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07.13.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: July 13th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: July 12th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 13/07/2009: US Post Office Embraces Free Software

Posted in News Roundup at 7:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

  • My PC Won’t Boot

    When Keatlaretse boots his PC, it shuts itself down. He’s thinking about reinstalling Windows, but doesn’t want to lose all his data.

    [...]

    On another computer, download the live version of Puppy Linux and burn it to a CD-ROM. It’s an .iso file, and double-clicking the file will likely bring up your burner. If it doesn’t, download and install ISO Recorder. Puppy isn’t the best Linux flavor by a long shot, but it’s small, fast, and is easy for Windows users.

  • Another Linux Myth Killed In Broad Daylight

    Several more Linux myths have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. The TOYA Boys will grieve plenty in the following months.

  • Linux, FOSS, and the Time-Honored Tradition of Charging More for Less

    There is something fundamentally defective with a business that feels it can’t survive by giving customers a fair deal. Stick with FOSS. What you see is what you get, warts, roses, everything, with no place to hide tricksy dealings or dishonesty.

  • DistroWatch Weekly, Issue 311, 13 July 2009

    Welcome to the 28th issue of DistroWatch Weekly for 2009! In the news this week, Slackware finally adopts ARMedslack as the official port for the project, while Ubuntu founder Shuttleworth talks about Karmic Koala, the release scheduled for October this year. We also link to an interview with Jono Bacon, the project’s Community Manager. Our feature this week takes a nostalgic look back at some great Linux distributions that failed to survive. Elsewhere in the free software world, Google has announced their own Linux based operating system for netbooks and the BSD Magazine survives some tough times to continue printing. Have a great Monday and the rest of the week!

  • Linux Professional Institute Develops Partner Program for Schools in Portugal

    The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world’s premier Linux certification organization (http://www.lpi.org), announced results of their initial pilot program promoting ICT academies within the secondary school system in Portugal. The ICT Academies program is part of the “Technological Plan for Education” promoted by the Portuguese Ministry of Education. As part of this initiative, LPI-Portugal (http://www.lpi.com.pt/) will be certifying 10 instructors in 5 secondary schools, to provide Linux education and training towards the Linux Professional Institute Certification (LPIC) through LPI’s Approved Academic Program (LPI-AAP). The ICT Academy program is expected to grow to include 30 secondary schools in Portugal in 2010.

  • Community Leadership Summit: Days Away in San Jose

    As Kristin covered in April, the upcoming OSCON conference will be immediately preceded by an “unconference” called the Community Leadership Summit, to take place July 18th and 19th in San Jose, California. The event is free for anyone to attend, although if you’re planning to attend you should pre-register. There are some scheduled presentations, panel discussions, and social gatherings planned, but much of the event will consist of free-form discussion on what it takes to build a thriving, productive community around an open source project. More details are emerging on the participants, and it looks like a solid event.

  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS: Cloud computing made real

      Chrome OS must be a dream come true for Google-versus-Microsoft fanboys. Rumors that Google would ship a desktop OS first flew back in 2006, but the project in question turned out to be for internal use only. Then came Android, and reports that Google’s smartphone OS would soon make the leap to more traditional PCs set the market abuzz again — although many remained skeptical. Now the announcement of Chrome OS should brush any lingering doubts aside.

  • Server

    • Virtualization: Pushing Linux Into Small Businesses?

      When Lenovo launched four ThinkServers a few days ago, The VAR Guy noticed that the systems — designed for small and midsize businesses — emphasized virtualization. Hmmm. So, The VAR Guy began to wonder: Are virtualized servers (running a mix of Linux and Windows) really starting to push into the SMB space?

  • Kernel Space

    • Available Nvidia ION based products overview

      Current Nvidia Linux drivers fully support (with the VDPAU API) hardware based decoding of mpeg2, VC1 and h.264 as offered by the ION chip, therefore systems based on the ION chip are well suited for a Linux based HTPC, using software such as ‘XBMC’, ‘Mythtv’ and video players such as ‘Mplayer’.

  • Artwork

  • Applications

    • Top 3 Linux BitTorrent Applications

      Based on the interface for uTorrent, the most popular BitTorrent software for windows, KTorrent is built using the KDE library and hence is a KDE application.

    • Blog From Your Linux Desktop with Drivel

      Blogging has done nothing but gain steam over the last few years. Most bloggers are posting directly to sites like Facebook and MySpace. I consider that type of blogger to be amateur. The serious bloggers are using their own sites powered by outstanding open source solutions like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, or even home-grown solutions. But there are others who regularly blog to Blogger and Moveable Type. For those more serious bloggers the need for tools to make this job easier is at a prime. One such tool is that tool that allows the user to blog straight from the desktop, in both on and offline modes.

    • 4 Must have apps for Linux

      A step up from that, is the very graphical “Zim Desktop Wiki”. It looks like a wiki, feels like a wiki, but is prettier in layout than a Wiki. You need not be a wiki pro to use it, as it has a pretty good following in the forums, as well as a good set of documentation.

    • Getting things done with Linux to-do list programs

      To-do list programs can help you stay organized and boost productivity. Ars looks at GTG, KOrganizer, and other task management tools for the Linux desktop.

    • An interview with RVM, developer of Smplayer

      Last week I did a review of the excellent media player for Linux and Windows Smplayer. This week the developer behind this great Mplayer front-end granted me an email interview:

      TNM: Where did the idea of creating Smplayer come from?

      RVM: I’m a linux user and I have always used mplayer to play videos, and I was very happy with it. But sometimes, when I had to use Windows I also wanted to use mplayer, but using a command line application on Windows is really hard. Also some people asked me to recommend them a video player for their Windows machines and I would have liked to recommend mplayer but the front-ends available at that moment were very simple (for example I missed options to configure the subtitles). It was a little disappointing.

      So it was then when I started to think about the possibility to develop my own front-end.

  • Web Browsers

    • Epiphany – GNOME Web Browser Review

      Epiphany is usually the first choice for GNOME users who want to use a web browser which is lighter than Firefox and integrates well with GNOME. Of course, there are alternatives like Konqueror or Opera out there, but they are either too bloated compared to Epiphany, or they don’t integrate very well with the GNOME desktop environment. Being the default web browser in GNOME and built using the GTK toolkit, Epiphany became over time a well-known web browser especially for the fact that it is lightweight and has a basic, clean interface.

