09.13.09

Symantec Fails to Understand Security?

Posted in FUD, Google, Security, Windows at 7:24 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Binary screenshot

Summary: Symantec almost accuses Google of merely hosting USENET content that may contain arbitrary binaries

BACK in April we wrote about the ongoing battle against USENET. Some companies wish to eliminate USENET because it enables Free speech, being a decentralised medium like P2P or torrent. Others worry that it negatively impacts their artificial scarcity-based business models.

“Some companies wish to eliminate USENET because it enables Free speech, being a decentralised medium like P2P or torrent.”Either way — and although it is probably unrelated to any of the above — one informant/reader shows us this warming, remarking that it’s a “slow day at Symantec”. Yes, Symantec titles it “Google Groups Trojan.”

“This is BS,” he writes. “Who in their right minds downloads and runs a DLL from Usenet?”

There is another curious article in Wired Magazine which somehow connects Da Vinci Code (the book, nothing to do with source code) to Windows malware. It turns out that lovers of the book may find themselves in trouble, but only if they use Microsoft Windows and search the Web.

But on Wednesday morning the top Google search result for “death star research” — the logical query — would bring you no closer to unraveling the Lost Symbol mystery. Instead, it produced a malicious website that uses pop-ups, mouse-trapping and a well-executed fake virus scan to trick you into installing a Windows executable that will screw up your computer pretty badly.

If Symantec calls Google Groups (or USENET) a threat because it may contain some downloadable malware (added by posters of zeros and ones), then why not generalise and say that this whole “Internet thing” is a massive case of malware? Let’s just throw the baby out with the bathwater, right?

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

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

OIN Receives Thanks from Many, CodePlex Foundation Receives Thumbs-Down from Many

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OIN, Patents, Windows at 6:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hand with thumb down

Summary: Putting in perspective some of Microsoft’s latest attacks on GNU/Linux and an apparent deflection

SHORTLY after the OIN had intercepted Microsoft’s attempt to float anti-GNU/Linux patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], many responses were posted. Among them there is one from Eben Moglen. who wrote that “Our community—including all developers, distributors and users—owes Keith Bergelt of OIN, and the companies on his board of directors, a round of serious thanks for interrupting this arms trade, and calling attention to a bad business practice.” He also wrote:

An announcement by the Open Invention Network has disclosed publicly for the first time another, previously-secret front in our community’s efforts to protect itself against anti-competitive aggression by Microsoft. OIN’s transaction with Allied Security Trust to buy patents, supposedly reading on free software, offered to the troll market by Microsoft prevented what could have been a very unpleasant experience for the whole free software ecosystem.

Selling patents to organizations that have no purpose except to bring litigation—entities which do not themselves make anything or conduct any research, which do not indeed contribute in any tangible or intangible way to the progress of civilization—is not standard commercial practice. What Microsoft is really doing here is sowing disruption, creating fear, uncertainty and doubt at the expense of encouraging the very sort of misbehavior in the patent system that hurts everyone in the industry, including them.

Jay Lyman posts a superb, concise summary of the responses which matter.

This week, we saw some of the software patent skirmishes that are driving and validating this thinking. There was first news that the Open Invention Network, the consortium dedicated to legal and IP defense of Linux, had bought some software patents that related to Linux, which admittedly is not hard to do these days. It turned out the 22 Linux-focused patents were purchased from Allied Security Trust, which had actually purchased them from none other than Microsoft. This might not have meant a whole lot, with OIN proclaiming a victory and Microsoft stating simply that the patents did not hold much value to them. However, the plot thickened as we heard from FOSS defender Eben Moglen, from Linux Foundation executive director Jim Zemlin and from vendor Red Hat, that Microsoft may have been shopping the patents around to would-be patent trolls who would do the dirty work of FUD on their own.

Here is the follow-on article from Groklaw, which finally relates this alleged trolling attempt to Microsoft’s so-called “Open Source” Foundation. Yesterday we explained why it's a farce, which only comprises the usual members [1, 2].

Microsoft doesn’t control it. What it used to be able to do in the dark now falls out of its noxious bag of tricks into the Internet’s bright light, stage front and center. And there stands Microsoft in the spotlight, with its pants down, and let me tell you, it’s not a pretty sight.

