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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: August 31st, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Links 31/08/2009: New Elive, Samsung Linux Phones Leaked

Posted in News Roundup at 6:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The easiest operating system to update is…

    I prefer Linux myself for most desktop uses but I confess that Mac OS X Snow Leopard is also an easy upgrade. Just like Ubuntu Linux, all you really need to do is put in the DVD, make a few mouse clicks, and go have lunch while it runs. Snow Panther, on my Mac mini, took just over an hour to install and about 45-minutes on my MacBook Pro.

    Once installed, both Snow Leopard and Ubuntu ran perfectly. That’s more than I can about Windows 7. After installing it, I found that an old Vista networking problem with working with NAS (networked attached storage) was still present and required me to manually adjust an obscure local security setting. Sure Windows is easy! What nonsense!

  • Can Ubuntu 9.10 Outperform Mac OS X 10.6?

    Of the 26 tests shown in this article, Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” was the clear winner in 12 of the 26 tests while Snow Leopard had won a handful and the rest of the tests had results that were too close to call or unchanged between the Apple and Canonical operating systems. Ubuntu 9.10 can certainly compete with Mac OS X 10.6 when it comes to the performance, but of course a few of these tests do show performance regressions compared to the earlier Ubuntu 9.04 release, an area where Ubuntu developers could improve. Additionally, not all areas of the system or hardware combinations were tested, such as with the Intel Linux graphics performance struggling compared to Mac OS X. On top of that, the Ubuntu Linux installations had NVIDIA’s proprietary driver manually installed, where as the “out of the box” experience on Ubuntu does not provide any 3D acceleration for NVIDIA hardware.

    Stay tuned for our large Mac OS X, Linux, OpenSolaris, and BSD operating system comparison in the next month.

  • Linux Support for the Saleae Logic Analyzer!

    As you can see if you look closely, its just a simulation ( I don’t have the device yet ), but it looks like it has everything I would want out of a $150 logic analyzer. Also, the guys at Sparkfun seem to like it enough to sell it, another good mark in my book. I’ll be buying a device from here soon! Thanks for the Linux support

  • 25 Linux tips for Windows switchers

    The experience of switching to Linux needn’t be a traumatic one.

    Here are 25 things you need to know that will make your transition to an open source OS easy.

  • How to Start Moving to Ubuntu

    Most of people who think to move to ubuntu are Windows users, People who have Mac would never think to move to Ubuntu I guess :D .. so You will need to have an Ubuntu CD . You can just download the ISO file and burn it on a CD or you can request a free CD which will be delivered to you by mail in about 2 weeks . Installation is too easy if you are a windows user, It will show you an option to install with Windows but you will need to create a partition on your HDD to put Ubuntu System files on . I would recommend a 10 or 15 GB Partition for Installing Ubuntu .

  • NZ Post trials open source on desktops

    The project is about freedom and diversity in the choice of operating systems, not about specifically moving towards an open-source desktop, says NZ Post’s technology innovation manager, Barry Polley. NZ Post already uses some open source software, for example Red Hat Linux in the company’s datacentre, but not on the desktop.

    NZ Post is the only government-owned agency that has gone public on its participation in the Remix open-source public-sector desktop programme (see page 14), coordinated by the New Zealand Open Source Society (NZOSS).

  • Softpedia Linux Weekly, Issue 59

    For this edition, we offer you a first look at the upcoming Jolicloud operating system for netbooks. The following Linux distributions have been announced last week: Mandriva Linux 2010.0 Beta.

  • Multi-booting over the internet

    Many operating systems can already be booted over the net, especially so for the installation systems of the major Linux distributions, but the netboot.me web service offers a universal boot loader which presents them all in one menu. The boot loader can be installed on a USB stick, burned onto CD, or on a floppy disk. This allows users to start an always current selection of operating systems over the internet using one single boot medium.

  • BITA to create awareness on Linux

    With the Gujarat government keen on promoting Linux and including it as one of the prominent subjects to be covered in the HSC and SSC courses, Baroda IT Association (BITA) has resolved to hold an awareness seminar on Linux. The seminar will witness participation from the members and their employees.

  • Convincing the World, One Computer and One User at a Time

    - Another friend is going on a disaster relief mission to Kosovo soon, and wants to take a netbook along so he can stay in touch with his wife here in Switzerland. No sweat, I have prepared one of the HP 2133 Mini-Notes with Ubuntu, and all the email and communication software he might want to use on it. Another convert.

  • Kernel Space

    • OpenCL Support Atop Gallium3D Is Here, Sort Of

      OpenCL is present in NVIDIA’s Linux driver as well as the just-released Mac OS X 10.6, but there is support for the Open Computing Language coming forward in the open-source world through the Gallium3D driver infrastructure.

    • ALSA 1.0.21 Released With Many Driver Updates

      With it being a few months since the release of ALSA 1.0.20, it’s now time for the ALSA 1.0.21 update. The ALSA driver package update (finally) brings the Creative X-Fi Linux driver officially along with a horde of updates to the other drivers and more.