    • Google Chromium gains native theming support on Linux

      The Linux port of Chromium, the open source development version of Google’s Chrome browser, now has a native theming mode that will make the browser adopt the icons and colors from a user’s GTK+ theme.

    • Competition Spurs Innovation

      The opposite happens at the competition – Google Chrome wants to be an operating system. Actually it wants to be a browser geared to serve Google content, which happens to have an underlying operating system. It just can’t do without that minor requirement and still take complete control of what a user can or can’t do outside of the browser. Even though Chrome OS is apparently going to use a Linux kernel, it’s really going to be a Browser OS. Or is the terminal coming back in a more advanced form?

  • Games

    • Warzone 2100 continues to shine

      I actually have spare time these days, even between projects like tearing apart a desktop machine, to clean and restore it. And since I occasionally pick up a game or two when I want complete distraction, I revisited Warzone 2100 yesterday, after a hiatus that approached the better part of a year.

    • 0 A.D. Game Goes Open-Source

      Wildfire Games has decided to switch their development model for their real-time strategy title, 0 A.D., from closed-source to open-source. This 3D real-time strategy game is now having its code licensed under the GNU GPLv2 and the game content is going under the Creative Commons Attribute-Share Alike license.

    • Who needs games when you’ve got bling.

      In fact, it WAS the reason that Linux was interesting to him. He wanted the wobbly windows, the fire burning on the screen, the rain drops, the spinning cube, that stuff, was cool.

    • New RTS Based on DotA Offers Native Linux Client

      S2 Games, longtime fans of the “Defense of the Ancients” (DotA) mod for Warcraft 3, have decided to create an entire game based around it (which IceFrog had no objection to). Without offending their still-active NDA, I can say that Heroes of Newerth is shaping up to be a very polished RTS, with the ability to play both via S2′s own online service and local games, something that even Blizzard seems to be missing these days.

  • Distributions

    • 5 Fast and Lightweight Linux Distros that Chrome OS Should Beat

      If Chrome OS can’t top or equal any of the distributions mentioned above in terms of speed and simplicity, then I have a reason to be disappointed since I don’t see the point of Google creating a whole new Linux distro when they can just improve on what’s already available.

    • Red Hat

      • Streamlining Systems Management

        The Red Hat Satellite systems management solution has worked so well for the University of Southern Mississippi tech team that Lowery wants to expand its use throughout the campus. “We would like to have a long-term, university-wide systems management solution,” Lowery said, “not just a technology department solution.”

    • Ubuntu and Derivatives

      • Kongoni Nietzsche released

        First stable version of a new Linux distro, Kongoni version 1.12.2, launched on July 12th 2009

        In February this year a group of South African developers announced a new Linux distro project Kongoni. While there is a strong BSD-Unix influence, the underlying code is based on Slackware and the makers are promising to keep the distribution free of proprietary software.

      • Hands on with Mint 7

        Our verdict: A blessed relief from Ubuntu brown plus the hardware support and ease of use, make this a real winner. 9/10.

      • CrunchBang Linux 9.04.01

        Despite the differences in desktop appearance between regular Ubuntu and CrunchBang or even Linux Mint and CrunchBang, CrunchBang is still Ubuntu. So you get all of the advantages of Ubuntu but just without the desktop bloat of KDE or Gnome.

        Installing it is no more difficult than installing any other version of Ubuntu. My install took just a few minutes and I had no problems with it.

      • Jono Bacon on the Value of Good Communities

        James Turner: Let’s start by talking about what is your role at Canonical these days?

        Jono Bacon: Okay. So my role is the Ubuntu Community Manager at Canonical. My job is to encourage and to enable the global Ubuntu community to do good work that’s productive and that they enjoy doing themselves. I have a team at Canonical; we work with many of the different aspects of the Ubuntu community across translations, development, packaging–all manner of different things–to help people to really make the most out of their contributions to Ubuntu.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Datawind Announces the PocketSurfer3

      Both products are featured with a Linux operating system and come with 30 hours of monthly Internet access for users in the UK.

    • Peek Creators Have Linux Envy, Reach Out to Hackers

      The point of—and in a way, problem with—Peek messaging devices is just how simple they are: their software does email, sorta, and that’s it. Now Peek is reaching out to users to port Linux to the device.

      But wait, doesn’t the Peek already run some kind of stripped-down Linux? You’d think so, but no: it’s super-simple variant on TI’s in-house Nucleus operating system, designed specifically for the OMAP processor used in the Peek. It’s confusingly called “Peekux:”

    • Peek seeks Linux developer
    • Peek has Linux aspirations, wants help
    • NCP engineering Extends Easy VPN Management for Linux Networks With Powerful Software Solution

      NCP engineering GmbH today announced the availability of a new version of the software-based NCP Secure Enterprise Management (SEM) System for Linux-based systems. Developed from the ground up to make hybrid IPSec / SSL networks powerful yet easy to manage, the NCP SEM System can plug-and-play with any existing network infrastructure or stand on its own as a new component. A single administrator is enabled full control over tens-of-thousands of secure connections, policy setting and enforcement, client updates, configurations and a host of other network access control (NAC) management activities from one dashboard interface.

    • Check Out Sony Ericsson’s Android UI

      Word leaked over the weekend about Sony Ericsson’s first Android-powered smartphone and it looked like a winner. Well, today we’ve learned that the company will be layering on its own custom user interface on top of the Linux-based OS, and it also looks pretty good.

      To recap, the smartphone is code-named “Rachael” and it is expected to be the next generation in the company’s Xperia line. Reports say it will run on Qualcomm’s zippy 1 GHz Snapdragon processor, and it will have 3D graphics, a whopping 8-megapixel camera, and it will be capable of 7.2 Mbps downlink speeds.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Apple, Acer and…Arrington?

        Michael Arrington, founder of the influential tech blog TechCrunch, has been talking for a year about building a touch-screen tablet for Web surfing. Now, it appears that the CrunchPad is about to become a reality.

