Posted in Site News at 8:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IT has come to our attention that impolite messages have been sent out which do not represent the views of this Web site but make it look as though they do. In a similar vein, a group of disruptors entered the IRC channel in recent days and uttered things that are intended to paint this site in a negative light. It was group work from the same people who had attacked us from other Web sites.

It is important to stress that such statements are by no means representative of this site’s message. It is hard to regulate such things because we don’t censor. Any advice would be appreciated.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: June 11th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.

Microsoft IP Ventures and Intellectual Ventures

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 7:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Intellectual property is the next software.”

Nathan Myhrvold, Microsoft patent troll

Summary: Vultures of intellectual monopolies seek to turn a dying business model into one of racketeering

Microsoft has produced the world’s largest patent troll, Nathan Myhrvold [1, 2], whom Bill Gates supports financially. Bill Gates has his own patent-trolling firm [1, 2], but it is still a lot younger (although growing).

This is not something to be overlooked because GNU/Linux is hurting Microsoft financially and Microsoft is already suing Linux (“then they fight you”) while it's borrowing money and blackmailing the president.

Microsoft continues to show that it is devising a new business model where software patents are near the centre. So far we’ve found coverage in:

Microsoft IP Ventures launches new Irish tech startup

InishTech, a new startup formed through the collaboration between Microsoft IP Ventures and Enterprise Ireland, is entering the Irish market to relaunch Microsoft Software Licensing and Protection (SLP) Services.

The Dublin-based new startup has assumed the responsibility for the existing customer base, acquired all rights to SLP Services and licensed related intellectual property from Microsoft. It will continue to provide, expand and grow the service to independent software vendors (ISVs) and developers.

Microsoft spins out software-protection tech

Microsoft said on Tuesday that it is spinning out as a separate business a two-year-old effort that licenses its software-protection technologies to other companies.

In the past two years, Microsoft has signed up 120 companies to use the software activation and licensing technologies, including its own eHome unit. But it decided creating an independent company was the way to go.

The new venture, dubbed InishTech, will be based in Ireland. Microsoft will retain a stake in the company as well as an observer seat on its board of directors. Microsoft also plans to be a customer of the company.

Microsoft spins out intellectual property business

Microsoft has spun out an intellectual property business unit it acquired two years ago, apparently to control the company’s costs.

Microsoft spins off licensing business to launch new startup

Interestingly enough, it’s called “Microsoft IP Ventures”, which sounds awfully similar to the company’s offshoot, “Intellectual Ventures”. Microsoft thinks it has a plan. That’s why it’s working so hard behind the scenes to approve and legitimise software patents, even in Europe. The FFII has just spotted the following:

In its edition of IP Value 2007, the Intellectual Asset Magazine (IAM) was publishing an article about the Reform of European Patent System, where an expert (Alison Crofts from Dorsey & Whitney) mentions that the push for the EPLA is coming from the pro-software patents lobby:

The industry-based driving force behind the EPLA comes from the pro-software patent group as a way to ensuring that their software or potential software patents are fully enforceable across Europe.

This needs to be stopped. The EPO is not doing its job [1, 2].

Russia to Microsoft: Stop Forcing People to Buy Windows

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 6:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Microsoft’s uncompromisable bundling of Windows leads to antitrust probe in Russia

IN THE month of April we saw Microsoft dumping software on Russia in order to stifle GNU/Linux progress and/or antitrust action (both are related to one another).

Ever since then, we’ve seen Microsoft Russia trying to control/reduce the damage, but amid visits to nearby regions Microsoft Russia got exposed and antitrust action initiated [1, 2, 3], culminating in what officially become a probe into Microsoft’s bundling practices. From yesterday’s news:

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service said Wednesday that it had opened a case against six major notebook producers, following consumers’ complaints that they were being forced to buy Microsoft’s Windows operating system along with new computers.

The issue of bundling is one which we previously discussed (with external references) in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

How Microsoft Failed to Work with Free Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Hardware, IBM, Microsoft, SUN, Windows at 6:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Linux is a cancer that attaches itself in an intellectual property sense to everything it touches.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Summary: Why Microsoft chose to maintain a bully’s attitude (unlike IBM or SUN, for example)

MICROSOFT has always been an aggressor. Suffice to say, there is plenty of hard evidence to back this conviction (e.g. recent ECIS document) and those whom Microsoft pressured range from OEMs (partners) to competitors, and even customers who were forced to pay for software they did not want. None of this has changed recently. There is more pretending for sure, but then again, from planning in the Halloween Documents, Microsoft has already moved on to suing Linux directly (no use or need for intermediates like SCO anymore).

