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08.24.09

Are Microsoft and Apple in Collusion Against Google?

Posted in Antitrust, Apple, Google, Law, Microsoft at 8:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cameras

Summary: Microsoft and Yahoo! seek to harm Google, together; Apple and AT&T agreed to block Google’s VoIP application

OUR writings about the Yahoo!-Microsoft deal [1, 2, 3, 4] culminated in this latest post which showed that it is not final. Here is another new tidbit about this ‘anti-Google’ alliance.

Matthew Cantor, a partner with the firm Constantine Cannon LLP, told ComputerWorld that he believes the deal will not get past regulators – at least not as is.

Will regulators recognise the fact that having less choice and centralising power inside a convicted monopolist is detrimental to competition?

Speaking of collusional abuse, watch what Apple and AT&T have been doing. We wrote about that some weeks ago and the full story finally unravels.

US telecoms giant AT&T has admitted that it struck a deal with Apple to prevent iPhone applications from using its network for VoIP.

Yet another collusion that harms the consumer then. They fight for scarcity. Just because it works well for two private corporations does not make it acceptable. Watch Apple doing ‘damage control’ in reaction to this discovery.

How Many People Must Die Before Abandoning Windows?

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 8:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Forgotten leg

Summary: Hospitals given another reason to give Windows the kick; Vista 7 fails to improve security

YET another UK-based hospital has just been punished for using Windows, but the victims are live (or dead) patients who were denied access to service due to Conficker.

An east London hospital has confirmed its computer systems were infected by the Conficker worm earlier this month.

Almost half a dozen British hospitals are known to have fallen victim to Conficker. Who knows how many incidents were never reported. These incidents lead to uncountable deaths and Microsoft counts on sweeping the problems under a thick rug.

Some hold Microsoft accountable, but as this new bit of IE6 humour shows, Microsoft continues to rely on ignorance and apathy. Not enough people are calling for change. While on a humourous side, here is a new Clippy cartoon. Wheaeas the company is able to make obnoxious and obstructive animations, decent reliability and security are too great a challenge to it.

According to this from news, there is yet another reason to accept the fact that Vista 7 is insecure by its very nature [1, 2, 3, 4].

[W]hen a Sophos blog posting from it’s Chief Technology Office, Richard Jacobs, started with the playground taunt equivalent of ‘I’ve been kissing your mum’ by saying “Windows 7′s planned XP compatibility mode risks undoing much of the progress that Microsoft has made on the security front in the last few years and reveals the true colours of the OS giant” you kind of new things would get nasty, and quick. Jacobs continued his verbal assault on Microsoft and Windows 7 by adding “XP mode reminds us all that security will never be Microsoft’s first priority. They’ll do enough security to ensure that security concerns aren’t a barrier to sales, but not so much that it gets in the way of progress”. Ooh, a little below the belt perhaps?

Looking elsewhere in the news, Wired Magazine names 7 reasons to stay away from Vista 7. Here are the more relevant points that are raised:

It’s Still Windows
Despite delivering an intuitive, modern interface in Windows 7, this OS is still Windows. In our first look at Windows 7, we complained about the OS’s inability to recognize an Adobe AIR file followed by its failure to search for software to run the file.

Also, Windows 7 doesn’t immediately know what to do with some pretty obvious tasks. When you insert a thumb drive, for example, you must tell Windows 7 what to do with it (i.e. open the folder and view the files) and customize a setting to get the OS to automatically behave that way. In short, when getting started you’ll have to do a lot of tweaking and customizing to get moving smoothly. That’s unfortunately an experience all Windows users are accustomed to — things don’t “just work.”

Security Isn’t Automatically Better
Computerworld’s Steven Vaughan-Nichols stands firm that Windows 7 won’t change anything from a security perspective: “Windows 7 still has all the security of a drunken teenager in a sports car,” he wrote. “Millions of lazy Windows users are the reason why the internet is a mess. If you already do all the right things to keep XP running safely, you’re not going to get any safer by buying Windows 7.”