Take the failed patent hustle of a couple of days ago, apparently maneuvering to enable proxy patent trolls to sue Linux. The idea, I gather, was to damage Linux, but without any way to trace it back to Microsoft. Thank you OIN and AST for foiling the plan. And by the way, are courts supposed to be used like this, to attack the competition? The court system is designed for adjudicating conflicts that are real. If you get damaged, you can go to court and try to be made whole. And so far as I know, there is no definition of abuse of monopoly that would exclude what just happened from being part of what antitrust law covers.

Then there is the hypocrisy factor. Ironically, Microsoft’s lead attorney in the i4i patent litigation was sanctioned by the judge in the Memorandum and Order because he persistently argued to the jury that patent trolls shouldn’t be allowed to seek money damages. And yet, out in the back, behind the garage, so to speak, it’s “Psst… trolls, wanna buy a patent?”

Here is where Pamela Jones refers to Microsoft’s new foundation:

What won’t Miguel do for Microsoft, I ask myself? I take that as good news, frankly, as the new foundation wouldn’t be needed by Microsoft to “supplement” what others already have in place if they could undermine what the community already has. So Microsoft funds and runs a new Brand X open source foundation which will be entirely under Microsoft’s thumb. Now do you see the purpose of the GPL? Why the F in FOSS is so vital? If all that matters is viewing the code or excellence of code or whatever that concept was in the longstanding debate, look what you get: Microsoft’s Brand X open source foundation to sell you patent licenses to proprietary code. An offer they hope you can’t refuse. How do you like it?

Richard Adhikari of ECT correctly points out that “FOSS fans” (yes, the real ones) are not buying Microsoft’s story. From the summary:

The CodePlex Foundation, according to Redmond, enables the exchange of code and understanding among software companies and open source communities. Those OSS communities, however, aren’t entirely trustful of Microsoft’s intentions.

Sam Ramji still has 3 months to go at Microsoft; one has to wonder who he shall work for next. Experience suggests that departing Microsoft employees become an HR issue. Ramji’s job has been — to a great extent — lying to the press on Microsoft’s behalf; it was not easy, especially while Microsoft was attacking GNU/Linux behind closed doors. Microsoft is still lying without any qualm. According to David Williams, Microsoft says that CodePlex is accepted by Linux and the open source community. “According to [Microsoft's] Sara Ford,” he writes, “the site is accepted and welcomed among the fans of open source and Linux software.” Utter nonsense. Maybe it’s this type of people who endorse it.

He [Ramji] will serve as president of the CodePlex Foundation for at least the first 100 days but is also departing Microsoft before the end of the month for another software vendor.

The Microsoft-sponsored blog called the whole thing a “soap opera”, thus trivialising serious issues. That’s funny. When Microsoft attacks GNU/Linux from multiple directions — potentially breaking some laws in the process (depending on location) — and then further abuses the “Open Source” brand, all it can be called is just a “soap opera”? On the other hand, positions are at least provided from the other side of this story:

Bergelt said he suspects that strategic agenda was to stall or slow the growth of Linux by seeing the patents ultimately fall into the hands of organizations that would use them to pursue lawsuits against people who use or distribute Linux. Microsoft has said that it believes Linux and other open-source programs violate more than 200 of its patents.

Here are all the recent events sorted contextually. One has to wonder if the CodePlex Foundation announcement timing was intended to quell the storm over Microsoft’s attempt to sue GNU/Linux vendors by proxy. It was mas perhaps intended to change the focus of debate in the press; that would not be the first time Microsoft deliberately does this.

“One has to wonder if the CodePlex Foundation announcement timing was intended to quell the storm over Microsoft’s attempt to sue GNU/Linux vendors by proxy.”Over at the Mono-Nono Web site, one commenter argues that “The whole “microsoft opening up to open source” things reminds me of this movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3bI71P_8O8

“We come in peace”.

“Do not run! We are your friends!”

Yeah… right!”

There is already some FUD out there, such as the essay titled “Will Microsoft’s Open Source Initiative Kill Linux?”

This comes from Ken Hess, who has gone ahead with a lot of trollish anti-Linux rhetorics recently. He once invited Microsoft to hire him in one of his columns. Apart from the headline, however, the body of arguments seems rather reasonable.

In other patent news that we shall write about later, Microsoft has managed to overturn a patent judgment regarding Alcatel-Lucent’s claims. From Reuters:

A U.S. court of appeals on Friday overturned a $358 million damages award against software maker Microsoft Corp in a long-running patent dispute with French telecoms equipment firm Alcatel-Lucent.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which handles many patent and trademark cases, held that Microsoft did indirectly infringe Alcatel’s patents, but said the damages awarded against the firm were not justified and must be retried.