Microsoft later wonders why folks publicly denounce it for describing them as “zealots” and some such. A more classic case of hypocrisy hardly exists, but any big company thrives in the supposition that only the small guys can be “zealots” and big, wealthy guys are always right and reasonable. This applies to politics too.

Anyway, someone has just published a list of “Microsoft’s Worst Mistakes” and there is a portion there which is dedicated to Microsoft’s attitude towards GNU/Linux.

Microsoft’s agreement with vendors to sell only the Windows OS has been significantly challenged with free software operating systems such as Linux. Linux is the most prominent free operating system and is both cost-effective and versatile. Though Windows continues to dominate the desktop and pc market, in February of 2008, Linux powered 85% of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. One of the key strengths of Linux according to free software proponents is that it respects a user’s essential freedoms; the freedom to run it, to study and change it, and to redistribute copies with or without changes. Microsoft could do well with its own version of Linux.

Microsoft is terrified of the GNU GPL (the antithesis of Letter to Hobbyists), so that last bit is not likely to materialise. Microsoft’s core business model is the selling of licences to run binaries; unlike SUN and IBM, Microsoft does not really sell hardware, so the idea of giving software away is far fetched and almost alien. As argued in the following video, Microsoft is used to crushing threat, so to expect anything but bullying would be almost unthinkable.

Ogg Theora

There is another new report in the Asian press which shows that Microsoft is trying to divide Linux and FOSS (or OSS and the GPL, or standards and “interoperability”) in order to promote its own software licences, to promote Windows, and to promote patent-encumbered bridges that act as a taxing mechanism applying only to Microsoft’s competition.

De la Cruz noted that a few projects from the Interoperability Lab have been put into commercial use and that many more could be developed out of the facility.

Some people in the Philippines are already fooled by this poisonous olive branch. Perhaps they do not pay attention to contemporary abuse like whisper campaigns and they do so at their own peril.

“Windows users can be summed up in three categories: those who know nothing about computers, those who care nothing about computers, and those who exploit the first two groups.”

Wise saying

Rally to Put More Mono in Ubuntu Backfires, Users Left Concerned by Mono

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 5:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: The Mono trap uses disinformation to spread itself, leading to more dissatisfied users

IN RECENT posts that specifically mention Banshee we showed that Mono is good for Microsoft, a few Ubuntu moderators refuse to hear about it, Ubuntu users reject Banshee, and Novell employees are promoting Banshee in social networks like Reddit. This comes after Ubuntu had promoted a Mono lobbyist, who calls it “Monobuntu” (sarcastically he claims) whilst pushing for Banshee to be included in Ubuntu 9.10 by default.

According to the following new analysis, those very same Mono lobbyists are using disinformation (gentle word for “lies”) to promote Banshee. To quote some of the pertinent details:

Here, let’s take a look at one of the main things that get’s me going about mono-supporters.

There is a strong push to get Banshee in as the default media player in Ubuntu. Here’s my take on that.

The first lie: Banshee saves space.

As near as I can tell, the whole thing really got going from an apebox.org “rant” back around April. In this [cough]fact-filled[/cough] post, the assertion is made that 6.1 MiB will be saved on the LiveCD by replacing “bloated C-based” Rhythmbox with Banshee.

This, like most pro-mono propaganda is about 25% truth/ 75% lie. You see, it doesn’t count the accompanying documentation of Rhythmbox. The apebox.org ranter casually cedes the point on page 4 or so of this thread, pretending all the while like space was “never really my main argument.”


It’s my opinion that despite protestations of “oh, I’m just looking out for the best application”, it is clear the initial thrust of getting Banshee into Ubuntu as the default media player was based on the pro-mono agenda of simply pushing mono apps.

Let me be clear on my position: if people want to use mono apps, well then, drop it in the repos and drive on Power Ranger. It is the constant “shove it down their throats” of the pro-mono brigade which offends me the most.

Mindshare is very important; it is why all that shovelware pays to have their crappy applications on the WinXP OEM desktop. It is a major “win” for mono to be included by default, because then mono-supporters can simply point to some existing application and say “well, that mono app is already in, so why not this one?”

That’s precisely the problem. By ganging up against popular distributions like Ubuntu they can then spread the perception that a lot of GNU/Linux users have Mono installed, which thus gives it legitimacy. Yesterday we found an example of a person who may have to leave Ubuntu because of Mono. GNOME is negatively affected too.

