are more Linux distributions than there are versions of Windows. In a later post I will present the most common Linux distribution and explain to which kind of usage they are best suited.

    • What is Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, openSUSE

      For a non-technical user of computer and internet, sometimes the terms like Linux, GNU, Gnome and name of any distro of Linux causes a lot of confusion. I intend to provide some simple information about major distros of Linux in this post.

    • Review: PC/OS 2009v2a

      Overall, I loved PC/OS. At first I wasn’t sure what to think of it, and really was somewhat underwhelmed to say the least. But the more I got to playing with it, the more it grew on me. After a while I found that I was rather impressed with all it offered and did.

    • Mandriva

      • Mandriva Linux 2010 is on the road

        2010 specifications are on the way and will be stored in svn. pdf file will be provided in wiki as during next week. This new coming release was also a good opportunity to launch Mandriva IdeasAs. This new web tool is dedicated to Mandriva community. Any user can easily submit proposal. It’s all free, you just need to register and get a Mandriva account.

      • Community ideas proposal for Mandriva 2010.0

        Some days ago, Anne Nicolas announced on Cooker ML the availability of a dedicated site to allow the community to propose ideas and wanted features for the next Mandriva release : http://ideas.mandriva.com/. Proposals can be sorted by environment, release, and version.

    • Gentoo

      • Gentoo dying? [Of course NOT]

        As the CIA.vc stats show, Gentoo is far from dead, whatever anyone else may claim. I’ll admit it wasn’t a typical day, but last month’s number of 10k commits speaks for itself.

      • Win7 versus Gentoo, round 2 [quick grub install for gentoo users]

        After getting past that… I downloaded the right CD image, but I to find a CD-R to burn it to. Finding a CD-R is not as easy as it once was, granted I could have used a DVD-R to burn the 80MB file, but that seemed like a waste. Anyways, once you have the right CD, here is a quick guide as to restore the MBR (all the steps were taken from the Gentoo Linux Handbook, pages 4, 6, 10).

    • Red Hat

      • Red Hat presents JBoss Enterprise Application Platform

        As part of its new JBoss Open Choice strategy, Red Hat has presented a uniform environment for utilising a range of different programming models. The JBoss Enterprise Application Platform software is the open source specialist’s answer to the growing demands on the various Java enterprise programming and deployment models.

      • Red Hat virtual desktop technology heads into beta tests

        Side-by-side Windows displays might be the last thing you would expect to see taking center stage at Red Hat’s booth at the recent Interop show in Las Vegas. But it makes sense when you consider they were part of a demo showcasing the company’s pursuit of what it sees as a huge opportunity: the emerging virtual desktop market.

      • Fedora 11: Raise thy Mighty… Finger?

        6. You are well known as a long time and very involved Fedora contributor. What are some of the other projects you worked on for this release?

        I worked on the (oh-so-controversial) volume control, updated Bluetooth management tools, and wrote/updated a driver for Wacom Bluetooth tablets.

        But work has already started for Fedora 12. With Dan Williams, we already added Bluetooth PAN support to NetworkManager, and we’re working on the front-end bits now. I’d like to do some more work on my old flames, Totem and Rhythmbox.

        I also have a drawer full of Bluetooth devices that I need to work on. I’m half-way done adding Geolocation to Firefox, for Linux platforms, using GeoClue. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish that and work on some more devices.

        7. What are you going to do to celebrate the release of Fedora 11?

        Probably raise my glass to it, and getting cracking on Fedora 12!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • USB Devices Offer Easy Remote Access

      If all you’re looking for is access to your data while you’re on the road, you can’t do much better than the $100 Pogoplug. The small (4 x 2.5 x 2-inch), white Pogoplug box is actually a mini file server that uses Linux software to allow remote connections, dole out files and save material remotely. It plugs into your network router and works with a variety of USB storage devices, such as external hard drives or USB keys.

    • Intel buys Wind River: the End of the Wintel Duopoly?

      Obviously, Intel has to tread carefully here, since it can’t trumpet that Linux side too much, but the reality is rather stronger than those neutral statements would suggest.