      • The Recipe for Linux’s Netbook Success

        “Linux will naturally capture more share on netbooks as Microsoft economics prove unrealistic for this market,” Amanda McPherson, vice president of marketing and developer programs at the Linux Foundation told InternetNews.com. “Microsoft as it existed for the past 20 years does not fit into a world of free carrier-backed netbooks and an Internet OS.”

      • HP releases $500 Linux netbook onto Aussie market

        The budget-priced Mini 110 makes its Aussie debut this week with HP’s Ubuntu-based ‘Mi’ edition and a 16GB solid state drive for $499. Want Windows XP? That’ll be another $200…

      • Get an Asus Eee PC Netbook for $129.95

        Translation: forget Windows. This baby runs Linux, which is absolutely fine for stuff like e-mail, Web, and other basics–but no doubt a deal breaker for some users.

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Ruritania of the Mind

    This is the beginning of the participatory society. The Free Software/Open Source movement understands this very well. I contribute to this society by writing Samba code, helping people with problems on the Internet with Samba, and communicating freely with the community of people who have coalesced around this code. Many other programmers make a living and communicate in the same way. But this movement doesn’t stop with technologists or Free Software programmers. I used to love going to the Opera. With a small child I don’t get to go anymore, but I’d love to see more amateur productions. Video your amateur production and upload it. I’ll watch! Some will end up being worth paying for and maybe you’ll hit the bigtime. Most of it won’t and just you and your friends will get to enjoy it. But you’ll never know unless you upload and share.

  • VLC: An Excellent Media Player (Finally) Turns 1.0.0

    VLC media player is an open-source application from VideoLAN that runs on Windows, Mac OS and Linux. (For a full list of supported OSes, see VideoLAN’s site.) You may not think you need an application to play back videos, with so much browser-based content available these days, but downloading VLC is a no-brainer if you want to watch any kind of offline content, whether that’s stuff you download (legally, ahem, or not) or even DVDs you pop into your computer.

  • Open Source Lineage

    Kicking off the process in earnest next week I’ll be at the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit, talking to the smart developers behind the GNOME and KDE projects, and working with colleagues from ACCESS and Samsung to continue the dialog. If you’re a developer there, come and say hi – we’ve got lots to talk about.

  • USPS goes open-source with tracking system

    If you’ve gone to USPS.com to track and confirm delivery of a letter or package, you’ve used the U.S. Postal Service’s Product Tracking System (PTS) and probably not known it. And you might not have noticed either when USPS moved the system to open source.

  • Virtualbox 3.0: Virtualization Brilliance

    Seemingly out of nowhere, Virtualbox 3.0 was released to the masses recently. Since I am already a fan of this software, I decided to give it a shot the very same day I was notified of its release. From what I have seen so far, not much has actually changed on the surface, though this version has laid the groundwork for some amazing things to come later on.

  • Google releases open source NX server

    Amid the fanfare of last week’s Chrome OS announcement, Google quietly released an open source NX server, dubbed Neatx, for remote desktop display.

  • Mozilla Releases Major Ubiquity Update

    Ubiquity, the extension that adds command line functionality to the Firefox browser, got a major upgrade this week. Ubiquity 0.5 supports a bunch of new languages and drops the need to use hyphens in commands. The development team is also experimenting with “smart suggestions,” a feature that lets Ubiquity make educated guesses about the meaning of unfamiliar data.

  • WordPress Releases Beta Version of New BlackBerry Blogging App

    Although I own a BlackBerry and I am writing this blog post, I am not writing this blog post on a BlackBerry. I could if I wanted to, though, thanks to the new public beta launch of the WordPress BlackBerry client.

  • Open Source Skills As a Job Seeker’s Key Differentiator

    We’ve done several posts on how open source skills can arm a college graduate looking for tech work, or a recently laid off worker, with powerful calling cards for finding employment. From working for commercial open source companies to working on open source-focused divisions at big companies such as Yahoo!, skills with tools such as PHP, Hadoop, and open source content management system platforms can really differentiate a tech job seeker from the pack.

    TwitterJobSearch, oDesk, Elance and many other sites are good places to look for open source work. Today, I noticed this post from Dries Buytaert, founder of the Drupal open source content management system (which OStatic runs on), showing very favorable employment trends for people with Drupal skills.

  • Over 20 Free Tutorials for Top Open Source Apps and Linux

    Open source applications and platforms take regular criticism for not having the same level of documentation as proprietary ones, but for many top open source projects, there are lots of free resources. In some cases these are delivered by the community behind particular projects, and sometimes they are from enthusiasts and other third parties. In this post, you’ll find an updated collection of our last tutorials roundup, with over 20 good resources for popular open source applications and Linux. A little time spent working with these resources can pay many dividends.

  • U.S. Postal Service Gives Stamp of Approval To FOSS

    The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has switched 1,300 of the servers that manage its package tracking system to a Linux environment. The move has taken the better part of a year since all the original system code was written in Cobol and had to be converted for Linux — a less expensive option than rewriting it altogether.

  • Needed: A Centralized, State-of-the-Art Open Source Usability Lab

    Over the past few years, we’ve seen many centralized, federated organizations arise in support of open source initiatives, such as The Linux Foundation. Through donations, and through the support of a powerful body like the Linux Foundation, I could see the launch of a professional usability lab that opens its doors to FOSS projects of all types. Usability is indeed an Achilles’ heel for open source software, and this may be an area where the money and effort that proprietary software companies put into usability are worth emulating.

  • Control Computer Apps From Across the Room With AcceleGlove

    The AcceleGlove’s software is licensed under the GPL and is free for anyone using it for application development prototyping or research, however an additional license is required for commercial product development.

  • Operating Systems

    • Is Oracle getting ready to kill OpenSolaris?

      People outside of IT seldom think of Oracle as a Linux company, but it is. Not only does Oracle encourage its customers to use its own house-brand clone of RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux), Oracle Unbreakable Linux, Oracle has long used Linux internally both on its servers and on some of its desktops. So, what does a Linux company like Oracle wants to do with its newly purchased Sun’s open-source operating system, OpenSolaris? The answer appears to be: “Nothing.”