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.31 – Part 5: CUSE, USB 3.0, FireWire networking and the rest

      Linux 2.6.31 will support USB 3.0, although the corresponding hardware is not yet available. Distributions are to use the new FireWire stack that now offers LAN support. CUSE emulates the Open Sound System via a userspace program. Another new addition is a driver for Acer’s Aspire One netbook.

      Last Friday, Linus Torvalds released the eigth pre-release version of Linux 2.6.31. As the lead developer stressed in the release announcement, it will be the last pre-release version. He is on holiday diving for the next week and hopes to present the 2.6.31 release on the Labor Day US Holiday, which falls on September 7th this year.

  • Applications

    • ChatZilla: Powerful IRC Client for Firefox

      ChatZilla is an IRC client built as a Firefox add-on and providing enough features to use it just like any other standalone IRC client. ChatZilla will fit best as an IRC client when you don’t want to use a separate application for getting on IRC.

    • 6 of the Best Free Linux Family History Software

      Now, let’s explore the 6 genealogy software at hand. For each title we have compiled its own portal page, providing a screenshot of the software in action, a full description with an in-depth analysis of its features, together with links to relevant resources and reviews.

    • A New Development Release Of GNOME Shell

      GNOME 3.0 will not be rolling out until the first half of 2010, but work is already underway on this major GNOME update that is the first to bring some radical changes in a long time. One of the major components of GNOME 3.0 is the GNOME Shell. The GNOME Shell will begin handling some of the responsibilities that previously was done by the window manager and GNOME Panel in GNOME 2.xx while offering a modern graphics experience.

    • Chrome

      • Google Chrome Available for Download

        With the availability of, Google continues to indicate its commitment to building truly 64-bit Chrome for Linux. The Mountain View company is also working to port the V8 JavaScript engine to 64-bit (x64) Windows, but has failed to provide an ETA for delivery so far.

      • 10 Interesting Google Chrome OS Mock-up Designs

        We may never see the first development version of Google Chrome Operating System until the beginning of next year. We can however look at some mock-up desktop designs of Chrome OS which are scattered throughout the web.

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Vector Linux 6.0 Light Live CD

      The Vector Linux team is happy to announce Vector Linux 6.0 Light LIVE.

      This version is intended as a preview of the traditional installable release. It closely mirrors the original VL Light, but some packages have been added or upgraded, including the kernel.

    • [Clonezilla 1.2.3-1 Released]
    • 3 Linux distros you would love to laugh at

      I must say that the number of Linux distributions is greater than one can imagine and it is growing every day.Every time I see some geek coming out with a distro of his own as if it is trendy to do so.Making a Linux distro has become relatively easier given the number of tools there are for doing it,but that doesn’t mean that you can come up with anything you like.Here are the some distributions/editions you shouldn’t be using if you really have a life.

    • Backtrack : Linux Distro for the White Hat

      Backtrack is a slackware based Linux distro which uses the KDE environment. Backtrack was developed by the Mati Aharoni, an Israeli security consultant.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • 7 Reasons to Use Debian

        1. Stable
        Any application needs time to be used and tested enough time in order to make it stable. One of the greatest goals of Debian is stability. It’s released when it’s ready and applications included in the repositories have enough time to be tested through.

      • Debian 64 Bit Linux Overview

        I wanted to see Linux in action in 64 bits. It seems there are only a few choices, Ubuntu and Debian were the only distributions I found using 64 bit software. I thought I would give Debian a go first planning on installing Ubuntu afterwards. Ubuntu is/was derived from Debian, and many programs could be interchanged between repositories without issue.

      • [Elive 1.9.41 Released]
      • Back To School: Ubuntu Laptop Pick

        If you’re truly interested in using the Ubuntu operating system I highly recommend a pre-installed option over installing on an existing computer. Besides the obvious points of compatibility, quality, and cost, i have one more. Buying Ubuntu installed computers is the only way to create more Ubuntu installed laptop and netbook options in the mainstream marketplace.

      • 4 apps new Ubuntu users should not do without

        The amount of applications available in the Ubuntu repositories can sometimes be overwhelming for a new user who is used to scouring the net for very simple applications to run on their Windows platform. To make things simple for such users, I have compiled this short list of four applications that new users should start their Ubuntu life with whiles they get used to the abundance of programs they lacked in Windows.

      • kubuntu installer

        While I am still pondering a good topic for my next CS oriented post, I thought I would finally take the time to promote and show off some of the changes I have been making to the Kubuntu installer, Ubiquity.

      • [Full Circle Magazine] issue 28

        * Command and Conquer
        * How-To : Program in Python – Part 2, LAMP Server – Part 1, Networking with SSHFS and Fast Internet With Squid.
        * My Story – My Linux Experience I and II.
        * My Opinion – AllMyApps
        * Review – Tellico.
        * MOTU Interview – Stephane Graber.
        * Top 5 – SIP Clients.
        * Ubuntu Women Interview, Ubuntu Games and all the usual goodness!

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 157

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #157 for the week August 23rd – August 29th, 2009. In this issue we cover: Karmic: Feature Freeze in place – Alpha 5 freeze ahead, Ubuntu Pennsylvania Open Source Conference, Ubuntu Arizona Installfest, Ubuntu Mexico Podcast #1, Ubuntu Georgia UbuCon at Atlanta Linuxfest, Launchpad news, Ubuntu Forums news, Ubuntu at Parliament of Zimbabwe, Full Circle Magazine #28, Ubuntu UK podcast: Slipback, August 2009 Team Reports, and much, much more!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Samsung i8320 Leaked!