      When I interviewed Wind River’s Chief Marketing Officer last year, here’s what he said when I explored the Linux angle…

    • Phones

      • More changes at Openmoko

        Former Openmoko employees have already started redesigning the Freerunner hardware (gta02-core) using only Free Software tools. Werner Almesberger, working with many others, has made great progress. Recently, we have released more information to accelerate their efforts. In the coming weeks, all the design information will be handed over to the community along with all of openmoko.org (Wiki, GIT, Trac, Planet, …). Openmoko Inc. then will act as the sponsor of this effort. We will continue to fund all necessary server infrastructure and support, in areas where corporate help is needed, future open phone development. (Parts of this process will require legal work – so I request your patience.)

      • App stores to rule smartphone roost

        Application stores and services will drive the smartphone market in the coming years, say reports from Ovum and In-Stat. According to Ovum, mobile apps will help make the Linux/Java-based Android the fastest growing smartphone OS by 2014, giving it an 18 percent share of a $406.7 million market.

      • Google unveils Android 2.0

        Google demonstrated an early version of Android 2.0, codenamed “Donut,” at the Google I/O developer conference, and handed out free unlocked Android Dev Phones (pictured), says eWEEK. Android 2.0 adds integrated local and web search, handwriting gesture UI, Google Translate, and text-to-speech features, says the story.

      • Android Market to work on Intel’s Moblin

        Handheld devices running Moblin 2.0 will be able to access Google’s Android Market, potentially making the Intel operating system as appealing as Android for mobile carriers paid to host application downloads on their networks.

      • LiMo Foundation Readies Next Release

        The second version of the Linux software for mobile phones includes enhanced support for location-based services, advanced security, and multimedia playback improvements.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud Alpha release available

        The first Alpha release of the Joilicloud OS is available. Jolicloud is an Internet operating system. It combines the 2 driving forces of the modern computing industry: the open source & the open web.

      • Moblin Linux boosters go global

        Intel continues to push the adoption of the open-source Moblin Version 2 mobile operating system, today using the Computex show in Taipei, Taiwan as its bully pulpit.

      • GNUstep to go… on MIPS

        GNUstep is addictive, so one has to have it always handy… laptops, virtual machines, Windows port are means, but netbooks? The current trend?

      • The top four Linux netbook trends

        3) The ARM processors seem to be lagging behind the Intel Atom family. That said, Asus, Compal, Foxconn, HTC (High Tech Computer), Inventec, Toshiba, and Wistron all showed off Snapdragon-powered devices at the show. What I see as the ARM/Snapdragon problem is that it’s largely waiting on Android.

        Once Google Android arrives, I see this end of the netbook market exploding. The sub-$200, 6-hour+ battery life netbook with Google’s name on it is sure to sell like hot-dogs at a baseball game

      • Pixel Qi screen demo Live from Taipei

        This is it, the revolutionary LCD screen by Pixel Qi that turns your netbook into a Kindle by the flip of a switch. As you can see in this video, thanks to Pixel Qi technology, your next LCD screens can now be very usable outdoors as well under the sunlight, in a very high resolution black and white mode and also keep a full color and bright back light indoors mode.

      • Transflective netbook displays make Computex debut

        Amazon’s Linux-based Kindle and a growing cadre of primarily Linux-based e-books use an electrophorescent monochrome display sourced from E Ink Corporation. It’s claimed such displays offer a bright, high-contrast, thin, lightweight display technology that remains legible under “any lighting condition” — much like newsprint. Once an image has been “printed,” no power is needed to hold it, reducing energy requirements by 99 percent compared to LCDs, E Ink adds.

      • CPU Diversification: Ubuntu’s Gain, Microsoft’s Loss

        If ARM and other alternative architectures prove popular among PC vendors over the long term, Windows and OS X will be locked out of a substantial portion of the market, especially on netbooks and other portable devices. In the absence of proprietary platforms, the dominance of Ubuntu and other Linux distributions is all but assured.

      • Crunchpad

UNIX

  • Unix turns 40: The past, present and future of a revolutionary OS

    Forty years ago this summer, a programmer sat down and knocked out in one month what would become one of the most important pieces of software ever created.