I know that Microsoft is opposed to the existence of Linux. That have said so, often and stridently. I know that Novell caved in and did not stand up for FOSS when they had the chance. They have since apologized, sort of, but the damage is done. Other companies did not follow suit, including Red Hat and Canonical. I respect them for this as much as I detest Novell for selling us down the drain.

Mono is not only a reminder of that sellout, but its legal status is far from settled. Novell and Microsoft can’t agree on who can distribute it. Microsoft takes the position that their agreement only covers Novell and not other distributions. Novell thinks otherwise. I do not care. Nothing that comes from Microsoft can be for our good and benefit. They are dedicated to our destruction and downfall.

Mono has infected Gnome. Ubuntu uses Gnome. I switched to Kubuntu and am happy with it. Now Moonlight is infecting Linux. Canonical is compromising its principles in the use of them and in my using their products I am forced to compromise my own values.

Will Ubuntu (or Canonical) listen to its users? Will it also listen to the warning signs from Microsoft?

“There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.”

Bob Muglia, Microsoft President

Microsoft’s Worst Patch Tuesday Ever, Intent to Shut Out the Security Industry

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 5:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Microsoft unable to handle security; excludes third-party security vendors rather than assist them

IT IS well understood that Microsoft keeps a lot of the flaws in its software secret and it patches them secretly too [1, 2, 3]. So the latest reports about Microsoft patching 31 vulnerabilities must note that 31 is a lower bound, and that’s to be generous. On paper at least, this number is said to be the worst ever.

All told, June’s patch drop fixes a total of 31 vulnerabilities, a whopping amount of work for anyone who has to test and validate the fixes.

There is more coverage in The Register and in IDG, which says that “Microsoft sets record.”

Vista 7 will not be secure either. But in order to improve perception of security, Microsoft will distribute separately a ‘feature’ which is said to solve a problem that should not have existed in the first place.

Microsoft Corp is getting ready to unveil a long-anticipated free anti-virus service for PCs that will compete with products sold by Symantec Corp and McAfee Inc.

This is likely only to reduce security. It harms independent companies and thus slows down development. Internet Explorer 6 monoculture, for example, had a chilling effect on the Web. Only competition drives progress.

Links 11/06/2009: KDE 4.3 and Firefox 3.5 RCs Are Nearer, Linux 2.6.30 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 4:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Interview with Bob Sutor

    In this episode of Open Voices, Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin talks with newly appointed VP of Linux and Open Source at IBM Bob Sutor. They cover IBM’s current support of Linux, the origin of that support, and the hotspots Bob sees in the Linux and open source market today. Highlights include conversation about cloud computing, Linux on the desktop, ODF, and the growth of the Linux community.

  • New Linux tool helps manage guest virtual machines

    With the increasing prevalence of virtualization comes the greater need for management of “guest” operating systems that run as virtual machines on the hypervisor, and the tool called libguestfs is set to provide that on Linux.

    Libguestfs is a library for accessing and modifying guest vms and can be used for making batch configuration changes to guests, viewing and editing files inside guests, getting disk statistics, migrating between virtualization systems, performing partial guest backups and clones, cloning guests and changing system information of Linux and Windows guests among other things.

  • Active Media Products Launches Penguin USB Flash Drive

    Active Media Products (AMP) today announced a new WWF Penguin USB flash drive that is offered in capacities up to 16GB. Under its licensing agreement with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) AMP develops and sells a series of portable USB flash drives in the likeness of endangered species, and contributes five percent of the retail price of this product line to WWF.

  • The USB Penguin: For the Linux Nerd in Your Life.

    Do you know someone who hates every commercial operating system with a passion that borders on the manic? Do they own a fleet of laptops, netbooks, and desktop PCs all loaded up with different Linux distros? If so, your holiday shopping just got a heck of a lot easier. Active Media Products just released the perfect gift for Linux nerds young and old.

  • Linux-Based Cell Phone Netbook Dream Machine

    A real Linux computer offers up endless options. Suppose I don’t want to pay for 3G service? No problem, ordinary wifi is fine, though a bit more trouble, and I can set up VoIP for free. Using any standard Linux distribution is the way to go; then you have access to the distro repositories and thousands of applications, and all of the flexibility and power of a real Linux, instead of a mangled, non-functional excuse of a Linux.