      Well here is something good for you Linux fans out there. Nokia recently leaked their Nokia N900/RX-51 Rover which runs on the Maemo (Linux) Platform.

      It now seems that Samsung are also wanting to try out Linux on their phones and here’s the end result. The Samsung i8320 is a Linux Based smart-phone which is in the final stages of production. The phone supports touch pad.

    • The Move to Linux – Netbook Remix

      All Linux installations should be this easy and this straight forward. Yes, Linux is an incredibly flexible and incredibly powerful operating system. This is one of its strengths. But if the OS is going to make a dent in the desktop market, especially the non-technical, end-user market, then the installation experience offered by the Ubuntu Netbook Remix is an experience that I would hold up as the gold standard. It has certainly been one of the easiest Linux installations I have done in quite some time.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free software a back-to-school bargain

    It’s up to the purchaser to equip a new laptop with usable software and that additional cost can quickly become overwhelming. Luckily, the Internet is a treasure trove of free software that will replicate most of the expensive retail products for a Windows, Mac or Linux computer.

  • Open Source Revitalized Enterprise Software, Says SugarCRM CEO

    In an interview with eWEEK, SugarCRM CEO Larry Augustin suggests that a combination of global connectivity and open-source startups has revitalized the enterprise software market. SugarCRM’s upcoming open-source customer relationship management suite, Sugar Suite, is designed as an alternative to proprietary offerings by Salesforce.com, NetSuite and Oracle.

  • VMukti Releases New Open Source Version on Source Forge

    VMukti releases the new, intensely tested and more stable version on the Source Forge, the largest Open Source applications and Software Directory. The new release takes care of all the feedbacks form the live users in the pilots. And it also comes up with new user interface.

  • China Mobile Launches Open Source Mobile Op System Platform
  • Xen.org aims for the cloud with open source initiative

    Developers of the Xen open source hypervisor are trying to make Xen the industry’s cloud-building platform of choice with a new initiative designed to expand upon the hypervisor’s ability to create “secure, customizable, multi-tenant cloud services.”

  • Alert: What’s Coming for Open Source CMS in September 2009

    In August, Plone (news, site) 3.3 was released. As a point release, its focus was refinements rather than massive changes.

    In particular, Plone 3.3 offers the ability to localize navigation, tabs, sitemaps and searches within folders, which makes creating autonomous sub-sites within a Plone site easier.

  • Underutilization of open-source technologies

    All open-source projects that fall under the GPL, (General Public License), are not given away for free, they are open for the public to use and are distributed to the public with the understanding that you will use their product for meaningful reasons.


    In realizing what I have just outlined, I am not anti software development companies. There is many great products out there that I have bought and paid for, and I would buy and pay for again. But the fact of the matter is, why pay for something, when you can get it for open?

  • Why would a Googler use Solr for search?

    All for Good is completely open source, so it makes sense that it would opt for open-source Solr over Google Base.

  • Dialogic Announces Sponsorship of Project DiaStar(TM) and Availability of the DiaStar(TM) Server (DSS)

    Dialogic Corporation (“Dialogic”), a global provider of world-class products and technologies for multimedia and signal processing, today introduces Project DiaStar(TM), an open source project sponsored by Dialogic to create software that allows open source developers to access portions of the Dialogic((R)) product portfolio to bring advanced communications technology to demanding open source markets. The open source community is invited to participate in this project at www.projectdiastar.org.

  • OpenAjax Alliance Delivers Software for More Secure Enterprise Mashups

    The OpenAjax Alliance announced today the approval and availability of OpenAjax Hub 2.0 as an industry standard for more secure Web 2.0 mashup applications. Advances in security in Hub 2.0 can help protect enterprise mashups from malicious intent, giving IT staff greater confidence in adding these features to their Web sites.

  • BI

  • BSD

    • Announcing Jibbed 5.0.1

      It’s NetBSD time. The long awaited new version of the LiveCD has finally arrived. It is freshly built from the NetBSD 5.0.1 sources which includes many bugfixes and contains the latest packages from pkgsrc including the new package Filezilla. As always, it contains Xorg from base and the xfce4 window manager.

    • New BSD Licensed debugger: D

      D is a systems programming language. Its focus is on combining the power and high performance of C and C++ with the programmer productivity of modern languages like Ruby and Python. Special attention is given to the needs of quality assurance, documentation, management, portability and reliability.

  • OpenOffice.org

    • OpenOffice 3.1.1 released

      Today Monday will be the day of OpenOffice.org 3.1.1. This is a bug-fix version and there are no actual new features this time.