    • Free Operating Systems That Aren’t Linux

      Here’s a survey of other operating systems that have also been built as open source products, are free to use, and generally come with little to no restrictions over their use. Many of them have taken strong cues from the way Linux has developed, typically in the collections of userland tools that are available. Some owe very little to Linux, apart from the general development philosophy, and are not architecturally related to Linux in any significant way.

  • Business

    • Open Source (ERP) Enterprise Resource Planning on the move?

      I just looked at the 30 June 2009 statistics of SourceForge.

      1. PostBooks ERP, accounting, CRM by xTuple
      2. Openbravo ERP

    • Digium Asterisk: Rising In the Fall

      On the channel front, Digium has signed up distributors across the globe. Prime examples in North America include ABT Technology, Interlink Communication Systems, NextUSA, Westcon Group and Williams Telecommunications Group. Eager resellers include The Fulcrum Group, a North Texas provider of voice and data solutions.

    • Two Open Source Venture Capital Rounds From This Week

      This week brought more venture capital funding for open source players. Google’s Chrome OS isn’t the only news on the netbook operating system front for the week. Jolicloud, which has an Internet operating system for netbooks, has announced the completion of a $4.2M Series A funding round led by Atomico Ventures, in conjunction with Mangrove Capital Partners. Meanwhile, Borqs, which has an open mobile phone operating system based on Android, has raised $17.4 million in Series B funding.

  • Government

    • Legalized drugs, now open source. Those crazy Dutch!

      While some organizations continue to hide their open-source adoption, NOiV (Nederland Open in Verbinding), has published a map of over 200 open-source products currently in use by the Dutch central government as of mid-2009. (Translation here.)

    • Agencies look inward for Web 2.0

      Agencies that seek social-networking capabilities are not always able to use public services such as Facebook and Twitter. When they can’t, a growing collection of open-source tools is making it easier for them to create their own systems.

      NASA’s Spacebook is one of the most visible examples. Linda Cureton, chief information officer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, said she led the effort to create the tool because Facebook offered a good model but was too casual and not secure enough for her facility’s needs.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Tim O’Reilly: Kindle needs to embrace standards or die

      Tim O’Reilly predicts the imminent demise of the Kindle ebook reader unless it makes the move to open standards and abandons DRM and proprietary formats. I’ve been trying to get someone at Amazon to answer my basic questions about the “DRM-free” option for authors and publishers (“Does the EULA prohibit a reader from moving a DRM-free file to a non-Kindle?” “Is there a patent or other restriction that prevents competitors from making readers or converters for the DRM-free files?” and “Can DRM-free files be remotely downgraded, the way that the DRM’ed files have had their read-aloud functionality taken away after the fact?”) and been totally stonewalled, as have O’Reilly.

    • Why Kindle Should Be An Open Book
    • Browser vendor squabbles cause W3C to scrap codec requirement

      The latest rewrite of the Web’s mother tongue won’t recommend the use of specific audio and video encoding formats that could make it cheaper and easier for people to distribute multimedia content.

Leftovers

  • Censorship/Web Abuse

    • Canadian gov’t: you have no expectation of privacy on the Internet

      In the latest episode of the Canadian tech podcast Search Engine, Peter Van Loan, the new Public Safety minister, attempts to explain the Conservative government’s approach to privacy on the internet. It’s a remarkable piece of audio. It goes a little like this:

      Search Engine: Here’s some audio of your predecessor promising, on behalf of your party and your government, never to ever allow the police to wiretap the Internet without a warrant.

    • Deep-Packet Inspection in U.S. Scrutinized Following Iran Surveillance

      Following a report last week that Iran is spying on domestic internet users with western-supplied technology, advocacy groups are pressuring federal lawmakers to scrutinize the use of the same technology in the U.S.

      The Open Internet Coalition sent a letter to all members of the House and Senate urging them to launch hearings aimed at examining and possibly regulating the so-called deep-packet inspection technology.

    • Snooping through the power socket

      Power sockets can be used to eavesdrop on what people type on a computer.

      Security researchers found that poor shielding on some keyboard cables means useful data can be leaked about each character typed.

    • Artificial Scarcity Is Subject To Massive Deflation

      In discussing the basic economics of scarce and infinite goods around here, sometimes certain points get lost or confused. One of the key points that we’ve tried to make (but that sometimes gets lost), when we say that an old model is obsolete or going away, is that you can try to hang onto that business model, but the economic trends are clear: it’s not going to last. So, you can try to keep charging for information in a highly competitive market, and maybe you can pull it off for a little while. But betting your future business on it alone? Good luck.

      [...]

      The reason old business models are at risk is because the free distribution of content is simply more efficient due to modern technology, and it’s about as close to impossible to hold back economic efficiency, once enabled. Artificial scarcity is based on pretending you can hold back that efficiency.

    • West Virginia sues Comcast over cable box tying

      The attorney general of West Virginia has filed suit against Comcast, alleging that subscribers need a company-provided cable box to receive premium services, which constitutes illegal bundling.

  • Copyrights

    • ISPs Doubt Accuracy of Anti-Piracy Evidence

      Lawyers ACS:Law and their anti-piracy partners Logistep are currently harassing around 6,000 alleged file-sharers, demanding £665 from each to make threats of legal action go away. In yet another blow to their tenuous claims, ISP association ISPA says that its members are “not confident” that the evidence accurately identifies infringers.

    • When your phone rings, the copyright police may come calling

      A digital rights group is contesting a U.S. music industry association’s assertion that royalties are due each time a mobile phone ringtone is played in public.

    • ISOHunt to start filtering content

      TorrentSpy decides to not block US visitors and chooses to filter pirated content from its search results instead, something which ISOHunt plans to do as well.

      It’s a sad day for those in the US who use TorrentSpy or ISOHunt, two of the world’s largest public trackers sites, to find movies, music, and more to download for it seems the party’s nearing an end.

    • Playing Whack-A-Mole With Data: The Pirate Bay Lives On

      Responses have been overwhelmingly negative to the news that The Pirate Bay will soon be sold to Global Gaming Factory. But what if there is a method to the apparent Pirate Bay madness — one that, as Peter Sunde has hinted, could actually be good for the P2P community?

    • Jammie Thomas asks for new trial

      Jammie Thomas-Rasset, the Minnesota woman found liable for willful copyright infringement of 24 songs last month, has asked a federal court for a new trial or a reduction in the amount of the $1.92 million damages she was ordered to pay.