We wrote a lot about this case in the past [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. It’s seemingly never-ending. Then again, that’s the nature of intellectual monopolies; those with deeper pockets can endure the test of ‘justice’ for longer, file more motions, and thus ‘win’.

“The Company believes that existing copyright law and available trade secret protections, as opposed to patent law, are better suited to protecting computer software developments.” —Oracle Corporation, IBiblio: Oracle Corporation’s position paper on software patents

Microsoft Licences Grow Unpopular While the GPL — Despite FUD — Keeps Expanding

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Microsoft at 5:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Scroll with BSoD

Summary: A look at unrest caused by Microsoft licensing and FUD which entities close to Microsoft throw at the favoured alternative

WE previously provided many citations regarding Microsoft EULAs and also some critique of the SUSE EULA. Microsoft, unlike Novell, is able to get away with a very appalling EULA because a lot of computers have Microsoft software tied to them, whether the buyer accepts the terms or not.

According to this new report from IDG, Microsoft’s software licensing is becoming a “nightmare” to businesses.

Despite efforts from Microsoft over the years to simplify its software licensing for businesses, a new analyst report said it’s more complex than ever for companies to figure out the most cost-effective way to acquire products from the vendor.

A new report by Directions on Microsoft analysts Paul DeGroot and Rob Horwitz called “5 Reasons Why Microsoft Licensing Is Hard” claims that Microsoft licensing isn’t likely to get any easier any time soon, mainly because Microsoft is not motivated to make it so. The report is available online and is connected to a series of “boot camps” the firm hosts to help companies get up to speed on Microsoft licensing.

Compare the complexity of Microsoft licences to the simplicity of the GPL. The GPL encourages any business to download and to spread not only the program but also the code. It is free for everyone to use. How can any business overlook such fantastic opportunity?

Microsoft spreads a lot of GPL FUD [1, 2] probably because it fears that more businesses will realise the appeal of Free software. Just watch how Microsoft deals with GPL-licensed software that it was forced to disclose and make available because it had violated the GPL [1, 2]. Microsoft lost interest in developing this code, as evidenced by some Novell-Microsoft trouble over the maintenance of a loadable module. From IDG comes the following Kroah-Hartman (Novell employee) quote:

“Unfortunately the Microsoft developers seem to have disappeared, and no one is answering my emails. If they do not show back up to claim this driver soon, it will be removed in the 2.6.33 [kernel] release. So sad…,” he wrote.

Lastly, speaking of Free software FUD, less than a week ago we wrote about the Gartner Group throwing some more FUD at such Free software. IDG, with its apparent bias against the GPL , more or less parrots Gartner, whereas OStatic directly challenges these claims.

No, the Cloud is Not Killing Open Source

Andrea DiMaio from the Gartner Blog Network asks an interesting question in a post titled “Is Cloud Computing Killing Open Source in Government?,” and InfoWorld [IDG] weighs in on the issue as well. One might as well not limit the question to government usage.

[...]

For that matter, Cloudera, which provides commercial support for the open source Hadoop software framework, straddles the worlds of cloud computing and open source precisely in the middle. Countless ambitious cloud initiatives rely on Hadoop, such as this one at the New York Times. As another example of how cloud computing and open source can walk down common paths, Ulteo, which we’ve covered before, allows users to use the OpenOffice applications online, and offers them free storage. Ulteo is very competitive with Zoho and Google Docs in terms of quality of its offering, but it’s combining cloud services with open source.

Why all the hostility towards Free software from analysts who are regularly doing business (monetary transactions) with Microsoft? A cynic might begin to theorise that Microsoft is not a fan of Free software.

“Open source is an intellectual-property destroyer [...] I can’t imagine something that could be worse than this for the software business and the intellectual-property business. I’m an American; I believe in the American way, I worry if the government encourages open source, and I don’t think we’ve done enough education of policymakers to understand the threat.”

Jim Allchin, President of Platforms & Services Division at Microsoft

Yahoo!-Microsoft Now Scrutinised by US Regulators Too

Posted in Antitrust, Microsoft, Search at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Thomas Barnett
“The official, Thomas O. Barnett, an assistant attorney general, had until 2004 been a top antitrust partner at the law firm that has represented Microsoft in several antitrust disputes.”New York Times

Summary: The Yahoo!-Microsoft deal faces more challenges as the US DOJ actually steps in

IT HAS BEEN argued for quite some time now (by several independent experts in fact) that the Yahoo!-Microsoft deal would not go ahead without major interference [1, 2, 3]. Now that Microsoft's vassal at Yahoo! admits that she would have sold Yahoo! to Microsoft, antitrust regulators in the United States look more closely at the deal. Sadly, as it’s the Department of ‘Justice’ [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] which does the review, we already know that Microsoft insiders will be among the deciders.

