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Bill Gates Wants to Maximise “Patented Stuff”

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Bill Gates, DRM, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 3:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: In a Microsoft conversation that gives away fear of Apple, Gates still shows his desire to encumber computer components with patents

TODAY’s Comes vs Microsoft exhibit is Exhibit PX07255 (2003) [PDF]. It is a relatively recent exchange of E-mails (relative to the rest of the exhibits prepared for this case).

The full text can be read below (or by using the original PDF scan), but here are the fun bits for the impatient.

Jim Allchin, who managed (or co-managed) Windows at the time, wrote:

There is no question we are being clocked by Apple in a number of dimensions.

Well, that’s quite telling. The rest of the message is interesting too.

Amir Majidimehr, whom we mentioned in [1, 2, 3], writes:

There is no question that we are behind Apple on iPod.

An earlier message from Bill Gates said a lot of stuff. Some people may remember Bill Gates for his ACPI patent abuse [PDF] (interpretation here). Gates wanted to use patents in order to block Linux. In this new exhibit we find something that fits the same pattern. Gates writes:

What do we want in cameras for metadata and UI? What do we want relative to device discovery? (hopefully patented stuff).

Yes, got to have “patented stuff”! In a separate message, Gates explicitly said that he wanted it to act as a barrier against Linux.

Adding to lock-in, Will Poole talks about DRM, e.g.:

4. MusicMatch and Napster both use our media format and DRM exclusively, at their option. AOL is integrating WM9 into their player for next year. All of them are working with our platform b/c of our device integration. E-2-e scenarios are still not as good as Apple. But there is consumer choice, and there is a growing ecosystem.

We have more antitrust exhibits about Microsoft and DRM [1, 2]. Microsoft eventually betrayed many DRM partners and last year it back-stabbed those who trusted MSN’s exclusive DRM.

Look at the last E-mail from Bill Gates more carefully to find:

—–Original Message—–
From: Bill Gates
Sent: Sunday, November 02, 2003 9:54 PM
To: Will Poole
Cc: Alexander Gounares; Amir Majidimehr; Chris Jones (WINDOWS)
Subject: Scenario leadership

This whole Apple music experience is one that is interesting to me and makes me wonder where the scenario thinking is in Windows.

Further on it says:

People I know (a rich group I admit) are getting ipods with thousands of songs on them.

Herb Allen has given dozens of his friends I pods with thousands of songs (he bought them).

Warren Buffett just loves the thing.

This ought to get Apple/Mac advocates curious or even excited.

Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit PX07255, as text

Read the rest of this entry »

More Countries Move to ODF, But What About Portugal?

Posted in Europe, Fraud, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument at 2:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Portuguese flag in daylight

Summary: OpenDocument Format (ODF) is increasingly adopted and the latest dealings in Portugal give reasons for concern

MORE AND MORE countries have recently embraced OpenDocument Format (ODF), despite Microsoft’s many abuses that it declines/refuses to address. Microsoft is still causing damage to ODF [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Glyn Moody notes that the FSF has this world map of ODF adoption and Christian Einfeldt added to it (in Twitter): “Dear Linus, it’s not that we hate Microsoft, but it is annoying how MSFT is still goofing up ODF.”

Hungary is one of the latest European countries to embrace ODF (Norway was probably inevitable), but one country we remain particularly concerned about is Portugal. We wrote about it earlier today because of the government’s intimate relationship with Microsoft. According to this blog (translation to English from Google), chances of ODF adoption in Portugal seem slim, so a Switzerland-like action may be needed (see links at the bottom). As Tony Manco from Portugal puts it, despite being warned for illegalities that they make, the people in the government just don’t give a damn. They continue as if nothing was mentioned.