    • Australian Press Prints Movie Industry Myths About Piracy Funding Terrorism

      Isn’t the press supposed to actually investigate claims handed to them by industry lobbyists? Apparently not. A bunch of folks have sent in the fact that the Sydney Morning Herald has published a totally one-side and unsubstantiated article claiming that “movie pirates fund terrorism.”

    • Copyright and copy writers

      Copyright protection in the online world is going to be an exciting area of discussion in the coming years, and columnist Connie Schultz got the ball rolling recenly with her piece in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

      Schultz writes about a recent panel discussion during which David Marburger brought up the idea of dramatically changing federal copyright law to protect those who produce news. David Marburger is a First Amendment lawyer who has done a good amount of work for newspapers. In her column, she quotes Marburger’s ideas on how to go after free-standing web sites and local television stations that pull newspapers stories and post them online.

    • Because The Mainstream Press Never Copies Stories From Bloggers Without Credit…

      And, the newspaper folks who are pushing for such rules might want to remember that it’s just as likely to come back and bite them if such laws were passed.

    • “With The Utmost Respect”, the Model is Broken

      In essence, their proposal is to take a leaf out of feudalism, randomly taking rights from citizens for the benefit of Newspaper Barons. The right they propose to take is, quite literally, the right to give directions to others. Under their dystopia linking would be illegal – that would be like making it illegal in Real Life to tell someone where the nearest school, or hospital is. Such a proposal in the real world is so exceedingly bizarre no one would have the courage to float it in public, let alone posit it as a serious option. That such a proposal can today be put forward at all indicates not only how completely disconnected from reality has copyright ideology become, but also how far that ideology, with its unhealthy obsession with demonising legal, justifiable, laudable free riding has permeated “official” opinion. It is also testament to the far reaching power of copyright feudalism.

    • AT&T Quits Free Usenet Access July 15th

      Caves to demands that it “protect its customers from child pornography” even though discontinuing free service will do little to fight the problem since pedophiles will simply switch to third party premium Usenet services.

    • RIAA Wastes Little Time Trying To Extend Interpretation Of Usenet.com Victory

      Last week we wrote about the RIAA’s victory against Usenet.com, noting that it really wasn’t that big a deal precedent-wise, given the rather specific circumstances involved in the case. Specifically, the company Usenet.com clearly destroyed evidence, which pretty much doomed the case, and on top of that engaged in activity that was egregious in terms of making it quite clear that it encouraged illegal activity through the use of its service. But, of course, the RIAA and its friends (as per usual) are having a field day claiming this is a big deal.

    • RIAA Seeks Web Removal of ‘Illegal’ Court Recordings

      The Recording Industry Association of America on Monday demanded a federal judge order Harvard University’s Charles Nesson to remove from the internet “unauthorized and illegal recordings” of pretrial hearings and depositions in a file-sharing lawsuit headed to trial.

    • Nesson responds to OSC re taping; claims labels seek to ‘distract and sap the energy…of those they oppose’

      Harvard Law School Professor Charles Nesson today responded to Judge Nancy Gertner’s Order to Show Cause regarding his practice of taping opposing counsel and posting the results to the Internet with a “declaration” denying all wrongdoing and accusing the plaintiffs in the Joel Tenenbaum case of seeking to “distract and sap the energy, and resources and reputations of those they oppose.”

    • Stephen Fry on copyright

      At an event in London last night, the writer, actor, and gadget fan Stephen Fry launched a surprisingly ferocious attack on the music and movie industries over the way they have acted to defend their copyright.

    • How Does Offering Free Content Insult Those Who Pay?

      Honestly, it’s yet another sign of the entitlement culture, where some seem to assume they’re entitled to keep their business model, and it’s somehow “insulting” to show their customers that there are better/cheaper/more efficient ways to get what they need.

    • The Myth Of Original Creators

      It’s nice to see more and more people recognizing and speaking out about these things. The idea that there is a single “author” or “creator” who deserves to get money any time anyone else builds upon his or her works is something that should be seen as increasingly ridiculous as people recognize that all works are created based on the works of others, and it’s inherently silly to try to charge everyone to pay back each and every one of their influences in creating a new work.

    • Copyright batte over ‘unauthorized’ Catcher in the Rye commentary

      Jim Lindgren has an interesting post over at Volokh.com concerning the legal battle over a book that may or may not be characterized by some as an unauthorized sequel to “Catcher in the Rye”.

    • BNN Trying To Silence The Canadian Copyright Debate?

      Given the above evidence one can only assume that The Business News Network’s intended goal is to silence the debate surrounding Canadian copyright reform by suppressing the rebroadcast of clips which may be unfavourable for industry lobby groups.

    • Why Should Webcasters Pay 25% Of Revenue To Promote Musicians?

      Some might say the NAB and traditional radio stations also make out nicely, in that since these rates may harm webcasters, it takes away some competition, but even if the radio stations are happy in the short-run, it’s a bad deal. These rates, certainly, will likely influence any eventual “performance right” that’s added to terrestrial radio, and could significantly jack up the cost of running a regular radio station as well.

    • Judge sides with YouTube on several copyright issues

      As it defends itself against allegations of copyright infringement made by multiple copyright owners, Google’s YouTube won some minor legal victories on Tuesday, legal documents show.

    • Why Did UK Anti-Piracy Group FACT Get Computers From A Criminal Investigation… And Keep Them?

      A few months after the original raid, investigation and arrest, the police decided that there wasn’t enough for criminal charges, and decided not to prosecute the Vickerman’s. The police told the Vickerman’s their property could be returned, so the Vicerkman’s lawyers contacted FACT asking for the equipment back, at which point FACT refused, claiming it was holding onto the equipment because it was considering bringing a civil suit against the Vickermans — which it eventually did bring.

    • SIIA’s Sequel To Don’t Copy That Floppy Lies About Criminality Of Copying

      So it’s difficult to fathom who could possibly think it’s a good idea to bring back the campaign… but that appears to be what’s happening. Still, the “chorus” of the song claims that copying is a crime. I would argue that this is false advertising.