And in a CNBC interview Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz says she would have accepted the Microsoft takeover offer that then CEO Jerry Yang and the Yahoo board rejected. (That would have had a tougher time with regulators than the search-only deal now before them.) Bartz also asserted that Yahoo was still in the search business by controlling the search experience around Bing results

Indeed, this issue gets assigned to the wrong people, as we already know what the Department of ‘Justice’ is comprised of.

The US Department of Justice has expanded its review of the Microhoo search pact.

More in Bloomberg.

Microsoft Member of the Board Quits the Company

Posted in Microsoft at 4:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Meeting room

Summary: Microsoft’s board carries on becoming smaller

Jon Shirley quit Microsoft’s board just over a year ago and some days ago we also saw Sam Ramji quitting. Another new departure is James Cash, a board member of Microsoft. The board carries on shrinking as more and more people decide to leave while Microsoft is spinning.

Cash is “stepping down due to increasing pressure on his time from other professional and personal commitments,” according to the Microsoft news release. The Microsoft board didn’t make any mention of nominating a replacement. If it doesn’t, the size would shrink to nine members. The indication in the past has been that the board sees its optimal size somewhere in the range of eight to 11 members.

Here is the press release and some more coverage.

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

Posted in IRC Logs at 3:33 am 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 13/09/2009: MoonOS 3.0 Reviews, Russian Government Migrates to GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 3:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 7 Ways to Upgrade Your Body with Linux

    We haven’t figured out whether they have an open bar over there at Penguicon, or if these Linux users just really need to find new hobbies. Either way, we are sure that you will find some level of entertainment value in the custom Linux skin art below.

  • Happy Birthday!

    Happy birthday linuX-gamers.net. Everything started 6 years ago. We had better times, but we are still alive.

  • Open Source Load Balancer for Linux

    I know this topic is somewhat advanced for some of you, but for others hopefully this will be useful. So what is a load balancer? To better understand the term, let me explain to you a bit the meaning of load balancing.

  • Desktop

    • How Long Should It Take To Load A System?

      The first system got WinXP Pro. The second system was Debian GNU/Linux. Both systems were loaded with OpenOffice, Firefox, and drivers for an HP Officejet printer.

      [...]

      System one took 9 hours 23 minutes and a total of 37 reboots.

      System two took 3 hours 17 minutes and 2 reboots.

  • Server

    • Linux Datacenters Virtualize More, See Big TCO Savings

      There are other, more quantifiable reasons for the increased amount of Linux virtualization use. Just 56 percent of Windows users believe that virtualization helps to better utilize hardware, while 77 percent of Linux users realize that benefit.

      Linux users also seem to fare better with power and space consumption. When asked if they felt that their data center was running out of electrical capacity, only 26 percent of Linux users agreed with that statement, with 44 percent of Windows users concerned about power. Posed the similar question about floor space, 31 percent of Linux users are looking for more room, and 42 percent of Windows users are feeling cramped.

    • Hilti chalks up big savings from Unix to Linux move

      Bottom line: IT is happy with Red Hat from a technical standpoint and management is happy because it sees the cost savings with no perceptible impact on operations from the new Linux OS, he said.

    • IBM’s new CIO may already be its most powerful

      IBM veteran Pat Toole was recently named CIO at the company and given much broader responsibilities than his predecessors in the post, which now oversees a far more centralized IT operation.

    • Easy installation of LASP (Linux, Apache, SQLite and PHP) on Ubuntu
  • Kernel Space

    • FLOSS Weekly 85: LinuxCon

      LinuxCon, the new conference for core developers, administrators, end users, community managers and industry experts.

    • Intel, ATI Kernel Mode-Setting Continues To Mature

      The new Intel KMS patch-set this afternoon comes from Daniel Vetter and its his new version of the KMS overlay support. In early August we originally brought up Intel KMS overlay support as an alternative means used during video playback, but Daniel has since cleaned up this work to remove some visual corruption that was present in the earlier revisions. While the kernel side of this overlay support is set, there are some DDX changes required for the overlay support, which he will address following the xf86-video-intel 2.9 driver release. The start of this new patch set can be found here.