Related posts (Switzerland):

  1. Microsoft Sued Over Its Corruption in Switzerland, Microsoft Debt Revisited
  2. Can the United Kingdom and Hungary Still be Sued for Excluding Free Software?
  3. 3 New Counts of Antitrust Violation by Microsoft?
  4. Is Microsoft Breaking the Law in Switzerland Too?
  5. Microsoft Uses Lobbyists to Attack Holland’s Migration to Free Software and Sort of Bribes South African Teachers Who Use Windows
  6. ZDNet/eWeek Ruins Peter Judge’s Good Article by Attacking Red Hat When Microsoft Does the Crime
  7. Week of Microsoft Government Affairs: a Look Back, a Look Ahead
  8. Lawsuit Against Microsoft/Switzerland Succeeds So Far, More Countries/Companies Should Follow Suit
  9. Latest Reports on Microsoft Bulk Deals Being Blocked in Switzerland, New Zealand
  10. Swiss Government and Federal Computer Weekly: Why the Hostility Towards Free Software?
  11. Switzerland and the UK Under Fire for Perpetual Microsoft Engagements

Does Microsoft Accuse Free Software of Fraud?

Posted in Deception, Fraud, Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 2:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hi-jacking hotspot

Summary: Microsoft shows more shameless hypocrisy, vanity

WE HAVE been made aware of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference, which took place a fortnight ago. The transcripts are revealing because they contain bits where Microsoft’s Kevin Turner says: “As this environment came down, you know, everybody heard, well, Linux and open source and those type of things are going to become the hot commodity. And you know what? We’ve competed with the fraudulent perception of free really, really well.”

Fraudulent? Really?

“Is it not ironic that a corrupt company accuses its opponents of “fraudulent perception”?”Here’s the same talking point being repeated: “And getting the facts out about the fraudulent perception of free is something that’s really resonating with customers. Our TCO (total cost of ownership) story, our security story, where we’re headed from a platform standpoint. It feels so good for customers to finally understand the truth about open source and Linux and we’re making incredible progress in this space, and we’re going to continue to drive that.”

There’s that ugly word again and also a reference to studies which Microsoft bought, along with yardsticks that Microsoft paid Gartner a fortune for. “They’re still banging the TCO drum,” writes Eruaran. We last wrote about it on the very same day as the conference above.

Is it not ironic that a corrupt company accuses its opponents of “fraudulent perception”? The above TCO benchmarks may be as bad as Microsoft's benchmark fraud, which is part of a pattern of slamming opposition by lying.

And speaking of daemonising opposition, here is a new report from Wired Magazine about Google and Varney, whom we wrote about before.

Google is playing nice so far. Its public policy blog soothingly acknowledges regulators’ concerns. “As Google has grown,” it reads, “the company has naturally faced more scrutiny about our business principles and practices. We believe that Google promotes competition and openness online, but we haven’t always done a good job telling our story.” Schmidt is a regular presence in Washington; he served as a member of Obama’s transition team and now sits on his technology advisory council. And publicly, Schmidt welcomes the oversight. “We understand the role here,” he says. “We are not judge and jury.”

On the issue of oversight, a couple of weeks ago we complained to the FTC about Microsoft AstroTufers in this Web site. There is mere progress on the case as we have just been given a reference numbers and a letter [PDF].

From – Fri Jul 31 18:15:41 2009
X-Account-Key: account11
X-UIDL: UID4591-1237770691
X-Mozilla-Status: 0001
X-Mozilla-Status2: 10000000
Delivery-date: Fri, 31 Jul 2009 18:20:38 +0100
Message-Id: <200907311720.n6VHJSVb012152@ftcsmtp1.lmbps.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
From: no-reply@consumersentinel.gov
Date: 31 Jul 2009 13:20:33 -0400
Subject: Response to your complaint Ref No. 23560730
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=–boundary_494_ebde6dd9-5021-40c8-8f35-9623c5ef1e6d

Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Thank you for contacting the Federal Trade Commission. Please find attached information that may assist you.

According to this PDF, the FTC will take further action if/when more such complaints are filed and make up a pattern.

Security FUD Against GNU/Linux

Posted in Apple, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 1:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Sightings of security FUD against GNU/Linux in the news

MICROSOFT WINDOWS never had the reputation of a secure platform. In fact, just a short while ago a new kernel vulnerability was found in Windows. To give the gist of the issue:

A local user can invoke NtUserConsoleControl() in ‘win32k.sys’ to execute arbitrary code on the target system with elevated privileges.

There is also this new report from Heise and many more that we shared over the past few days (the last one came yesterday morning).