  • Survey: Unix has a long and healthy future, say users

    Computerworld’s 2009 survey on Unix use shows that the OS will be alive and kicking for some time to come.

  • The Unix family tree
  • Timeline: 40 years of Unix
  • On the shoulders of giants: Three Unix movers and shakers

    Programmers Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie are most often credited with the invention of Unix at Bell Labs in 1969 and the early 1970s. That’s entirely fair, but as with most important technologies, it’s the people who follow the pioneers who often make the difference between a fabulous lab prototype and a technology that really transforms the landscape.

    Here’s a brief look at three people, among thousands, who have made a difference in the Unix world.

  • OpenSolaris 2009.06 Performance

    For the most part there are not many performance changes to be spotted in the 26 tests we ran using the Phoronix Test Suite. In some tests like GraphicsMagick, the newer GCC 4.3.2 compiler that is available via the Image Packaging System was a big help, while in other tests the newer GCC 4.x compiler actually led to a performance regression. Besides that there is not too much to illustrate with today’s tests. Shortly we will have a new round of Ubuntu Linux vs. OpenSolaris testing.

Free Software/Open Source

  • UI Design Proposals Wrap Up and a Look Forward

    The Project Renaissance goal is “to know and to understand our users as they are, and to help them accomplish what they want to, by providing efficient access to valuable functionality through a desirable user interface.”

    [...]

    After five weeks of design work and review, we can also provide other impressive numbers.
    All in all, 17 proposals were submitted and reviewed by our brilliant and creative community members. Please note that “creative” refers to information architecture— graphics design is outside our current focus.
    They contain a total of 145 user interface design mockups. (Wow!)

  • Jacksonville using Drupal

    Jacksonville, the largest city in Florida, is using Drupal (and Mollom) at http://jacksonville.com. The Florida Times-Union is the major daily newspaper in Jacksonville and Jacksonville.com is its official website. Cool!

  • Firefox

    • Fast as my browser

      Firefox 3.5 will be fast. Twice as fast as Firefox 3 to be precise. The question is, are you in the same league? Not rendering pages or running web applications (now, that would be seriously cool), but in any other skill. That’s what Fastest Firefox is all about.

    • Flock Browser Adds New Social Media Features

      Fortunately, the browser is highly customizeable and works with virtually all plugins and extentions designed for Firefox.

      There’s a lot to like about this new version of Flock. If you’re into social networking, then this is one broswer you’ll defintely want to take for a out for a test drive.

  • Business

    • Zenoss Releases Enterprise 2.4 With a Slew of New Features

      The folks at Zenoss have been busy. The open source network and systems monitoring vendor just released Zenoss Core 2.4 last month and announced today that its Enterprise edition has a new version out as well. Zenoss Enterprise 2.4 sports several new features and improvements, and also a little added incentive that many IT managers will have a hard time not giving a second look.

    • Is The BSA Purposely Promoting Open Source Alternatives?

      So, what is the BSA doing? Yes, that’s right, it’s pumping up its software audit program, sending 1,000 audit letters to companies in London, officially demanding they detail their software usage — while unofficially acting as a tremendous advertisement for open source software, where providers don’t treat their customers as if they were criminals.

    • Business and FOSS

      Back at a conference, someone said, “There are no free lunches.” I agree. But how about paying a small amount and you get to have the lunch and dessert as an assortment? Above that, you’re entertained as a privileged guest.

      [...]

      The most interesting thing that Open Source has to give the community of startups, bloggers, hackers, coders etc. is the ability to work from an environment which is driven by a society of like minded people and is free to use, share and extend. What sustains over a period of time is the bottom-up approach in which Open Source compels the amateur user to make what he wants; and if that’s good enough it survives and succeeds.

  • FSF/GNU

    • A FS song that doesn’t suck

      After a fair amount1 of research I found a Free Software Song that doesn’t make me puck. Instead, I find it actually nice.

  • Programming

    • New components for Sun Java Enterprise System 6

      Sun Microsystems has presented version 6 of its subscription-based “Java Enterprise System” software package at its JavaOne conference. Java ES 6 includes more suites and products than the previous version, for example the Sun Identity Management Suite and the Sun Java Composite Application Platform Suite (Java CAPS), which have been tested and integrated with the existing package components.