    • Test out OpenOffice.org online without installing it
    • Scaling the Fence: Achilles’ Thesaurus

      Language tools like the thesaurus present an opportunity for the open source community. Just as our friend was quickly dissuaded from using OpenOffice.org because she perceived the thesaurus to be inferior, she might have been quickly won-over by a toolset that performed head-and-shoulders above those she was used to. Between WordNet, the OpenRogets project, the Big Huge Thesaurus, the New York Times’ thesaurus and the Moby Project (hey, it’s only the largest thesaurus in the English language!), we have the opportunity to package an offline thesaurus (or offer an optional download supplement, if binary size is a concern) for OpenOffice.org that could run circles around proprietary offerings.

  • Government

    • Building On The Government 2.0 Platform

      I would add that government-as-platform should include open source, APIs, database access, and cloud computing. The Defense Information Systems Agency, for example, recently announced that it was releasing an internally developed stack of Web apps as open source. DISA’s Forge.mil open source portal is another step in this direction. A government-wide open source portal along the lines of SourceForge could be (should be?) next.

  • Licensing

    • MegaPanzer: Parts of Possible Govware Trojan Released under GPL

      The name Ruben Unteregger may well become more newsworthy in the next few days. Unteregger has been working at the Swiss ERA IT Solutions company to develop the trojans MegaPanzer and MiniPanzer and has released the code under GPL.

    • That Old GNU Thing: Licensing

      It’s plain, though, that open licenses are both thriving and spreading, and this report offers a useful snapshot of just far we have come from the trailblazing GNU GPL.

  • Openness

    • PLoS Currents Uses Google Knol Collections Feature for Swine Flu Reports

      PLoS is a leader in the open access movement. It operates a series of peer-reviewed journals at its website. However, the peer-review process can slow down scientific communication, which becomes particularly obvious and unfortunate in the case of a worldwide pandemic.

    • An open letter to Andrew Holness and the Jamaican Ministry of Education

      I am convinced the government has been lacklustre in pursuing technologies such as Linux, Open Source and notions such as FOSS. Brazil, Mexico and India are already using these to bring technology more cheaply to their nation. There are also revolutionary methods of implementing technology in the class room all throughout the Americas.

    • Open source DNA

      Dr. Halperin hopes his research will reverse the NIH policy, and he will provide access to the software so that researchers can use it to decide which genetic information can be safely loaded into a public database. He also hopes it will quell raging debates about DNA usage and privacy issues.


  • Wikipedia to Color Code Untrustworthy Text

    Starting this fall, you’ll have a new reason to trust the information you find on Wikipedia: An optional feature called “WikiTrust” will color code every word of the encyclopedia based on the reliability of its author and the length of time it has persisted on the page.

  • Being Unique Is Not The Same As Exclusive (Or Scarce)

    Taylor Davidson alerts us to an odd blog post with suggestions on how photographers need to adapt to the changing market place. As Davidson properly notes, there’s some good points mixed in there with some really odd conclusions. The writer does a decent job explaining how the market has shifted — with the ease of digital production and distribution, the old exclusivities have gone away. But, from there, gets confused about what to do with it, focusing on trying to build up artificial scarcities or suggesting that photographers try to ignore basic economics. That’s not going to work.

  • New DHS laptop search policy: crap sandwich, fancier bread

    The DHS has issued formal rules to govern how Immigration and Customs authorities handle the seizure of electronic devices and records. The upshot is that agents can still keep your hardware for at least five days before anyone has to decide whether it’s reasonable to continue.

  • AstroTurf

    • Attack of the Living Front Groups: PRWatch Offers Help to Unmask Corporate Tricksters

      Fake “grassroots” groups have started springing up like toadstools after a rain, and this time they’re coming at us from every angle: they’re on TV, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube: “Americans for Prosperity,” “FACES of Coal, “The “Coalition to Protect Patients’ Rights,” “Americans Against Food Taxes,” the “60 Plus Association,” “Citizens for Better Medicare,” “Patients First” … It’s making our heads spin! Issues affecting some of the country’s biggest industries, like health insurance reform, a proposal to tax sodas and sugary drinks, and the FDA’s possible reconsideration of the plastic additive Bisphenol A, have boosted corporate astroturfing up to a dizzying pace. With all these corporate fronts coming out of the woodwork, how can citizens tell true grassroots organizations from corporate fronts operated by highly-paid PR and lobbying firms? Here are some tips to help readers spot this kind of big-business hanky-panky.

    • Unmasking Astroturf: Smear Campaigns Threaten Health Care and Net Neutrality

      If you haven’t been paying attention to the rise of Astroturf in Washington, in the media and at your local town hall meeting, now’s the time to tune in.

      Astroturf front groups have been everywhere this summer — spreading misinformation about health care reform, carbon emission caps and financial regulation.

      Astroturf shills, notably FreedomWorks’ Dick Armey and Americans for Prosperity’s Tim Phillips, surface wherever and whenever reform policies threaten the corporate or political status quo.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • American Federation of Musicians Demand NDP Apology For Supporting Balanced Copyright

      Yesterday I posted on how security guards outside the Toronto copyright town hall demanded that the Canadian Federation of Students and NDP MP Olivia Chow stop distributing flyers discussing their positions on copyright. It turns out there is further fallout from the incident. Chow was distributing a flyer that included NDP MP Charlie Angus’ interview with Exclaim! on copyright along with “count on me to speak out against Bill C-61 and anti-circumvention rules. I support stronger fair dealing.” The Angus interview includes comments on the need for forward looking laws, the failed DMC, and the need to ways to monetize online activities.