Microsoft has issued updates for Internet Explorer and Visual Studio “out of band”, between the regular monthly patch days, to mend the ActiveX support of Internet Explorer. Additionally, these updates plug another three critical security vulnerabilities in the browser. All versions, including Internet Explorer 8, are affected.

This brings us to the following new article from Forbes, which states:

Virtual machines, which perform like physical machines but are simulated with software, have fewer sources of entropy: Linux-based virtual machines, for instance, gather random numbers only from the exact millisecond time on their internal clocks. And that source isn’t enough to generate strong keys for encryption, Stamos argues. “Normally there’s enough variation that after a while your operating system can gather up the entropy it needs to provide you with secure random numbers,” he says. “The fundamental issue is that with virtualized hardware, many of those random variations don’t exist.”


If a malicious hacker were to set up his or her own Linux virtual machine in Amazon’s EC2 cloud service, for example, he or she could use that machine’s entropy pool to better guess at the entropy pools of other recently created Linux-based virtual servers in Amazon’s cloud, Stamos posits.

What does that have to do with GNU/Linux? Why does Forbes conveniently assume that only “Linux” can suffer from this co-allocation issue? If it is not intended to daemonise GNU/Linux, then it might be worth correcting.

Carla has just found another new example that she wrote about in length. She addresses the whole “obscurity” argument, noting that:

Linux permeates every possible segment of tech– routers and networking devices, home and business automation, security and surveillance systems, phones, netbooks and other consumer mobile devices, desktops, vehicles, media servers and settop boxes; it’s already a major player in the datacenter, server room, mainframes, clusters, and supercomputing. Linux runs on multiple CPU architectures. So a Windows-type Trojan horse or worm on Linux should have a much more catastrophic effect because of Linux’ much greater reach.

According to Roughly Drafted Magazine, Rupert Murdoch’s Fox is taking shots at Mac OS X as well.

Fox News reports new Mac virus that is neither Mac nor viral nor new

A report published by Fox News says that “online criminals are apparently so impressed with its scorching sales they are sending Macintosh computers an attack typically aimed at” Windows PCs. The story then falls apart in series of inept contradictions.

The press loves pretending that Windows is never the culprit, despite compelling evidence that these very same outlets/publications are most certainly aware of the culprit.

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

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Links 31/07/2009: PCLinuxOS LXDE (PCLXDE) 2009 is Out, Microsoft Worries About GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 1:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Microsoft says Intel, HP ‘Actively’ Working with Linux

    “Partners such as Hewlett-Packard and Intel have been actively working with alternative Linux-based operating systems,” Microsoft wrote, providing no additional detail.

    While it’s been known for some time that HP – - which sells some notebooks and netbooks and servers with Linux – - and Intel have dedicated some resources to Linux development, this is the first time that Microsoft has singled out its two biggest and arguably most important technology partners for this work. While the language in 10-K reports is traditionally dry, legalistic and boilerplate, for a company like Microsoft to add that information for the first time is notable. It also comes at a time when Microsoft reported a double-digit decline in its client software business even as it reported selling more than 300 million units of Windows Vista over the past two years. (It sold 130 million units two years ago and 180 million units of Vista last year, although it doesn’t specify how many units were sold or activated with “downgrade rights” to Windows XP.)

  • Intel steps up new mobile focus, Ballmer dismisses thin clients

    So far, the netbook market is heavily dominated by Windows and Intel Atom, though the second wave – ushering in smaller, more mobile devices such as smartbooks and MIDs – could shift towards Linux. Intel is readying itself for this shift, creating its Moblin Linux platform and working with Nokia. It is less clear how Microsoft will respond – it has no plans to shrink down the footprint or margins of its forthcoming Windows 7 for smartbooks, but admits Windows Mobile remains an under-performer.

  • Desktop

    • Canonical-IBM: Virtual Ubuntu Desktops vs. Windows 7

      Not even Woodward suggests as mass-market movement from Windows XP and Vista to virtualized Ubuntu desktops. But he does expect the IBM-Canonical-Virtual Bridges relationship to start generating revenue within a few months.