    • JavaFX 1.2 arrives, now running on Linux and Solaris

      At the JavaOne Conference Sun Microsystems has announced the release of version 1.2 of its rich internet application framework and language – JavaFX. Numerous features have been added, including skinnable UI controls, better layout, local data storage, RSS/Atom feed support, chart support, improved dialogues and remodelled event processing.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Watch Video…without Flash

      Dailymotion is excited to launch a new R&D platform dedicated to open video formats and web standards: openvideo.dailymotion.com. You don’t need the Adobe Flash plugin to watch videos on this platform – the only requirement is the latest version of Firefox, 3.5 beta, available here.

    • Google to slip SVG into Internet Explorer

      Microsoft might be hesitating on Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) in Internet Explorer 8, but Google’s pressing on.

      The search giant’s engineers are building a JavaScript library to render static and dynamic SVG in Microsoft’s browser. Google promised that the library, a Javascript shim, will simply drop into IE.

Leftovers

  • Can Washington Charge Unauthorized Downloaders With Tax Evasion?

    A bunch of states have been pushing forward with plans to add taxes on digital downloads. The state of Washington apparently passed just such a law, which is scheduled to go into effect on July 26th. Nate sent in a note, pointing out that under a strict reading of the details of the bill you could see how the state could go after unauthorized downloaders as “tax evaders.”

  • Copyrights

    • Anti-Piracy Groups Target Australia’s Children

      Several prominent film and TV anti-piracy groups and other industry bodies have teamed up to create yet another group, this time with the aim, among other things, to teach Australia’s children that copyright infringement is wrong.

    • Aussie anti-piracy battle moves into schools

      The Australian film and television industry will take its fight against piracy into schools courtesy of a newly-formed body, the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation (IPAF).

    • News Corps.’ Jon Miller Continues His War Against Free; Wants Hulu To Charge

      His latest suggestion, as sent in by robert, is that Hulu should start making shows available by paid subscription only. In other words, take all the good that Hulu did to get people to watch TV online with ads, rather than downloading unauthorized versions… and put it behind a paywall, to drive people right back to unauthorized downloads where there is no ad revenue.

    • Cher, Sonny Bono heirs sue Universal Music for $5 million

      Cher has sued Universal Music Group, claiming that the label’s creative accounting has shortchanged her and the heirs of her late ex-husband Sonny Bono to the tune of $5 million.

    • Ex-Conference Board Author Speaks Out; Confirms “Push Back” From Copyright Lobby Funders

      The following was posted late yesterday by Curtis Cook, one of the listed authors on the plagiarized Conference Board of Canada reports. Cook’s experience sheds new light on the Conference Board plagiarism story, including interference from copyright lobby funders, the exclusion of deBeer’s research from the report, and the decision to lay blame on Cook, who had left the organization almost a full year before publication of the reports. Cook’s response has been reposted as a full blog post with his permission:

    • Kiwi wants RIAA MediaSentry evidence suppressed

      RIAA victim Jammie Thomas’ new lawyer, Kiwi K.A.D. Camara, has taken the bull by the horns, demanding all MediaSentry evidence be suppressed.

    • Political Leader Threatens Court Action Over P2P “3 Strikes”

      The head of Spain’s Popular Party says he will take legal action if the government implements Internet disconnection for alleged file-sharers. Leader of the opposition Mariano Rajoy says that if the Prime Minister of Spain mimics Sarkozy and brings in a “3 strikes” regime, he will take the whole issue to court.

    • Green Party on ‘copyright problems’

      The Greens want, “an open Intellectual Property (IP) policy,” says the party in the intro. And that would include, “Access to internet content and knowledge”.

    • ISPs ignore RIAA call

      IT LOOKS like the big music cartel’s claim that ISPs were working with them to shut down Internet filesharing was premature and overstated.

      At the end of last year the RIAA admitted it’s practice of threatening to drag old ladies and children into court unless they paid it shedloads of money on somewhat dubious evidence wasn’t working out. Instead it said it would be working with ISPs that would shut the ‘pirates’ down.