    • Recording Industry Lobbyists Says Politicians Worried About User Rights Are ‘Disgusting’?

      Apparently two Parliament Members, Olivia Chow and Charlie Angus, who have been big supporters of consumers’ rights on copyright issues, have been called out by music industry lobbyists for distributing a ‘disgusting’ flyer. Why? Because that flyer contained an interview with Angus (a former musician in a popular punk band), where he talks about the importance of consumer rights and not following through with a DMCA-style law in Canada. It’s hard to read anything in that interview that is “disgusting” — unless you don’t believe consumers have any rights.

    • Copyright Town Hall security threatened MP, students with ejection for handing out flyers

      At last week’s Canadian copyright town hall meeting in Toronto — the one where the speaker-roster was overwhelming stacked with representatives from giant entertainment conglomerates — security guards prevented the Canadian Federation of Students from distributing literature by the doors that advocated for more liberal copyright rules.

    • Business Software Alliance wants in on three-strikes action

      The Business Software Alliance calls graduated response its preferred plan for dealing with online software piracy, but it wants Internet disconnections to be overseen by a judge and feature due process and a chance to appeal. Well, sort of.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Kevin Foreman, General Manager at RealNetworks 05 (2004)

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

Linux Runs on Vista 7 (Picture)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Humour, Vista 7, Windows at 4:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Little blue penguin

Vista 7 Sins – Teaser Video

Posted in Apple, FSF, Videos, Vista 7 at 12:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Direct link

Related posts:

Patents Roundup: Bilski Revisited, FFII Seems Confused, EU Seemingly Hijacked by Large Corporations

Posted in America, Deception, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 10:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Death to the King

Summary: Worrying signs of important establishments being captured by higher interests that promote software patents

THERE is quite a heap of material on software patents and other related issues of intellectual monopolisation. We shall start with a recommendation of this excellent writeup which goes under the heading “What Intellectual Property Law Should Learn from Software.”

There are lots of reasons to doubt that this vision of “creation out of nothing” works very well, even in the arts, the traditional domain of copyright law. But whatever its merits or defects in the arts, it seems completely wrong-headed when it comes to software. Software solutions to practical problems do converge, and programmers definitely draw upon prior lines of code. Worse still, software tends to exhibit “network effects.” Unlike my choice of novel, my choice of word-processing program is strongly influenced, perhaps dominated, by the question of what program other people choose to buy. That means that even if a programmer could find a completely different way to write a word-processing program, this programmer has to be able to make it read the dominant program’s files and mimic its features if the programmer is to attract any customers at all. This hardly sounds like completely divergent creation.

According to Patently-O, an important opportunity to abolish software patents in the United States will now involve Kappos personally.

The USPTO has issued a set of interim examination guidelines for determining whether a claim is properly directed to patentable subject matter under 35 U.S.C. S 101, relevant Supreme Court precedent, and Bilski. The instructions begin with a realization that the area is in flux and that more permanent guidelines will be established once the Supreme Court rules on Bilski v. Kappos. In addition, these are guidelines rather than rules or laws. Thus, an examiner’s failure to follow the guidelines is “neither appealable nor petitionable.”

Kappos is an opponent of the Bilski ‘doctrine’, but then again, Kappos came from IBM, whose stance on the subject has been consistent all along. Kappos is now leading the USPTO, so it’s screaming for “conflict of interests”. Here is the accompanying press release.

As we shall show in a moment, this system is gradually made more friendly towards monopolies (or big businesses) and watch this. They are now getting their own special rules that are more favourable to them, as in “the patent system is fine, as long as it’s working for the big players and adds exclusion to forbid/limit counter-action.”

Technology majors Intel, Apple, Cisco and Microsoft have won an appeals court ruling that limits the amount of patent damages they will have to pay for products shipped outside the US.

This relates nicely to the i4i vs Microsoft case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11], which now has this extensive resources page. The i4i debacle shows that Microsoft has different and special rules to defend itself from patent lawsuits. This system does not work equally for all. It’s imbalanced against the “small inventor” which it originally purported to defend. Patently-O suggests that even reexamination is underway.

Pending Reexamination: Microsoft has submitted its motion for a stay of injunctive relief pending the outcome of its appeal to the Federal Circuit. Oddly, the first sentence of Microsoft’s introduction begins with a statement that the PTO “already had provisionally rejected upon reexamination as anticipated and obvious.” By ‘provisionally rejected’ Microsoft means that a non-final office action has been mailed out in the ex parte reexamination that it requested in November 2008 (the litigation was filed in March 2007).

“Microsoft tries to use the “too big to fail” defense in the i4i case,” tells us one reader. “Smaller companies get wiped out by bogus patents and defending themselves all the time, but Microsoft gets let off so Dell and HP won’t suffer? Give me a break.”

We have also remarked on the role of the corrupted US juridical system in all this. No surprises here [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

This leads us to a side issue which is nonetheless important. Law.com has this new report about systemic changes that also involve “life sciences innovations”.

An upcoming en banc rehearing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has the potential to reverse a written description requirement for patents that the court imposed a dozen years ago. Owners of broadly written patents such as those covering life sciences innovations are watching closely.