    • Dell’s Inspiron 15n With Ubuntu: My Thoughts

      The laptop itself is a wonderful purchase and I love mine to death. I set up my own Linux installation with my own restore image using Clonezilla, put a “Powered by Ubuntu” sticker on it, and an Ubuntu logo sticker for the Windows logo key and I’ve essentially made this the ultimate Ubuntu machine. (In my case, Kubuntu). I definitely recommend this to everyone looking for a great machine, but there may be some post purchase work to do once you get it.

    • I got your latest GNOME right here!

      Just wanted to re-enforce what Zhang said earlier today about the bleeding edge GNOME Developer’s Kit, now with extra sauce!

      What is it? It is a continuous build of GNOME packages all bundled up into a distribution (in this case, Foresight Linux) and distributed in a few different formats, such as ISO and VMware.

  • Server

  • Schools

    • Ten Linux apps that get top marks from schools

      Teachers and school administrators who have to be creative about acquiring affordable educational software will find plenty to choose from in the world of open source, says Jack Wallen.

      Good educational software is hard to come by. And with budgets tight, it is understandable that many schools are turning to Linux and open-source software to save money. Most people have no idea how many outstanding educational applications there are for the Linux operating system. Here are 10 of the best.

    • Africa- A Fertile ground for Open Source and Linux.

      Again, I strongly believe that if basic schools here can be introduced to ICT using Open Source software, it will go a long way into helping create an awareness among the next generation of IT users in Africa that there is a very powerful, reliable and free alternative to MS and other closed source commercial applications.

  • Web Browsers

    • Linux Chrome Builds Get Plug-In Support

      Linux: If a lack of third-party plug-in support (i.e. Flash) kept you from trying out Chrome on your Linux system, then avoid no longer. The “early developer version” now supports many plug-ins, and they seem to work pretty well.

    • Arora: A light-weight, cross-platform web browser based on WebKit

      Arora is an open source web browser that uses the same WebKit rendering engine found in Safari and Google Chrome. But unlike those browsers, Arora is already capable of running on Windows, Linux, and OS X, as well as a few other platforms including FreeBSD.

  • Audiocasts

  • Distributions

    • My Favorite Five Linux Distrobutions

      Another factor is the kind of mood am I in. Sometimes, I have a lot of free time, and I want to tinker with my system. Other times I am in a hurry and I need a running linux machine quick. Another factor is circumstance. For a working production system where I do most my writing, school work, and entertainment, I want a stable system.

    • PCLinuxOS LXDE (PCLXDE) 2009 is now available.

      PCLXDE 2009.4 is a minimal self-booting/installable Linux Live CD that features the LXDE desktop environment along with a small suite of lightweight applications designed for use on low end computer systems. It is small, fast and fun. Designed for P III or better. Does not work on K6/2 processors. But wait there’s more!

    • Are these the first images of Google Chrome OS?

      An anonymous tipster sent the following images to us this morning, claiming they are actual images of Chrome OS. We can’t say much for certain at this point, so pass judgment yourselves in the comments.

    • Fedora

      • PHP/JavaScript hackers needed.

        If you have significant PHP and JavaScript experience and could spend a couple of days helping us resolve these issues, please get in touch with us via the fedora-docs-list, send email to pfrields or sparks (both at fedoraproject dot org), or leave me a comment here.

    • Ubuntu

      • Canonical Launching “Switch to Ubuntu” Desktop Migration Services

        Canonical on July 31 will launch a so-called “Switch to Ubuntu” initiative — including support and migration services — to help individuals and small businesses that are “seeking cost-effective alternatives” to Mac OS X and Windows-based desktops.

      • 5 Things I Would Miss in Linux Mint

        So after my last post, I figured it would be interesting to ask myself, “what would I miss in Linux Mint?” if I were to go back to Windows Vista today. I came up with 5 nontrivial things.