Wind River Acquired by Convicted Criminal Organisation

Posted in Deals, GNU/Linux, Hardware, Kernel at 9:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Intel: criminal inside

Summary: Wind River, a Linux vendor in part, gets bought by a vicious company that bribes, extorts, and then destroys evidence

INTEL is buying Wind River. It is already trying to suck up to GNU/Linux users* and make them forget its many attacks and continuous suppression not only of rival chipmakers but GNU/Linux too. Intel resorted to crime in the process, with convictions in several continents to confirm this independently after many years of thorough investigation. But there are other serious ramifications.

“Those two companies are already collaborating on systems in automobiles.”“This acquisition would be severe conflict of interest. Very little embedded systems are, or for that matter should be, developed for x86,” writes one of our readers.

“Look at the netbook problems, OLPC for example. Or look at power consumption. x86 use more than one watt. ARM-based units use a fraction of that. You can find even camcorders that use 0.4 watts.

“The embedded systems market would do infinitely better to keep Wind River far away from Wintel,” he concludes.

Those two companies are already collaborating on systems in automobiles. It’s just about landgrab for Intel and it is sad to see a criminal company gaining strength while swallowing a large (and ever-growing) Linux distributor.

Related posts:

____
* The thinking is that less informed people may never find out the truth or instead say, “they are criminals, but they are the criminals on our side.”

Is Steve Ballmer Blackmailing Obama?

Posted in America, Bill Gates, Finance, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 8:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Press conference

Summary: Ballmer tells the US government that he will move his workforce to “cheaper” places unless he receives excessive, illegitimate tax relief

WHEN Steve Ballmer and his wife Connie Snyder passed a bribe to the Obama administration (in the form of “sponsorship”) it became pretty evident that whichever party gets elected, it will remain most open… to business. Just watch what the MPAA and RIAA are up to with Obama and Biden. Microsoft is a similar story [1, 2, 3].

Here is a recent summary of articles about Microsoft debt and tax evasion. The short story is that Microsoft is not doing so well financially and it continues to cheat tax systems around the world in order to leave it for others pay tax. Bill Gates hardly pays any tax, either. He and Warren Buffett get exemptions for "charity". It looks decent to the outside world and also works better for accounting.

But these important issues left aside, it all brings us to today’s big story. As the Los Angeles Times puts it, “Ballmer threatens Obama” now.

[T]he software giant’s chief executive, Steve Ballmer, made it clear that the company’s charitable views don’t extend to paying what it considers unfair U.S. tax rates: Ballmer threatened to move more jobs overseas if President Obama prevails with his proposal to end tax breaks on foreign earnings.

As we showed 2 weeks ago, Microsoft already favours jobs overseas. There is a lot more in Bloomberg.

Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Officer Steven Ballmer said the world’s largest software company would move some employees offshore if Congress enacts President Barack Obama’s plans to impose higher taxes on U.S. companies’ foreign profits.

One of our contributors summarised this report as follows: “Steven Ballmer threatens Obama saying he will move employees offshore if Congress enacts Obama’s plans to impose higher taxes on U.S. companies’ foreign profits.

“Wages in the Unites States have been stagnant for about as long as the currency was not tied to gold.”To Microsoft, it’s never about Americans or about employees. It’s about profit, shareholders, and power.

“It makes U.S. jobs more expensive,” Steve Ballmer is quoted as saying (in Bloomberg). As MinceR puts it, if “War is Peace” (Orwell, 1984), then “Wealth is Expensive”. Another, righter way for Ballmer to put it would be: “It raises wages for American people” or “it helps the US economy recover by helping families through higher wages.”

Wages in the Unites States have been stagnant for about as long as the currency was not tied to gold. And companies continued to rob employees, taking a portion of their deserved wages and then selling it back to them via financial institutes, as loans with extortionate interest rates, which means even more money for the wealthy.

Needless to say, none of this whole routine is particularly new. Learning about Abramoff visas might help.

There is more coverage of this in:

One reader, DaemonFC, has suggested that we share the following video, from which we produced an Ogg version too.

Ogg Theora

Direct link

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