Good point. Because Windows 7 is still Windows, you’re again the primary target of attack for hackers and virus coders. Therefore, it’s up to you to protect yourself with anti-virus software and running update patches to keep the OS as secure as possible. (Compare this experience to Mac OS X Leopard, for which many don’t even run anti-virus software, because it’s more secure out-of-the-box compared to Windows.) Though Windows 7 does deliver some security enhancements, such as data encryption for thumb drives, and a feature for IT administrators to control which applications can run on a corporate network, these are not general security improvements that change much for the overall user experience.

In summary, Windows leads to deaths in hospitals and nothing is changing. Vista 7 will resolve nothing substantial.

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

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

Another Week, Another Microsoft Product/Service Officially Halted

Posted in Microsoft at 7:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Don't hesitate, decorate

Summary: Microsoft does not hesitate in throwing one product onto another

ONCE in about 2.5 weeks (on average), a Microsoft product dies. The latest casualty is Live Framework, but it was a preview.

Microsoft on Sept. 8 plans to discontinue its Live Framework Community Technology Preview for developers, instead integrating the framework into the next release of the company’s Windows Live online services.

According to The Register:

Developers urged to salvage code before cut off date

This is not as bad as it may sound, but inconvenience is caused (not for the first time) by Microsoft products and services being folded or relocated.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: August 24th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Links 24/08/2009: Nokia Does More Tablets with GNU/Linux, Red Hat Releases HornetQ

Posted in News Roundup at 6:21 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • All Linux needs is a good commercial

    Larry: “Well, give me Linux.”

    Elaine: “Go get it yourself.”

    Larry: “But I just bought this laptop, I don’t want to have to buy anything else.”

    Elaine: “It’s free. Now go away.”

    Larry: “Free…” The gears are working in Larry’s brain. “What’s the catch. There’s always a catch.”

    Elaine: “No catch, Larry. It’s just free.”

    Larry looks over Elaine’s shoulder as she continues working.

    Larry: “Looks good. Hard to believe all of that is free. Why haven’t I heard of this before?”

    Elaine: “You have now. Now go away!”

    Larry: “Fine. I’ll go get this Linux.”

  • Linux- 5 steps to a wider adoption.

    Step 2- Publicity
    There does not seem to be any kind of active publicity going on anywhere- at least from where I stand- that is aimed at creating an awareness about Linux. There are hundreds of millions of people out there who simply have not heard about Linux before. That is a vast market waiting to be tapped. But without the proper publicity by the main Linus distros, such a market lies untapped. Lots of people are fed up with Windows and want an alternative, but how do they get to switch to something they have not even heard of before? It seems to me, frankly, that the few people that use Linux as their OS are doing more to advertise Linux than the distro vendors themselves. The internet is a very great tool that can be used to push Linux to the limelight.

  • The Joy of Linux Myth Debunking

    In fact, more than 70 percent of work on the kernel today is done by developers who are being paid for their efforts, the report found.

  • StarNet Ports Host Access Innovation to Linux Platform

    StarNet Communications of Sunnyvale, California, a leading developer of remote host connectivity solutions, announced LinuxLIVE, the company’s first X server solution for Linux users seeking stable, secure connections to applications running on remote Unix and Linux servers.

  • Desktop

    • Mac and FreeBSD guy trying Debian

      Bottom line is: so far I’m enjoying the experience. I won’t be changing FreeBSD to Debian on my desktops, but having it work so well on older notebook hardware without almost any configuration on my part was very cool, and Gnome is a pleasure to use.

    • Linux saves the day … again

      What do you do when Windows will not boot and cannot repair itself from the installation CD? You fire up a Linux Live CD!

    • Use a Live CD to load your operating system

      Normally Live CDs use the Linux operating system rather than Windows. While this may mean having to learn a new way of doing things, the advantage is that most of the applications required will already be on the CD.

      For instance, if most of what you do is web, email or office tasks, many Live CDs come with Firefox, Thunderbird and Openoffice installed, allowing you to do all those things.