    I’m going to wait a little longer because I want that perfect trifecta: 3G-capable, long battery life, and low price tag, which to me means under $400. And maybe even one of these newfangled non-Intel CPUs that Windows won’t work on, and probably never will. Not only because I don’t care for Windows, but because they promise better efficiency, performance and low power consumption. And more choice in the marketplace.

  • Desktop

    • Linux: not just for geeks any more

      In times of economic turmoil, when companies large and small are looking for ways to cut costs, open source solutions like Ubuntu (which is free) can be the answer to many computing needs across an increasingly broad spectrum.

    • Ubuntu, almost two weeks in

      Well, the laptop has been running Ubuntu Studio 9.06 (64bit) for almost two weeks and so far the verdict is: Bye-Bye Vista!

      The improvements in the laptop’s performance using Ubuntu vs Vista is quite noticeable.

    • Fun Wallpapers: The Linux Desktop Edition

      Yeah, it’s a little ironic that we’d put together a collection of Linux wallpapers since we cover mostly Microsoft topics—but we’re also fans of open-source goodness and use Linux all the time.

    • CrunchBang Linux is best for old notebook

      It is also interesting looking because it makes use of Conky, which is a free software system monitor for the X Window System. and since it is prominently sitting on the desktop, it makes it seem easy to check it out and start to configure it, with all the examples out there it really isn’t that tough. CrunchBang ran great on that 192MB of RAM dinosaur with Firefox running (with the included Adobe Flash, by the way!), only bogging down when the Package Manager was also running.

      All in all, whether or not your PC is old and worn out, CrunchBang Linux is a great player in Linux arena!

  • Kernel Space

    • Trusted Computer Solutions Offers Free Trial of Industry’s Only Automated System Lock-Down and Security Management Solution

      Trusted Computer Solutions, Inc. (TCS), a leading developer of cross domain, operating system and network security software, today announced that it is offering a free trial version of its award-winning Security Blanket™ product for Linux. Security Blanket is a system lock-down and security management tool that enables systems administrators to automatically configure and enhance the security level for Operating Systems (OS) including Red Hat Enterprise Linux versions 4 and 5, Solaris version 10, CentOS versions 4 and 5, Fedora version 10 and Oracle Enterprise Linux versions 4 and 5.

    • nVidia Linux Display Driver – 185.18.14

      Release Highlights

      * Improved compatibility with recent Linux kernels.
      * Fixed a Xinerama drawable resource management problem that can cause GLXBadDrawable errors in certain cases, such as when Wine applications are run.
      * Fixed XineramaQueryScreens to return 0 screens instead of 1 screen with the geometry of screen 0 when XineramaIsActive returns false. This conforms to the Xinerama manual page and fixes an interaction problem with Compiz when there is more than one X screen.

    • Linux Kernel 2.6.30 released

      After eight release candidates and a rather short development cycle, Linus Torvalds has released Linux version 2.6.30, dubbed “Man-Eating Seals of Antiquity”. As with its predecessors on the main development line of Linux, it introduces a host of innovations.

    • Fine tuning

      Although it wasn’t explicitly planned this way, a whole lot of the changes made in the new kernel version have an impact on file systems and data storage. There are, however, also plenty of changes elsewhere, for example faster booting, more efficient compression algorithms and hundreds of new and improved drivers.

    • SquashFS: Not Just for Embedded Systems

      As we’ve demonstrated over the past several weeks, there are no shortage of new file systems in the latest version of Linux. (See NILFS: A File System to Make SSDs Scream, Linux Don’t Need No Stinkin’ ZFS: BTRFS Intro & Benchmarks and ext4 File System: Introduction and Benchmarks)

  • Applications

    • A Linux Day of Gratitude

      There are a couple of ways to get Audacity 1.3.4. I could grab the source tarball and build from sources. I could look for a backport. I could install a different Linux version that has it. I opted for installing a new Linux because it also gives me the opportunity to check out a different distro. OK so the one I chose isn’t so very different– Ubuntu 9.04 with KDE4, Gnome, XFCE, and a couple of other desktop environments. I have two hard drives with something like a gazillionbytes of storage, so I used GParted to create a 60-gigabyte partition for the new installation.

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE 4.3 Beta 2 Release Announcement

      June 9th, 2009. The KDE Community today announced the immediate availability of KDE 4.3 Beta 2, the second preview of the 3rd iteration over the KDE 4 desktop, applications and development platform.

  • Distributions

    • Microcore and Qemu

      Microcore is a version of Tinycore that has no graphical environment. It is even smaller than Tinycore, with the CD image being only 7 MB. It looks like a reasonably useful text based minimal operating system that you could use to build your own version on. You could add in utilities like antivirus, etc… to suit your needs.