        Here’s my list:

        1. Expose / Windows Picker. Shows me all my open windows with a quick push of a button. It’s like neatly laying out all my notes and paperwork on my desk in a nanosecond. Very useful when I feel like I’ve got too many things going on. I loved it on OS X, and I love it on Mint.
        2. Multiple desktops, and I have four. It’s like having four separate tables to throw all my stuff on. So I can put all my project A stuff here, project B stuff there, and all my personal notes and emails over there. Wonderful! I’ve seen a co-worker use a virtual desktop on Windows, but it wouldn’t be a fair comparison because I believe he had to get an additional application to get that working.

      • 5 Beautiful, Recently Updated Ubuntu Themes

        Besides the GTK theme, New Wave also comes with:
        - GUI New Wave Configurator,
        - Emerald themes,
        - Compiz-fusion settings,
        - Second theme with dark menus,
        - Firefox skin,
        - Some metacity tweaks.
        - Opera theme

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Timesys Announces LinuxLink availability for the new OMAP-L137 processor

      LinuxLink allows customers to choose from the latest GNU-based toolchains enabled with uClibc and glibc libraries optimized for the ARM926EJ-S™ core. The Linux kernels initially available through LinuxLink are both the 2.6.18 and the recent 2.6.30 versions. Newer versions of Linux kernels will be available in LinuxLink as they become available from kernel.org. Device drivers are included for the full range of internal OMAP-L137 peripherals as well as for external devices present on TI’s OMAP-L137 evaluation module (EVM).

Free Software/Open Source

  • The Success of Commercial Open Source Software

    Another great thing about OSS is that even if the company pulls support for the product (I’m talking to you, Microsoft Response Point) or goes out of business, there is an opportunity for your company (or consultants of your choosing) to continue making repairs and even advancing the tool despite lack of support from a vendor.

  • Opensville meets the real world

    For IT, open source is a way to improve service and reduce costs without the expense. The lower acquisition costs, fast development cycle, continuing enhancements and quick fixes to problems make open source attractive. In fact, a leading industry analyst predicts that within a few years about 80% of all commercial software will include elements of open source technology.

  • Ingres

    • Open source Database Breakthrough: 10-80 times faster

      The Ingres VectorWise project team has worked with Intel to evaluate database performance on the new Intel Xeon processor 5500 series based platform. To date, the results of the project have demonstrated dramatic cost and performance capabilities as evidenced by nearly 80 fold speed up on a query modelled after the Q1 query of TPC-H3 suite on the Intel Xeon processor.

    • A Breakthrough in Database Technology

      The core innovations in VectorWise are the work, primarily, of two CWI researchers, Peter Boncz and Marcin Zukowski. They set out to produce a 100-fold improvement in database performance. Ingres engineers 18 months ago came upon their research, called the X100 Project. Says Burkhardt: “We saw we could collaborate with them to take an academic project and make it commercial.”

  • Milestones

    • Firefox nears billion milestone

      The open-source browser Firefox is expected to pass the billion download mark in the next twenty four hours.

    • Firefox Nears 1 Billion Downloads

      Lookout Microsoft! Mozilla’s Firefox is closing the gap a bit, as they’re about to pass 1 billion total downloads, and some think they might even pass the mark as early as Friday.

    • PortableApps.com reaches 100 million downloads

      PortableApps.com founder John T. Haller has announced that his site for portable applications has reached its 100 millionth download milestone. PortableApps.com allows users to easily install various popular open source applications to a USB flash drive or external hard drive. Once installed, the applications can run completely from the drive and be used on any Windows computer.

  • CMS

    • What’s Coming for Open Source CMS in August 2009

      Alfresco (news, site) marked a record month for downloads with its July release of Alfresco Community Edition 3.2. This release lays the groundwork for Records Management features added in preparation for US Department of Defense 5015.2 certification coming in September 2009.

    • Formtek, Inc. Delivers an Alfresco Open Source ECM Solution for Dorfman Pacific

      Formtek, Inc., provider of enterprise document and content management solutions, announced that it has successfully implemented and delivered an open source ECM solution, based on Alfresco Enterprise Edition, to Dorfman-pacific, one of the full-line, in-stock headwear and handbag companies.

    • Mix and match: The perfect open-source Web commerce company

      Yes, Magento, like Drupal and OpenX, has its share of big customers, including Germany’s equivalent of REI, Globetrotter. But Magento already has a lot of traction within the mid-market segment that Drupal and OpenX also serve.