Speaking of these so-called “life sciences innovations”, watch how even cancer genes are now being patented. There is no limit to this insanity.

Breast Cancer Gene Patent Challenge:

* The ACLU, PUBPAT, and others continue their fight against patents covering the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 held by Myriad and the University of Utah. The federal lawsuit argues (1) that the genes should not be patentable as “products of nature” and (2) that the patentee’s use of patent rights to limit scientific research on the genes violates constitutional First Amendment protections.

More patents are standing in the way of medical doctors:

Patent examiner Deandra Hughes decided that all 66 claims of the 6,188,988 patent are, indeed, patentable, despite more than 200 pages of evidence submitted by Shafer and his lawyers. Even though doctors had used databases to help choose therapies to treat various ailments for decades before the first relevant patent application at issue was filed in 1998, Hughes said the ’988 patent should be allowed. Her reasoning: the prior art references didn’t distinguish a system with exactly three “knowledge bases.” And that distinction alone—having three “knowledge bases”—is a patentable advance, Hughes decided. See Notice of Intent to Uphold the Claims of the ’786 patent [PDF].

If that’s not bad enough, even food is being patented. This leads to very serious ethical questions.

Members Of Human Rights Expert Committee At UN Question Patents On Food


A group of experts working as a think-tank for the United Nations Human Rights Council raised the issue of patents and food at a meeting this week. Meanwhile, a new report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food expected to be available at the end of August will focus on the intersection between intellectual property and the human right to food.

Moving over to Europe, there are very obvious conflicts of interests.

The committee on economic and monetary affairs (ECON), responsible for regulating the financial sector, will be chaired by British MEP Sharon Bowles. Bowles was previously accused of having a conflict of interests after pushing for software patents while also being partner in a law firm run by her husband representing clients with a direct interest in software patent protection.

There has also been controversy over the newly-elected chair of the Legal Affairs Committee, Klaus Heiner Lehne. During the previousl administration, Lehne was one of the MEPs pushing strongly for software patents. At the same time he was a partner at Taylor Wessing, a law firm with a large patent department advising clients on patenting strategy in the software sector.

Glyn Moody has just written another post about SAP’s role. SAP is close to Microsoft [1, 2] and it is still lobbying for software patents in Europe.

It’s probably too much to expect a sudden outburst of common sense among SAP’s management, but at least it’s good to see a pro-software patent company learning the hard way that overall, the costs of litigating and licensing patents from others outweigh any income gained from licensing to third parties. It’s not even a zero-sum gain: the only people who win here are the lawyers.

By mere serendipity we’ve come across a little unfinished document from the FFII, which lobbies against software patents in Europe. But there must be some kind of a colossal mistake in this draft of an amicus brief regarding Bilski (written by Reinier Bakels), which states odd things such as, “In U.S. patent law, there is no basis to prohibit software patenting categorically, or to make any other specific exception for software.


This can’t be FFII speaking. What is this? It is the very opposite of what FFII is all about. Is the FFII — just like Europe in general — letting its very own Lehnes grab the podium? If the FFII carries its name and message in vain like this, then it can cause more harm than good. This document will hopefully be mended and the message rectified before it’s finalised.

“The European Patent Office is an executive organisation, it deals especially with patent applicants, as such, its view of the world may be biased. As an executive organisation, its interpretative powers are very limited. The European Patent Convention excludes computer programs, it is outside the EPO’s power to change this.”

Ante Wessels

Microsoft’s Deep Influence in Malta and the United States

Posted in America, Europe, Microsoft at 8:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coat of arms of Malta

Summary: New observations and sightings of procurement without merit

WE recently gave a detailed list of Microsoft's actions against Free software in Malta, adding to previous examples that we had collected [1, 2]. Microsoft also hired John Vassallo, who is Malta’s former ambassador to the EU, reportedly because of the OOXML corruptions. Malta participated in the OOXML process [1, 2, 3].

A report from Malta is suggesting that the Maltese bank Valletta is now signing a deal with Microsoft. Nothing in the article suggests that they even assessed other options. Can anyone elucidate?

Microsoft’s uncontrollable obsession with lobbying is what we are currently seeing in Forbes/AP, but the figures never account for the secret side of lobbying, such as Gates-Abramoff. The Gates family and Microsoft are employing many lobbyists in fact and we still find Obama being influenced by some. According to Alibaba.com, Microsoft is still trying to impose Windows Mobile on Obama, despite this platform being an utter failure.

Reports that President Obama will be able to keep his BlackBerry likely provoked smiles in Waterloo, Canada–and frowns in Redmond, Wash.


First, of course, Obama needs to use the device. Microsoft is optimistic that he will. “We have a whole group working with the Executive Office of the President,” says Siegel. “We’ve had various conversations with the right people about this. Everyone would like him to use the device that everyone agrees is most secure.”