      You will need to download the live CD as a disc (or ISO) image and then create it, which is normally simple if you have CD burning software on your computer (you will need a blank CD, obviously).

    • 8 Minimal GTK Themes

      Below are 8 minimal GTK2 themes for your Ubuntu desktop. To install them either follow the instructions given or use the ‘Appearances’ dialog from the ‘System’ menu.

    • Top 7 Xfce Applications

      Over the years, Xfce gained a reputation of being a lightweight alternative for the two major desktop environments on Linux, KDE and GNOME. This comes from the fact that Xfce usually uses less resources, comes with applications which offer basic functionality and clean, simple interfaces, and the general performance of Xfce is better, at least when it comes to memory cost, than both KDE or GNOME. Xubuntu uses Xfce and very often it is recommended for older hardware which can’t handle the latest releases of Ubuntu or Kubuntu.

  • Server

  • Graphics

    • This Week: Linux Graphics Continue To Evolve
    • VIA Releases A New 2D Linux Driver

      Earlier this month we shared that VIA would be releasing a new 2D graphics driver for Linux and this morning they have done just that. While previously VIA Technologies had thrown their weight behind the OpenChrome driver, and there are other VIA drivers out there like the UniChrome driver, they have been working on their own xf86-video-via driver. Back in August they had released a xf86-video-via driver, but today’s release of this open-source driver now uses their new kernel DRM for providing 2D (EXA) acceleration.

    • NVIDIA Pushes Out New Linux Driver Updates

      NVIDIA hasn’t been updating their binary Linux drivers as frequently as they were earlier this year when it would be hard to go even just a week without seeing a new beta, an official update, or changes to either of their legacy drivers. However, there are some new NVIDIA Linux drivers to start off this week. For those sticking with the official NVIDIA driver releases there is now the 185.18.36 release while those willing to try out a beta driver there is the 190.25 build.

  • Applications

    • Pidgin 2.6.1: The best Linux IM client gets better

      IM (Instant Messaging) clients have become invisible. We use them all the time to ‘talk’ with co-workers, chat with friends, and ‘text’ with family members on their phone. That is, I do, anyway because my IM client Pidgin, works with every almost every IM client in creation and it makes chatting with anyone, anywhere mindlessly simple. And, with this newest version, limited voice and video support is built in as well.

      [...]

      This version also includes support for UTF-8 domain names. For those who don’t follow this kind of thing this means that Pidgin users will find it easier to talk to users from countries outside of the European language family.

    • 42 Hot Free Linux Games (Part 3 of 3)

      Linux enjoys a very large software library of games, the vast majority of which can be downloaded without any payment. Helping to identify great games is made difficult by the fact that to a large extent games are a matter of taste. Furthermore, some players prefer games of tactics, others enjoy the communication with fellow gamers. There are those who hanker for games that require quick reflexes, or which truly challenge the mind.

    • Introducing Guitarix

      At this stage in its development Guitarix has almost no user-level documentation. The source package includes a README that explains the program in some detail, and Hermann Meyer has written a good introduction to using jconv in Guitarix. A discussion forum exists but traffic is light. The program also needs a demonstrative bank of presets. Fortunately the program is easy to learn through its use. Experiment, make new presets, save them, and tell the rest of us about them.

    • Kupfer Launches Linux Files and Applications Quickly

      Linux: If the graphical demands of previously mentioned Linux launchers GNOME-Do or AWN are too much for your needs, Kupfer might be a perfect fit. It works in a similar fashion, but uses only spare resources to do so.

  • Distributions

    • Early Ubuntu 9.10, OpenSuSE 11.2, Mandriva 2010 Benchmarks

      Last week we provided benchmarks of Ubuntu 9.10 Alpha 4, but Ubuntu is not the only Linux distribution preparing for a major update in the coming months. Also released in the past few days were OpenSuSE 11.2 Milestone 6 and Mandriva Linux 2010.0 Beta 1. To see how these three popular distributions compare, we set out to do our usual Linux benchmarking dance.