    • Don’t Copy That Floppy sequel promises prison beatings for copying

      The BSA are, of course, big proponents of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which would require signatories to send noncommercial copiers to prison, so I suppose that there’s something to this threat.

    • Photographer moves to intervene in Fairey v. Associated Press fair use litigation

      In Fairey v. Associated Press, the fair use litigation in which Associated Press accuses artist Shepard Fairey of copyright infringement in connection with a painting he did based upon a portion of a photograph which appeared in the AP, the actual photographer — Manuel Garcia — has now moved to intervene in the action, claiming that he — and not the Associated Press — is the owner of the copyright in the photograph.

    • With guilty plea, Shepard Fairey agrees to ban himself in Boston

      Fairey consented to a plea deal that will prohibit him from carrying stickers, posters, wheat paste, brushes, and other tools of the graffiti trade while in Suffolk County for the next two years. Under the arrangement, Fairey pleaded guilty to three vandalism charges and must pay a $2,000 fine to one of his adversaries, Graffiti NABBers for the Neighborhood Association of the Back Bay.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Alexandro Colorado, international open source evangelist 17 (2004)

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

“I Am Not Afraid of…”

Posted in Mono, Site News at 7:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

On the topic of Mono

[via]

Leaked 2002 Document: Microsoft Compares Windows XP and Office to GNU/Linux and StarOffice

Posted in Antitrust, Deception, Europe, FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Office Suites, OpenOffice, SUN, Windows at 5:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Businessman

Summary: Antitrust exhibit shows Microsoft’s fear of GNU/Linux and StarOffice

THANKS to generous help from our reader wallclimber, we finally have a text version of valuable antitrust exhibits. She has more coming. Today’s exclusive leak is Exhibit px08604 (2002) [PDF], which shows Microsoft discussing the threat from GNU/Linux on the desktop and addressing this threat using FUD. This whole exhibit may as well be known as “Microsoft’s Linux FUD presentation.”

Bill Veghte and Brian Valentine (from Windows) are among the senior recipients of these instructions on how to ridicule GNU/Linux in public.

Here are a few highlights from the full text which is appended at the bottom. Microsoft is quote-mining Red Hat in order to make it seem like GNU/Linux does not believe in itself. For example:

“I hope to see continued work on interoperability and integration between the various Linux desktop components Mozilla, OpenOffice, GNOME, and KDE Unifying the MIME subsystem is one task that Red Hat can’t take on alone, but we are actively working with community developers to find a solution…” -Red Hat Corp Developer

Further down it also shows:

* WindowsXP has 35+% lower TCO than Linux (using Gartner model. In study of 2 Finnish city governments)

Look back at the Microsoft-Gartner deal and accompanying antitrust exhibits.

Microsoft and Gartner invented a yardstick (TCO) with which to attack GNU/Linux based on perceived cost.The term “Cost of Ownership” is repeated almost endlessly in this presentation, which is funny because it was more or less manufactured by Microsoft to favour Microsoft.

Microsoft and Gartner used these methods not so long ago to intercept GNU/Linux migrations across Europe.


Appendix: Comes vs. Microsoft – exhibit px08604, as text


Read the rest of this entry »

Is Mono’s Latest Strategy to Vilify Richard Stallman?

Posted in Debian, FSF, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Ubuntu at 4:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU Richard Stallman

Summary: “Move over, Richard, we’ll take it from here” — that’s the sort of message embraced by parts of the Mono community

WE already know, based on pretty extensive evidence, that many Mono fans are also close to Microsoft. That is what makes this whole movement rather detrimental to Microsoft's most potent competitor, namely GNU/Linux.

In prior posts about Mono and Microsoft’s “Community Promise” (CP) [1, 2, 3] we showed that it had changed virtually nothing. If anything, it finally revealed that Mono has indeed patent traps in it, maybe just not at the core. One of the rudest pro-Mono people (from Debian) is being very blunt about it:

Q: Are there patent issues with Mono?

A: Just like any other software, Mono certainly infringes on thousands of stupid software patents. However the Debian policy with patents is to put them in a trash and pee on them, unless they are actively enforced with reasonable chances to win. The situation of Mono is much more comfortable than (for example) that of MP3 decoders, for which patents are actively enforced; it’s just that they are so lame that we choose to ignore them.

Q: Are there specific dangers coming from Microsoft regarding Mono?

A: Microsoft has claimed to possess patents on some Mono compatibility layers with non-standard Microsoft APIs. Not only this is completely irrelevant to GNOME, since nothing in Gtk# and related stuff uses these compatibility layers, but if you know how things work in the patent world, you already understand this is merely FUD. Microsoft has nothing, but claims to have something in order to scare consumers away from Mono. Actually, not enforcing the patents, while knowing they are violated, would make their case very weak in a patent suit. What their behavior shows is that they are very afraid of Mono. It is stealing customers from their best and most advanced product, their lead development framework. There is absolutely zero chance that they are sustaining Mono from behind, since its very existence is going to make them lose a large amount of money.

He even throws a fit at Stallman at the end. This is part of a pattern for him and other proponents of Mono have been doing the same thing ever since Stallman spoke out regarding Mono [1, 2]. One person even used the F word.

Ubuntu is apathetic towards Richard Stallman’s advice [1, 2], but Glyn Moody justifiably distrusts Microsoft on the whole matter. Regarding the CP, he writes:

Now, is it just me, or does Microsoft conspicuously fail to answer its own question? The question was: does it apply to all versions *including* future revision? And Microsoft’s answer is about *existing* versions: so doesn’t that mean it could simply not apply the promise to a future version? Isn’t this the same problem as with the Open Specification Promise? Just asking.

See the comments in GNU/Linux sites to get an impression of how many people reject Mono. It is only a vocal/aggressive minority that seems to be spreading Microsoft inside GNU/Linux, despite opposition from about 3 out of 4 GNU/Linux users (according to a recent poll).

Mono people understand that their attempts to marry Microsoft and Linux are backfiring now that the SFLC and FSF speak out, so Plan B is seemingly to discredit Stallman in person to make his technical assessments go away or be dishonoured. It has gone on for about two weeks. Sam Varghese addresses this issue in a new article where he writes:

Let’s remember that De Icaza has gone on the public record stating that he believes .NET is the “natural upgrade” for GNOME. Here’s a direct quote: “I’d like to see Gnome applications written in .NET in version 4.0 – no, version 3.0. But Gnome 4.0 should be based on .NET. A lot of people just see .NET as a fantastic upgrade for the development platform from Microsoft.”