  • AlwaysOn Summit

  • Government

    • Open source movement spreads across Asia

      Open source has consistently made headlines in recent years, having drawn much industry attention both from technologists and business decision-makers.

    • City hall goes open source

      City hall will be more transparent after council passed a notice of motion opening up the city’s data to the public last Monday.

      The notice instructs city bureaucrats to draft a report on how to make all data collected by the City of Calgary, from traffic statistics to census numbers, more accessible to Calgarians in an open source format, while respecting privacy and security concerns.


      It would even cut down on the city’s use of proprietary software, saving money down the road, said Kelly. Opening up the records in open source format would allow developers to take advantage of the information to create new open source programs that could be used by city officials to save expenses.

  • Licensing

    • Murphy’s Law: LiberKey. GPL Violation or Sour Grapes?

      Here’s a brief background: On various forum posts, John Haller–creator of the PortableApps software suite–has called out LiberKey for trademark and GPL violations related to the licensing of the open-source and freeware apps bundled in its software suite. Although LiberKey has responded to various forum posts on the topics, it’s been difficult to track down their arguments for two key reasons. First, the developers are French. Their official forums are in French and their occasional replies to LiberKey criticisms come in the form of readable–but admittedly crude–English. Second, the developers have yet to release an official stance beyond these difficult-to-track forum replies. However, I contacted LiberKey for their side of the story, and they sent me an official statement they’ve created to respond to the licensing allegations.

  • Openness

    • It’s Not Open Science if it’s Not Open Source

      Great to see a scientist come out with this in an interesting post entitled “What, exactly, is Open Science?”:

      granting access to source code is really equivalent to publishing your methodology when the kind of science you do involves numerical experiments. I’m an extremist on this point, because without access to the source for the programs we use, we rely on faith in the coding abilities of other people to carry out our numerical experiments.

    • Chris Anderson’s Free adds much to The Long Tail, but falls short

      The economics of ‘free’ goods and services cannot be explained in terms of the marketplace, digital or otherwise – humans are more complicated than that

    • The Open-Minded Professor – An Interview with Eric von Hippel, MIT’s Sloan School of Management

      It is true that the most rapidly developing designs are those where many can participate and where the intellectual property is open. Think about open source software as an example of this. What firms have to remember is that they have many ways to profit from good new products, independent of IP. They’ve got brands; they’ve got distribution; they’ve got lead time in the market. They have a lot of valuable proprietary assets that are not dependent on IP.

      If you’re going to give out your design capability to others, users specifically, then what you have to do is build your business model on the non-design components of your mix of competitive advantages. For instance, recall the case of custom semiconductor firms I mentioned earlier. Those companies gave away their job of designing the circuit to the user, but they still had the job of manufacturing those user-designed semiconductors, they still had the brand, they still had the distribution. And that’s how they make their money.

      It is also true that firms can base their new products on user-developed designs and still capture significant IP protection from internally developed improvements. That is the pattern we found in research we did at 3M. Even when 3M developers sourced the basic idea for a new product line from users, they were able to capture strong IP by patenting their improvements to the user idea.

    • Publishing science on the web

      But the Web does a lot of this for us outside of science. It’s become easy to write and read, and to use Google as a memory cache. The ability to rapidly find relevant information is part of daily life for us outside of science. But inside of science there is complaint that even within one’s own specialized discipline, there is too much to read, too many journals, too little time. This doesn’t even begin to include the coming deluge of data wrought by the relentless miniaturization and parallelization of a world where data is generated by robotic lab machinery and captured by tiny, ubiquitous sensors.

    • Open-Source Arduino Robot Beer Brewery

      *You may have noticed that I’m something of a skeptic about small-scale urban agriculture interventions. But this one? This is different. ‘Cause it’s beer! Small-scale stills and illicit breweries have a history that is literally as long as the invention of alcohol, tobacco and firearms laws! A revenuer-unfriendly gizmo like this has got proven legs!

    • iCub, the Open-Source Robot Child

      It takes a village to raise a robot. At least, that’s the belief of the creators of iCub, a humanoid robot the size of a 3-1/2-year-old child, who are making its development entirely open-domain.