    • First look at Puppy Linux 4.2.1 (by Jesse Smith)

      My conclusion is that Puppy is an interesting live CD. It strikes me as a tool I could hand to a student taking a system admin course as a demo, or perhaps a Windows admin that needs the functionality of a Linux live CD. It’s a tool which could be used to test old hardware; perhaps to wipe or backup drives. It’s not a distribution I’d recommend installing on a hard disk or using as a day-to-day operating system or even connecting to the Internet. Its strengths lie in its small size and friendly approach to Windows users, not everyday use.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat HornetQ debuts for open source messaging

        In blog post, Red Hat developer Tim Fox wrote that,” HornetQ is an open source project to build a multi-protocol, embeddable, high performance, clustered, asynchronous messaging system. HornetQ is an example of Message Oriented Middleware (MoM).”

        That’s right, messaging for middleware is now MoM. I expect we’ll see that acronym more over the course of what is left of 2009.

      • Is it time you swapped Ubuntu for Fedora?

        The direct link to the commercial enterprise of Red Hat also means that Fedora is incredibly secure and stable: its RPM package management is an industry standard. Fedora gains a lot of credibility from its community driven sibling, with the only downside being a relatively short life cycle for support on each release.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 156

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #156 for the week August 16th – August 22nd, 2009. In this issue we cover: Ubuntu Developer Week, Karmic UNR packages now open for translation, Another reason to become an Official Ubuntu Member, Next Ubuntu Global Jam, Free Art of Community Book for Approved LoCo teams, Ubuntu Arizona Team Installfest, Launchpad screencasts, Ubuntu Forums Community Interview, Computers without internet are no fun, One Hundred Paper Cuts Round 7, Support the Ubuntu Global Jam, and much, much more!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • First look at Nokia RX-51 also known as Nokia N900
    • Nokia plots fightback in smartphone market

      Along with an increased focus on services such as maps and music, Nokia is expected to unveil a smartphone using a Linux operating system. It’s also planning to launch a range of netbooks to boost its device offering.

    • Android

      • 2 + 8 = Glass: Android Desktop Phone Seeking Market Entry

        The Android based, VoIP-capable Glass phone with a chip each for operating system and telephony plus an 8″ touchscreen is supposed to welcome a new era in business telephony.

      • Do We Need New App Stores for Android?

        ARCHOS’ Android tablet promises to be a very different kind of Android device–definitely not a smartphone. “We believe in the future, and we are convinced that the future is about High-End Android devices,” says’ ARCHOS’ AppsLib site. As more and more non-phone devices arrive based on Android, there will almost certainly be new, dedicated app stores, and that has everything to do with the open source nature of the operating system.

      • VoIP desktop phone design runs Android

        A San Francisco-based startup announced an Android-based VoIP desktop phone for business users. Powered by a Texas Instruments OMAP SoC and a SIP-ready AudioCodes VoIP processor, Cloud Telecomputers’ reference platform offers an 8-inch, 800 x 600 touchscreen, handset, Bluetooth, HD speakerphone, and an open, Android-based “Glass” development platform.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud Review on the HP Mini 1000

        I tried several operating system on the HP Mini 1000 netbook during the past months, inlcuding Karmic Koala Alpha releases of Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) and Kubuntu netbook edition, as well as Moblin v2.0.
        I was pretty excited after watching the Moblin video tour and also very impressed of the great looking Kubuntu UI. Still, I am most satisfied with UNR from a usability and hardware support perspective and certainly due to being used to work with Ubuntu.
        But, there is another OS which I want to test drive before deciding what system to run in the future: Jolicloud. Like the other systems mentioned above Jolicloud is optimized for netbooks. The Jolicloud developers call it an Internet operating system as there is a strong focus on Web/cloud based applications.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Lucid Imagination Releases Performance Monitoring Utility for Open Source Apache Lucene

    LucidGaze for Lucene, developed by Lucid Imagination, uses innovative technology to reverse-engineer characteristics of the Lucene application and provide a framework for developers to retrieve detailed data and statistics to improve application management.