We have already witnessed Obama's repeated mistakes with Silverlight, but to be fair, it was probably not his decision at all. His administration is promoting lock-in rather than overcoming lock-in. To quote a new article from GCN:

The developers also are planning to use Microsoft Silverlight for future parts of the service, too, according to a source. The choices make sense. Flash players and, to a lesser extent, Silverlight are widely accessible by browsers in the United States. But by using those technologies, the White House was showing a preference for a single vendor’s technologies, something government agencies try to avoid. It looks too much like an endorsement and invites vendor lock-in.

Here is a fairly new page about Microsoft influence in the United States government and here is another new article which delivers a good example:

The Trouble With Trillions


There are very many half-way reasonable projects that just would not cut it according to normal investment criteria. Take the $11 million to build a bridge connecting two adjacent portions of Microsoft’s headquarters in Redmond, Washington. If Microsoft, with its vast financial resources, had figured that the bridge was worth $11 million dollars, wouldn’t they already have been planning to build it themselves, without any stimulus money? Since they didn’t do it themselves, all we really know is that they valued the bridge at less than $11 million. In other words, taxpayers spent $11 million and turned it into something less valuable.

This incident with the bridge is one which led to a string of other posts about Microsoft’s control of (parts of) the government [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. It is important to keep track of this.

Apple Connected to AstroTurfing Agency Reverb Communications

Posted in Apple, Deception, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft at 7:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ballmer's slide on Macs and GNU/Linux
Steve Ballmer’s presentation slide
from 2009 shows GNU/Linux as bigger than Apple on the desktop

Summary: Reverb Communications is shown to be closely connected to Apple, leading to great doubt about Apple hype

Microsoft is known for its use of PR agencies to police overage of its products and to control its image/brand, but what about Apple?

Almost universally, Apple is believed to be liked by its buyers, who are really just a niche in wealthy countries. GNU/Linux is still a bigger player than Mac OS X because GNU/Linux has a wide reach spanning many nations (see slide at the top). Remember that Net Applications is paid by Apple and Microsoft, which voids the validity of its numbers that are US-bent.

Apple’s “evangelism” activity is not news. Apple folks like Guy Kawasaki wrote about it openly and quite famously. So, watch the following new report which connects Apple to a “PR firm [that] has been getting interns to post positive reviews for clients.”

Reverb Communications is an extremely successful PR firm that claims to have “first party” and “personal” relationships with Apple.


Another interesting side-story here is about Reverb’s relationship with Apple. Now, we don’t expect Apple to have caught the bad behavior of one PR firm on the App Store’s reviews. That would just be ridiculous. But we were surprised to know that Reverb had worked with Apple so much.

There is more in The Guardian:

Astroturfing – planting fake support for an idea or product – has been around the technology industry for a long time, but new claims have dragged Apple and the iPhone into the mire. The allegations from CrunchGear are that one PR firm has been getting interns to post positive reviews for clients on the iTunes Store. It’s disappointing, and likely just the tip of a big, dirty iceberg: I’m sure that we’re going to see more examples turn up very soon.

This begs for some important answers. How much of Apple’s notorious “fanboyism” is actually paid for? Apple spends several hundreds of millions of dollars per year on marketing. And to quote a blogger, “Reverb actually works with Apple, having done at least one TV commercial for them. Further, at least one of Reverb’s referrals actually came from an Apple employee. [...] I’m pretty sure confidentiality agreements don’t cover illegal activity, and what Reverb is doing here at least borders on fraud. At the very least it’s patently devoid of any scruples, honesty, and ethics. And PR firms and the people that work for them wonder why they are sometimes viewed as less trustworthy.”

Net Applications
Trust is voided when there is Apple & Microsoft money on the table

Linux heat mapSource: Microsoft (2003)
View large image
View the original PDF

More Losses and Antitrust Barriers for Microsoft Online

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Free/Libre Software, Google, Microsoft, Search at 7:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tenacious face

Summary: Miscellaneous updates regarding Microsoft’s online business

Yahoo’s appalling deal with Microsoft [1, 2] has meant that key staff might be eclipsed by Microsoft's shadow. They are paying the price for the mistakes of Bartz, whose company turned into a second fiddle of Microsoft. Fox put it like this:

Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ:MSFT) have thus failed to impress Yahoo’s investors with their proposed Internet search and advertising partnership.

Many good souls remain at Yahoo, whose staff is trying to move on, despite the barriers imposed by Microsoft.

The fate of Yahoo Inc has become intertwined in the public’s imagination with the success or failure of its dealings with Microsoft Corp in recent years.

That’s despite the fact that as much as 70 percent of the value investors put on Yahoo’s depressed shares are tied up in its international assets or cash holdings — factors that have nothing to do with Microsoft.

According to AFP, “Yahoo! vows to fight Microsoft on new front” and Reuters says that “Yahoo [is] to compete with Bing despite Microsoft deal.”

Yahoo Inc said on Monday it has revamped its search to compete against Microsoft Corp’s Bing, even as it relies on the Redmond giant to power its queries.

We previously wrote about antitrust barriers to the Yahoo!-Microsoft deal and there are newer reports about the subject. An antitrust attorney now says that the Microsoft-Yahoo deal won’t pass regulatory muster. That’s what the headline at IDG states anyway.

A prominent antitrust lawyer predicts that Microsoft and Yahoo’s new partnership won’t pass muster with government regulators because it would narrow search competition.