      The iCub is the brainchild of a group of European universities led by the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Genoa, who have been charged by the European Commission to develop a functioning humanoid child. They developed a 2-1/2-foot-tall, 70-pound robot child with 53 mechanical joints that allow it to move its head, neck, arms, fingers, eyes and legs. It can also feel with its fingertips, grip with its hands, and listen.

    • Sony Pictures Imageworks Launches Open Source Program

      Sony Pictures Imageworks, the award-winning visual effects and digital character animation unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, is launching an open source development program, it was announced today by Imageworks’ chief technology officer, Rob Bredow. Five technologies will be released initially:

      * OSL, a programmable shading language for rendering
      * Field3d, a voxel data storage library
      * Maya Reticule, a Maya Plug-in for camera masking
      * Scala Migration, a database migration tool
      * Pystring, python-like string handling in C++

    • Community-driven, open source solution for B2B transactions

      A new open source, Web 2.0-inspired solution for building and managing business relationships online promises to level the playing field for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

  • Applications

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Xiph.Org Supporting IETF Royalty Free Codecs BoF

      For some years now, Xiph.Org has been gently advocating royalty free codecs within the IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) as a viable and preferred alternative to patent-controlled technologies. Recently more groups within the IETF have also come forward to support free codec standardization work with in the IETF. On July 30th at the next IETF Meeting (IETF 75 in Stockholm[1]) the IETF will hold a codecs BoF to take input on whether or not to form a standards Working Group for royalty free audio codecs. The creation of such a Working Group would have a major impact, opening the door to a Voice over IP stack completely free of licensing and royalty constraints. We’re seeking to set up the same kind of open competition and cooperation we’ve seen on the web that’s given rise to tons of investment and improvement in a very short period of time.


  • Finnish CSS case application lodged in the European Court of Human Rights

    Finnish Activist Mikko Rauhala has lodged an application to the European Court of Human Rights versus the Finnish state, regarding his right to freedom of expression.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The Nichepaper Manifesto

      Dear Newspaper Magnates,

      So you’re going to try and charge people for news yet again. Cart, meet horse.

      Journalists didn’t make 20th century newspapers profitable — readers did. 20th century newspapers were never supernormally profitable because of what they wrote: it was the natural monopoly dynamics of classifieds that fueled massive margins.

    • AOL Newsroom Now Has (Wow) 1,500 Writers

      AOL now has 1,500 people writing content across its scores of content sub-brands, we’ve confirmed. Around 1,000 of those people are working full time for AOL, the rest are freelancing. That’s more than double the number that they had creating content a year ago, and by this time next year, we’ve heard, the plan is to have 2-3x as many people as they do now.

    • The Nichepaper and the Failure of the Fourth Estate

      It’s time for the news media to face the music. The 20th Century news media turned a blind eye to responsibility. Because they failed to fight for the rest of us, newspapers have to suffer with the rest of us. Consider it penance for a job poorly done.

    • Is There Really A ‘Piracy’ Problem For Newspapers?

      A few years ago, newspapers were all blaming Craigslist for their own business model problems. Then, of course, it became popular to blame Google. However, there’s been an odd shift recently, to a claim that the problem is from “pirates” and “parasites.” We see this in the AP’s sudden desire to DRM the news by tracking how it’s used and going after those it feels are using its content unfairly. We see it in the Marburger brothers’ plan to put legal pressure on “parasitic aggregators.” The problem, as we discussed, however, is that these parasitic aggregators are few and far between and the complaints against them just don’t ring true at all.

    • Homeland Security Cuts Newspaper/Magazine Subscriptions; Says To Use The Web
    • ‘Kindle ate my homework’ boy sues Amazon

      THE BOY who lost all his homework on George Orwell’s book 1984 when it was deleted from his Kindle has decided to sue Amazon for getting him in hot water with his teacher.

    • Unconstitutional Copyrights?

      That effort has led me to revisit copyright’s constitutional foundations. I find them very shaky, indeed.