    • Red Hat

    • Ubuntu

      • Review: Linux Mint 7

        Overall, I’m very impressed with Linux Mint 7. It’s once again outdone itself and easily holds the title as one of the best new user distributions out there. When I first loaded it up, I was worried that they had reached their pinnacle and Mint 7 would be their first step down as every distro does after a while. Some just sooner than others.

        But nope, Mint 7 is still climbing the mountain to bigger, better, greater, faster, and more awesome than all of it’s predecessors. It’s always encouraging to see a distro always getting better, despite how good it was before.

      • Getting to the root of Ubuntu.

        Well I am one of those who went to Debian after using Ubuntu, Kubuntu to be exact. In my case I did a complete reinstall from scratch. Just the other day as I was squeezing my personal installation into the latest testing mold it struck my mind that if I could do this sort of work easily with aptitude then why not try and convert Ubuntu to Debian.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Iomega: EMC’s entry to be at the center of your home

      Schwartz’s plan: Make Iomega’s storage software—a derivative of what is used in EMC’s enterprise systems—consumer friendly so that it takes four clicks to set up. Behind the scenes Iomega would include EMC technology from RSA and other units. Schwartz said EMC retooled Iomega’s software from scratch on the Linux kernel. The benchmark: “Whoever your partner is in life should be able to use this software in 5 minutes,” said Schwartz.

    • Android In Netbooks Makes Headway; To Nibble At Windows Shr

      Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is pinning high hopes on its next-generation operating system Windows 7 to spur PC upgrades, but growing interest in open-source platforms in low-cost computers could potentially nibble at the company’s long dominance in operating systems.

    • Palm Pre breaks Sprint sales records

      The Wall Street Journal cites one such analyst who pegs the sales figures at somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 units sold. Meanwhile, a J.P. Morgan report estimates more than 50,000 units were punted in the first two days.

    • Moblin on the Nettop – First Steps

      The desktop and menus are significantly different than any of the “typical” Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu, Mandriva, Fedora or openSuSE. I don’t even find them to be much like the Ubuntu Netbook Remix – if anything, my first impression of the desktop is better than it was with UNR, I find it to be less cluttered and more intuitive.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Community-Built Software: What I Learned from Calagator, Audrey Eschright

    Many open source projects start with a single developer trying to scratch an itch by making a new tool for their own use. But what if the need to be addressed is bigger, and affects more people? How can the creation of open source software involve a whole community?

  • Yahoo! exposes very own stuffed elephant code

    Yahoo! will not restrict access to the code, which will be available here from the Yahoo! developer network. It will merely require an agreement before downloading. The first release will be Hadoop version 0.20, which is now under alpha test inside the company.

  • Talking with Jim Messer, CEO of Transverse

    Transverse offers their solution via an open source GPL license, which carries no license fees. Users wanting advanced functionality, professional support, documentation, training and product extensions, can contact Transverse when they are ready for a commercial relationship.

  • Tiny Hospital Adopts Open Source EHR

    The 11-bed critical access hospital expects deployment to take three months. Medsphere originally created OpenVista as a commercialized version of the Department of Veteran Affairs’ VistA system. The vendor now makes the software available for free on the open source market and generates revenue by offering support and expertise. Users of the software share best practices and improvements through medsphere.org.

  • World Plone Day Malta

    The 2009 World Plone Day event in Malta took place at the end of March at The Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise in Valletta, the capital city of Malta. The conference was one of many events held around the globe to celebrate and recognise the achievements of the Plone community and latest technological developments from the content management system.

  • Enterprises cut costs with open-source routers

    Frustrated, Noble decided to investigate yet another option: open-source routers. Aware of the open-source movement’s impact on technologies ranging from server platforms to VoIP telephony, he decided that an open-source router ultimately could turn out to be a smart, flexible and cost-effective choice. Curious, he downloaded software from open-source router vendor Vyatta onto a laptop and ran some preliminary tests.

  • EndNote maker’s lawsuit over open-source Zotero dismissed

    The makers of the commercial reference management application EndNote have sued an open source alternative called Zotero, claiming that its ability to import EndNote files violated its creators’ software license. That case has now been dismissed, leaving Zotero in the clear.

  • Firefox

  • OpenSolaris

    • OpenSolaris 2009.06: Getting Better All The Time

      Over the weekend, I had the chance to take a look at Sun Microsystems‘ latest OpenSolaris 2009.06, which it released during last week’s JavaOne conference. The last time I had a look at OpenSolaris, it was just over a year ago, back in May of 2008.