  • RIM Looks to Open Source in Mobile Browsing–Is Microsoft Listening?

    Mozilla continues to gain ground with its mobile browser, Fennec, and has just released a third beta of it. Fennec is likely to inherit many of the extensions that have been created for Firefox, which could give it many advantages.

  • Get out the Vote: 2009 Open Source CMS Award

    This award is often seen as a competition between open source CMS projects, however, I view the award as an opportunity to promote open source and content management to the masses. I also know many in the content management field that use these type of awards to help them decide which open source CMS projects should be on their radar too. While the winning open source projects do enjoy winning their share of the $24,000 in award money, I think the projects are more appreciative just knowing their users thought enough of their CMS to nominate them in the first place.

  • FLOSS Weekly 83: Web Comics

    Guests: Comic artists Jeffrey T. Darlington and Christopher B. Wright, and webmaster for Bill Holbrook’s Kevin and Kell comic, Chris Kohler.

  • Don’t let the Swine Win!: Enecomp 2009, Curitiba, Brazil – September 4-8, 2009

    Therefore it distresses me that the current hysteria around H1N1, also known as “Swine Flu” is jeopardizing the hard work done by students in Curitiba, Brazil for a conference that otherwise would be considered “world class”.

  • The APT2 project

    The planned Acquire system uses GModule to modularize the support for different URI schemes. Each module provides a worker class which implements one or more URI schemes. The first of these modules will provide a worker using GIO, which deals with local file access, samba shares, FTP, SFTP, WebDAV and various other protocols, including HTTP until a replacement has been written (since we don’t want to force gvfs-backends). The workers communicate with the parent Acquire object using signals and can cause the whole acquisition to be aborted by emiting an “abort” signal (or similar).

  • Top 3 Mozilla Firefox 4 Features For Next Generation Browsing Experience

    Mozilla Firefox needs no special mention to anyone who is associated with internet. Perhaps the fastest and most reliable browser in this world is the most popular one too as they achieved the Guiness Book of World Records for most download in a single day. The key to their success has been continuous improvement of the browser and large committed group of high-quality developers, which Mozilla Foundation could cheaply leverage due to the open source nature of the product. Mozilla Foundation surely do not believe in resting on their laurels. Mozilla Firefox 4 suits the idiom perfectly as it is coming up with some features we could have never imagined in a browser. So let us sneak into that world.

  • FSF/GNU

  • Programming

    • Rails-like Quickly tools brings rapid development to Ubuntu

      Canonical has created a new framework for Ubuntu called Quickly that aims to accelerate application development. It provides a set of command line tools for generating new programming projects, building packages, and releasing software.

Leftovers

  • And Another One: CNN Found ‘Ripping Off’ Others’ Reporting

    Remember a few weeks back when a Washington Post reporter claimed that Gawker was “ripping off” his reporting, despite the fact that the Gawker piece linked back to the original article three times? Since then, we’ve noted how common it is for the mainstream press to do much worse to bloggers, quite often giving them no credit at all and pretending they came up with the stories entirely on their own.

  • Another Band Tries Pay What You Want Concerts

    Pete alerts us to the news that the band Lotus is trying out a pay what you want tour. They apparently worked out a deal with Ticketweb to basically let people pick prices anywhere from $1 to $20 (no $0 option)

  • Seven Crimes That Will Get You a Smaller Fine than File-Sharing

    1. Child abduction: the fine is only like $25000.

    2. Stealing the actual CD: the fine is $2,500

    3. Rob your neighbor: the fine is $375,000

    4. Burn a house down: The fine is just over $375,000

    5. Stalk someone: The fine is $175,000

    6. Start a dogfighting ring: the fine is $50,000

    7. Murder someone: The maximum penalty is only $25,000 and 15 years in jail, and depending on your yearly salary, would probably be far slighter a penalty that $2 million.

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