Matthew Cantor, a partner at Constantine Cannon LLP in New York, said that when Yahoo’s own search tool disappears, only two major search engines will remain — Google and Microsoft’s Bing.

The now-defunct Seattle P-I has a copy of a similar report from Associated Press and The Chicago Tribune has more to say. How about this one which says “Microsoft, Yahoo Search Ads Deal in Regulatory Purgatory”? There may also be additional pressure from China:

More antitrust complaints like the one filed against Microsoft in China last year could target foreign IT companies under new draft regulations released by the country, one law firm says.

Meanwhile, the lawyer who filed the complaint against Microsoft for selling at high prices does not expect a result in the case for another three to five years, he said Tuesday.

There is clearly a lot of pressure to break the deal apart or at least change it significantly.

As we wrote very recently, there are reasons to suspect that Microsoft uses AstroTurf groups to advance the perception that the Yahoo-Microsoft deal is welcomed.

Microsoft may be using the same AstroTurf groups that it used to derail Yahoo!-Google [1, 2, 3] to advance Microsoft-Yahoo! This would not be surprising at all. Here is another take on Microsoft’s “Screw Google” meetings:

It turns out Microsoft has been busy holding weekly “Screw Google” meetings, trying to figure out how to throw roadblocks in front of Google as they continue to dominate the search arena. It’s easy for me to say, but doesn’t it make a lot more sense to spend millions of dollars making something that’s actually better than Google rather than simply trying to make them look bad?


It’s time for Microsoft to stop wasting their money worrying about Google, and start breaking their own trails. Microsoft does have some diamonds in their rough though — one example is their development tools, frameworks and platforms. This includes WPF, Silverlight and Microsoft Surface — and in my opinion, Microsoft needs to invest more heavily in those technologies.

Guess who is defending Microsoft’s “Screw Google” meetings? Their old media shill, Eric Savitz. He almost promotes AstroTurfing, forgetting that it’s not about opposition to Google, it’s about the way it’s done by Microsoft. Unethical people endorse unethical behaviour and some of it may be illegal, too.

As we explained before, Microsoft is also trying to bundle its search engine with the Web browser (and by inference, with the operating system). Mozilla has serious opposition to the bundling, which leads it to being attacked by the Microsoft mob. Here is some more about that:

Microsoft told EU antitrust officers on July 24 that to ease their concerns about its market dominance, it would provide European users a choice of Web browsers with its upcoming Windows 7 operating system.

Regardless of how it all ends up, Microsoft’s efforts to force IE users to use Bong [sic] is simply not working. As TechCrunch put it:

When It Comes To Search, Bundling Bing In IE Barely Gives It An Advantage


Back in the 1990s during the original browser wars between Netscape and Internet Explorer, one of Microsoft’s chief weapons was the ability to bundle IE into Windows as the default browser. With bundling came market share, or so the government argued in its antitrust case against Redmond.

Fast forward to today’s search wars. You’d think that bundling a search engine into a browser would have some impact on market share. But some new data provided by search advertising network Chitika suggests that at least for Bing, being bundled with IE isn’t doing it much good.

From Google Watch:

Bundling Won’t Help Microsoft Bing Versus Google


Search is a different animal. Microsoft never successfully bundled search with IE because, well, Microsoft search pre-Bing was so inferior to Google.

In addition to all this, Microsoft is now pushing IE8 down the throats of many businesses (not offering them choice).

As promised more than a month ago, Microsoft Corp. yesterday began pushing Internet Explorer 8 to enterprises via Windows Server Update Services (WSUS).

The IE8 upgrade for Windows XP, Vista, Server 2003 and Server 2008 was cast as an “Update rollup” to WSUS, Microsoft’s most popular tool for deploying patches within businesses.

If Microsoft can use Windows Update to push people to ‘choosing’ another Web browser, why are Microsoft’s rivals left out of this “Update”?

Yesterday we also wrote about Microsoft's bribes for people who use Bong [sic]. Chris Matyszczyk from CNET is the latest among many reporters who call it “bribery”, indeed.

Microsoft’s Bing decides on bribery


It does seem like splendidly commercial bribery.

So where is the fairness in competition? And why was Microsoft permitted to destroy Yahoo! from the inside? Where are the industrial protections? One must be delusional not to see the unjust.

On the bright side, Microsoft has just lost another major partnership online, so despite all this abuse, Microsoft’s influence is still eroding.

Microsoft and Bell no longer sympatico

Microsoft Corp. is pulling the plug on its online partnership with BCE Inc., bringing an end to a deal that created one of the most visited websites in Canada in the wake of the dotcom bust, but that quickly became outdated with the rise of the online advertising industry.

There is more information in The Globe and Mail, even Microsoft sites:

Two powerhouses in the Canadian online world will end their five-year marriage next week and begin competing with each other for the same advertising dollars.

Microsoft Corp. and BCE Inc.’s Bell Canada will close their Web portal, sympatico.MSN.ca, on Tuesday and refresh their own sites: MSN.ca and sympatico.ca.

Why did they liaise in the first place? Whose interests is Bell serving?

“This anti-trust thing will blow over. We haven’t changed our business practices at all.”

Bill Gates

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