      Much as it is with community Linux releases such as Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora or OpenSUSE, OpenSolaris 2009.06 is an evolutionary, rather than a revolutionary improvement over the initial 2008.05 build. All the major open source packages have been refreshed, as it is to be expected, and for the most part, OpenSolaris provides a comparable user experience to most Linux distributions.

    • OpenSolaris 2009.06 released, new ARM port announced

      Sun has announced the availability of OpenSolaris 2009.06, the third major release of the operating system. An experimental ARM port has also been released.

    • OpenSolaris for embedded systems

      The OpenSolaris developers have announced the release of the first port of OpenSolaris for ARM processors. The release runs on the ARM v6K architecture (ARM11 MPCore) and supports version 2 of the VFP floating-point extension.

  • Business


    • The Software Freedom Law Show

      In this episode, Karen and Bradley take questions that listeners have emailed and dented to them over the past few months.

  • Government

    • Open government requires pragmatic approach, advocate says

      Chris Messina applauds the City of Vancouver for endorsing the principles of open-source software, open standards, and open data.

      But the open-Web advocate told the Georgia Straight that, for council’s decision on May 21 to have a real impact, the city must clearly define what these terms mean.

    • Federal Government To Upgrade Open-Source NHIN Connect Software

      The Federal Health Architecture is planning to significantly upgrade its Connect software that links organizations to the Nationwide Health Information Network, Government Health IT reports.

  • Openness

    • UHV professor publishes third computer book

      His book “Utilizing Open Source Tools for Online Teaching and Learning: Applying Linux Technologies,” will be released in July through publisher IGI Global, based in Hershey, Pa.

      “The book focuses on strategies for using and evaluating open source products for online teaching and learning systems,” Chao said. “These are programs that aren’t copyrighted and can be altered by anyone without cost.”

    • Open source, digital textbooks coming to California schools

      The cash-strapped Golden State has decided that, starting next school year, schools will be able to use open source, digital textbooks for a number of math and science subjects. Ars talked with Brian Bridges, the Director of the California Learning Resources Network, which will be reviewing the texts, to find out more about what the program entails.


  • Yet Another E-Voting Glitch; This One Adds 5,000 Phantom Votes

    Another election using e-voting machines… and another set of stories concerning massive problems. Slashdot points us to the news that a local election in Rapid City, South Dakota, was about to go to a runoff after no one hit the 50% mark, when someone finally noticed that the 10,488 vote total seemed a bit high. So, they went back and recounted the actual ballots, and discovered only 5,613 people voted, but the software added up the votes incorrectly. Once again, we’re left wondering why it’s so difficult to do simple arithmetic — and why e-voting companies like ES&S are so against allowing experts to look at their source code and maybe help catch some of these bugs before they totally screw up an election.

  • Scanner glitch blamed for election miscounts

    A Pennington County computer software accounting error, and lack of a manually compiled city tally sheet, were blamed Wednesday for reporting mistakes in Tuesday’s municipal and school election results.

  • Google

    • Google plots Exchange escape with Outlook plug-in

      Google has developed a way to help companies move onto Google Apps–and away from Microsoft’s Exchange e-mail software–without forcing a migration to the Gmail user interface.

    • Android scripting on-the-go is go

      Google has announced the Android Scripting Environment (ASE) which allows Android users to write and run scripts in Python, Lua and BeanShell on an Android phone. Scripts have access to many of the Android APIs and are able to start activities, send text messages, make phone calls and read location and other sensor information.

    • Google I/O Foretells the Future of the Internet

      The free Android phone was a splash at the 2009 Google I/O Conference, but the company’s introduction of six novel technologies was something more like a tidal wave. Here’s Linux Magazine’s report. The future starts now.

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Phorm gets £15m lifeline

      It’ll use the cash to cover its operating costs while ISPs continue to mull its web monitoring and profiling system.

    • Newspapers’ Plan For Survival: Charge Money, Beat Up On Craigslist And Keep Repeating To Ourselves That We’re Needed

      There’s been plenty of coverage about the potentially antitrust-violating meeting of newspaper execs in Chicago recently, and late last week reports came out about some of the recommendations put forth by the American Press Institute at that meeting. The API apparently handed out two whitepapers, both of which are amusing, only in that someone actually thinks they’re useful. The first was effectively saying: “Craigslist really sucks, so let’s try to beat up on Craigslist.”

  • Copyrights

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