GNOME 3.0 is around the corner so he probably won’t have time to realise his dream. What of version 4.0?

Not unrelated to this whole Mono debate may be the fact that some GNOME people have started a campaign to smear Stallman, to the extent of even releasing a private email exchange. But then is not new behaviour from people at the top of GNOME. Anyone who criticises Mono seems to come in for a rough time.

Jason at the Mono Nono Web site correctly predicted that Stallman would suffer the wrath of Microsoft fans for merely daring to reject Mono. By the way, this is not a reference to one particular person because many blogs independently find an opportunity to pile criticisms on Stallman, for whatever reason or statement that he ever made (there is more than one, but the timing and motive are unlikely to be coincidental).

I told you the knives would come out for Stallman.

[...]

The sad thing is, much of the damage is already done. Stallman is facing a concerted attack on his character and competence and stands little chance of coming through it unscathed. Such is the penalty for daring to critize Mono. This garbage is already all over Planet Gnome, Planet Debian, Monologue and spreading.

The Mono Nono Web site also offers this list of reasons to ignore Microsoft’s CP, a clever trick which the ‘mainstream’ press consistently fell for:

If I had to list my concerns around the Promise I would come up with a slightly different list:

1. Standard bits alone are not enough to deliver killer apps. We have several Microsoft emails about limiting the usefulness of what was standardized, so we know they at least discussed this internally.
2. The Community Promise has that restriction that the Open Specification Promise does not. By not extending the Promise to partial implementations, it could “lock out” alternative implementations of the standard. Limited sub-sets of languages are a common practice in the industry for specialized purposes.
3. The Community Promise will constantly be misrepresented as covering the whole of mono – giving a false veneer of security over the non-covered bits (which end up to be the “juicy parts”)
4. The Community Promise only applies to the current version. This could be used by Microsoft to “freeze out” competing implementations. Just update the standard, but not the promise.

Moreover:

Consider that we know for a fact that F-Spot and Banshee, at least, use non-ECMA covered parts of mono. Maybe they will be re-written soon. That’s great. But at the time of the announcement and currently, they were and are not covered by the standard, and so not covered by the agreement.

And lastly:

There are many such internal documents that clearly show Microsoft understands exactly what standardizing parts of .NET means, and how to keep that offering in control and inferior to .NET. If Mono is not “chasing” .NET, then it fails to meet Windows developers expectations. If Mono is “chasing” .NET, then it both runs the risk of anti-competitive tactics on the non-standard parts, and is undertaking a task not likely to succeed.

Many more answers were delivered regarding Mono (even from Microsoft). Now more than ever it is clear that Mono is a trap and thus it must be avoided.

“I saw that internally inside Microsoft many times when I was told to stay away from supporting Mono in public. They reserve the right to sue”

Robert Scoble, former Microsoft evangelist

Patents Roundup: Software Landmines in New Zealand, the US, and Microsoft/Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, IBM, Kernel, Microsoft, OIN, Patents at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A summary of news about software patents around the world

HAVING just provided an update on the situation in Europe, we now turn our attention to other countries where events are noteworthy.

New Zealand

As a little update on the situation in New Zealand [1, 2], Free software advocates down under have submitted this document [PDF] in opposition of software patents.

United States

The Peer-To-Patent initiative, which we mentioned more recently in [1, 2, 3, 4], is said to be closing silently. [see addendum at the bottom]

And yet… the entire program apparently shut down last month and almost no one noticed (thanks to Eric Goldman for sending this over). They claim that the program is being “reviewed,” but no more patents are being accepted into the program, and the few that are already in are expected to be finished in the next few months.

In our humble assessment, the Peer-To-Patent initiative was looking for volunteers to legitimise software patents. It is an example where the real issue is approached inadequately and handled poorly. Some time earlier this month someone advertised a blog that would list a Microsoft patent per day — one that Linux may infringe on — and then seek to invalidate it. As many people rightly pointed out, this was a tactless approach that only encouraged more uncertainty — not confidence — in Linux. For whatever effect it may have, we have also been critics of "Linux Defenders" and TomTom was proof that OIN may just be a massive toothless tiger.

“As always, Microsoft and its supporters/evangelists must pretend that In Re Bilski has absolutely no effect on software patents in the United States.”In Re Bilski is already invalidating at least one software patent. Being precedence, this is wonderful news and the IPKats share this letter from AmeriKat, which speaks about Bilski. There is also this new Webcast which is more or less about the Bilski test.

As always, Microsoft and its supporters/evangelists must pretend that In Re Bilski has absolutely no effect on software patents in the United States. We are already seeing the familiar Microsoft trolls spreading their disinformation here in Boycott Novell whenever the subject comes up. The same type of thing may also be happening in the press.

Remember the Windows-powered SD Times? No free lunch, eh? Well, this is the journalist whom Microsoft bought lunch. One of his latest articles bears a headline which makes it seem like it’s software patents-hostile, but the article body does the very opposite. We spoke about this pattern a few days ago.

Mark Webbink already chimes in and writes: “Unfortunately, attorney Plotkin’s remarks perpetuate a myth that many patent attorneys would like the rest of us to believe – that software patents are necessary to the software industry to induce innovation. Yet, every empirical study of the impact of software patents on the software industry has shown that they have had no meaningful impact on the industry, either positive or negative. If you think of the software giants of today, such as Oracle and Microsoft, they all became quite successful without the benefit of software patents and only turned to patenting their software innovations when they perceived a need to do so to protect themselves from the threats posed by other large companies. Microsoft alone spends far more money obtaining patents, defending itself in patent litigation, and paying judgments than it ever earns in licensing income from its very substantial portfolio of software patents. Moreover, Microsoft almost never enforces its patents against other parties. No software company in its right mind would unilaterally disarm itself by giving up its patents, but if all companies were forced to do so at the same time, the effect on innovation would likely be . . . nothing.