    • RIAA’s War on Sharing Begins

      Words matter, which is why the RIAA has always framed copyright infringement in terms of “piracy”. But it has a big problem: most people call it “sharing”; and as everyone was told by their mother, it’s good to share.


      Got that? P2P sharing isn’t *real* sharing, because it’s not sharing with your friends; this is *evil* sharing because it’s bad to share with stranger. Apparently.

    • EBooks: Sony Now Offers 1 Million Free Books From Google Books

      Barnes & Noble, which announced its eBook store and forthcoming hardware eReader last week currently features about 500,000 free books from Google, while Amazon’s Kindle can read free books from Project Gutenberg, but doesn’t offer compatibility with the ePub format that Google prefers. Amazon currently offers about 300,000 books.

    • World eBook Fair Prepares For Final Week

      Many more books have been added since our initial report on the start of The World eBook Fair on July 4. As expected, Internet Archive is keeping up with their goal of adding another ~25,000 titles, about 1,000 each business day, but another 25,000 comes from the general readership of the patrons. We get messages to add books that our readers have compiled totally on their own–independently of the major eBook producers.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Luis Casas Luengo, Director of Extremadura’s Fundecyt foundation 11 (2004)

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

CentOS is NOT Dying, It’s Just Bad Reporting

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Red Hat at 8:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

CentOS 5.3

Summary: Media FUD about CentOS is refuted

Boycott Novell runs on a CentOS server, so it is painful to watch The Register and some other publications spreading FUD about the project. Basically, the lead person (one among a large group) may be departing, and that’s not even news. The word has been circulating for quite a while. All that happened was that the team posted a public letter on the Web site and it is quickly being misinterpreted.

Contrary to the FUD, Sam Varghese delivers a more accurate report:

The head of the CentOS GNU/Linux project has gone missing and other contributors to the project are sufficiently concerned to post an open letter to him on the project’s website.

As the CentOS team assures everyone:

CentOS is not dead or going away. The signers of the Open Letter are fully committed to continue the CentOS Project. Updates and new releases will continue.

Enough with the disinformation then, please. The project even has a newsletter going now, which is indicative of growth and maturity.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to Dump Novell

Posted in Australia, Novell at 8:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

True blue Aussie

Summary: The ACCC is decommissioning Novell

NOVELL relies heavily on its legacy systems (for profit and network effect), so in order for a boycott of Novell to be effective, more stories like this one will be required.

The ACCC currently has approximately 790 users with 888,000 documents in the TRIM repository, and over 4,600,000 MS Office documents on Novell file and print servers located in ACCC branches around the country. The national centres of operations are located in Canberra and Melbourne offices and there are smaller ACCC offices in each capital city and Townsville.

Once the migration to a centralised EDRMS is completed, it is envisaged that Novell will be completely decommissioned.

Being the “Competition and Consumer Commission”, under better circumstances it should decommission Novell Inc. too, not just Novell products. Novell’s racket with Microsoft is harmful to competition and consumers.

“That’s extortion and we should call it what it is. To say, as Ballmer did, that there is undisclosed balance sheet liability, that’s just extortion and we should refuse to get drawn into that game.”

Mark Shuttleworth

Russia Continues Migration to GNU/Linux in Government, Microsoft Creates New Prevention Measures

Posted in Asia, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Flags of the Baltic sea countries, Russian flag

Summary: As authorities continue to attain autonomy, Microsoft creates unit of global alliances

DESPITE dirty play from Microsoft Russia (e.g. [1, 2]), it turns out that Russian authorities carry on migrating to GNU/Linux (Google’s automated translation to English).

On the other hand, a couple of reports from Portugal suggest that Microsoft is planning to create a unit of global alliances with its headquarters in Portugal. This choice of country is not surprising given Microsoft's behaviour in the country. Thanks to Tony Manco for the tip.

“Holy ad nauseam: If I hear anyone from Microsoft talk about the freedom to innovate one more time, I think I’ll hurl a month’s worth of cookies. Instead of worrying about whether or not the government will stop Microsoft from innovating in the future, the head honchos in Redmond ought to spend some energy trying to figure out what force has prevented them from innovating over the past decade.”

InfoWorld Editor Nicholas Petreley – December 20, 1999

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