The writer obviously did not make Webbink so happy (nor did it leave him impressed). Free lunch aside, Worthington’s lip service to Microsoft (regarding ODF, Novell, and open source) is hard to forget because he does the same type of thing to advance .NET at the moment. Here is a response to it from Mark S:

Really? Maybe that’s because Java developers don’t write desktop apps for Linux. If fact, I can’t recall the last time I saw a desktop application written in Java (other than Eclipse itself) for any OS! Java developers basically abandoned the desktop for the server, plus the odd browser applet here and there. But there are tons of server-side apps and frameworks written in Java.

Are there actually any qualifications for being an industry “analyst”, other than an obvious willingness to kiss up to Microsoft at every opportunity? This is a blatant plug for .NET, O’Grady could care less what is running on Linux desktops.

In order to advance Mono and .NET, Worthington contacted O’Grady from RedMonk. We warned about this before. O’Grady’s clients include Microsoft and he uses an iPhone that he loves, so it leaves more room for judgment.

“Patents are a matter of development and economics and even on that basis alone software patents should be rejected.”That’s just a disclosure of possible interests, which ought to be fair. The company deserves credit for being transparent, but caution is deserved because what analysts typically sell is a sellout. They sell opinions that are favourable to their clients. As Microsoft puts it [PDF], “Analysts sell out – that’s their business model…”

Moving on a bit, Gene Quinn, a lawyer and vocal advocate of software patents for quite some time, says that “Software is the New Engine and Must be Patentable.” Groklaw has already tackled this pattern of software patents advocacy from Gene Quinn. Patents are a matter of development and economics and even on that basis alone software patents should be rejected. A study shows, using scientific means, that such patents only impede innovation (but surely they fill the pockets of lawyers like Gene Quinn). The study generally suggests that patents miss their original goal as they have the very opposite effect (compared to how they are presently advertised and sold to the public/lawmakers).

Speaking of lawyers, Business Week has this new article about John F. Duffy. The role played by Microsoft and IBM is mentioned there too.

Critics of the U.S. patent system have high hopes that 2009 might be the year Congress acts to amend it. But their lobbying has failed for years, so John F. Duffy sees another path to change: litigation. “I’ve thought a lot about reform of the patent system through the courts,” says the George Washington University Law School professor. “It’s not like the courts can’t adjust in this area.”

[...]

Today’s debate over patent law generally pits pharmaceutical and traditional manufacturers against high-tech companies. Makers of long-lived products want strong patent protection to ward off copycats. They and such tech powerhouses as IBM (IBM) and Microsoft (MSFT) are backing a Senate bill even though it would reduce penalties that patent infringers might be ordered to pay. But others in the faster-paced tech sector have turned against the measure because it doesn’t cap damage awards enough. Without a concerted push by business, the Senate may once again shelve action to deal with more pressing matters.

Linux (Universal)

In Germany, SCO was fined for false/empty accusations against Linux. A guy over at Raiden suggests that Microsoft should be subjected to similar treatment.

Either way we put MS and other FUD generating companies over a barrel. They either show us what patents, if any, are being infringed, and we simply code around them. Or else we force them to shut their mouths and end their FUD mongering. Either way, we win. And the best part is, once we’re done, if these companies continued their patent threats, the EFF and the FSF could sue those companies for slander.

Steve Stites put it well when he said: “Put your mouth where your money is”

From his message:

Microsoft has spent enormous sums of money to build a huge portfolio of dubious quality software patents. Armed with this immense obsolete weapon they have entered into the patent wars. And lost.

The sums of money extracted by patent trolls from Microsoft far exceed whatever money Microsoft has managed to extract from other companies with software patent threats. So far, software patents are a huge net loss for Microsoft.

A new article from the Financial Times shows that Linux is among the sufferers of patent law.

The internet it still in its infancy, but already we see fantastic things appearing as if by magic. Take Linux, the free computer operating system, or Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Witness the participatory culture of MySpace and YouTube, or the growth of the Pirate Bay, which makes the world’s culture easily available to anybody with an internet connection. But where technology opens up new possibilities, our intellectual property laws do their best to restrict them. Linux is held back by patents, the rest of the examples by copyright.

Those in the Linux sphere who do not discuss software patent threats simply do not understand the severity of the subject. This silence serves Microsoft very well because it offers wiggling room.

“Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won’t leave you alone.”

Richard Stallman

Addendum: Mark Webbink, who is now at the New York Law School, says that Peer-To-Patent Has not shut down. His statement says: “Peer-to-Patent has not shut down. It is still operating. The only thing that has occurred is that the USPTO has decided to suspend an[y] new applications until they have an opportunity to assess the effectiveness of the program. Meanwhile, Peer-to-Patent still has 70+ pending patent applications under review. Come on over and check it out.

Correction: About Schlesinger, ‘Fink’, Etc. (Updated)

Posted in Site News at 2:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WE ought to make some clarifications, which will set the record straight. Contrary to claims from some readers (comments and IRC logs), David Schlesinger has no connections with Microsoft. He only has some history with Apple, but not Microsoft. I spoke to David, so I know. There is also no connection between Schlesinger and ‘Fink’ because it is so improbable that it would be silly to suggest so. It is possible that the goal of ‘Fink’ was just to create wars inside GNU/Linux, vilifying both Boycott Novell and Ubuntu at the same time.

“Lesson learned: don’t reply to (or ever contact) Internet k00ks, no matter the circumstances.”A correction also needs to be made because memory did not serve well. It was not David who suggested that I try to contact ‘Fink’ after his trolling had turned to personal abuse. David only asked that I clarify that there is no connection between me and ‘Fink’ (and there is none). In my first-ever message to ‘Fink’ I dennounced him for what he did to David, but David never saw that message; instead he was passed by ‘Fink’ a message that sought to put us in hot legal waters.

Lesson learned: don’t reply to (or ever contact) Internet k00ks, no matter the circumstances. They get their kicks being abusive. It may have all been a set-up.

Update: I made statements that Mr. Schlesinger was attacking Richard Stallman over disagreements about Mono, rather than over Mr. Stallman’s sexist remarks at the Gran Canaria Desktop Summit, as well as suggesting that he used false names. This was wrong of me. I retract these statements unreservedly and offer Mr. Schlesinger a full apology for having made them. I will endeavor to avoid making such irresponsible statements in the future.

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