    • Catalyst 9.9 For Linux Released, Still XvBA Lacking

      A day after they had some press event where they showed off a 24 monitor setup running Linux (we weren’t there), AMD has today released the Catalyst 9.9 driver for Linux. This driver, which is still behind the Ubuntu-Catalyst 9.10 driver that has support for the Linux 2.6.31 kernel and other improvements, has just one new feature: support for new Linux operating systems.

    • In-Kernel Power Management For ATI KMS

      Rafał Miłecki has published a set of five patches that adds support for reading clock values (both engine and memory), the ability to store power management states (core and memory clocks along with core voltage), detection support for an ASIC’s minimum and maximum clocks, setting the new state (currently only the engine clock support is hooked in), and then lastly is a patch that will automatically down-clock the GPU when the connected display is signaled off by the DPMS (Display Power Management Signaling) support.

    • The X.Org 7.5 Super Module

      X.Org 7.5 with X Server 1.7 will hopefully make it out into the world later this month and to provide for easy testing of these new X packages, Peter Hutterer continues his work by providing an X.Org 7.5 Super Module.

  • Applications

    • Four Open Source Blogging Clients for Linux

      As part of our continuing series on open source blogging tools, today we’re going to take a look at some standalone blogging clients for Linux users. If you want an app that’s been designed specifically for your desktop of choice then be sure to check out posts from earlier this week that cover GNOME and KDE blogging tools.

    • Tutorial: Seedboxes, BitTorrent and Linux Distros

      One of the things that many people either don’t know how to do, or don’t realize they should do, is to A) get Linux via bittorrent, and B) seed each iso they grab so as to help others not only get their copy, but do so quickly as well. For a long time, one of the tricks of the pros to help do this easily and conveniently has been the ever venerable seedbox.

    • Top Five Twitter Plugins for Firefox

      TwitterFox 5 – stars
      With TwitterFox you will always know what your status, and your friends’ status is on Twitter! The TwitterFox extension adds a small icon to your status bar so you can easily check for new messages. TwitterFox, having a 5 star rating from it’s reviewers, and over 2 million downloads, is one amazing extension for Twitter!

    • GNU/Linux Software I Use Regularly

      I recently received an e-mail from a friend that has started using Ubuntu. He is rather new when it comes to running a GNU/Linux desktop and has asked me several questions. One of the questions was basically what software do I use and recommend. This is a serious question that a lot of new users will probably want to know.

    • Create a Web-based Photo Gallery in a Jiffy with GMFoto

      Looking for a quick and easy way to set up a Web-based photo gallery? Consider GMFoto. This application lets you create a snazzy Web-based photo album literally in a matter of minutes.

    • Git/Bazaar historical performance comparison revisited

      In 2006 Jo Vermeulen compared Bazaar and Git performance-wise. Up to today Bazaar has a bad reputation regarding speed and from the results of Jo you see at least that Git is incredibly fast, Bazaar is usable but a bit slow on the uptake in some scenarios. Jo strictly did not use any remote operations which are hard to compare, but from some own tests I do know that Git is incredibly fast there, too, while Bazaar can be really slow on the initial clone operations. The latter fact may be history now, as the new 2a repository format has been introduced with Bazaar 1.17 and enabled by default in 2.0 (both are in Portage). It gives improved speed and flexibility while using up a bit more disk space than the old formats.

  • Desktop Environments

    • Ch-ch-ch-changes (and KDE 4.3!)

      But what I want to talk about is KDE 4.3! Holy shit it’s so full of awesome!

    • GNOME 2.28.0 Release Candidate (2.27.92) Released!

      We’re a few days before the hard code freeze for 2.28.0, and having tried 2.27.92, I think we have something good there. Actually, better than just good. But well, we still have a few days to fix this pet bug that annoys so many people — I even heard that, in case you’d be a bit late, some release team people can give +1 to freeze break requests if you have the right arguments. And food is always a good argument. But I can’t tell who those people are. Or maybe I can, if you have the right arguments…

  • Distributions

    • Protect Your Network With an Open-Source Firewall

      SmoothWall Express 3.0 is an open source GNU/Linux firewall which is security-hardened and freely downloadable. By design, it has minimal hardware requirements and a small footprint. It should work with nearly any Pentium class computer with at least 128MB of RAM and a hard disk with a capacity of 2GB or greater. It’ll likely work with that PC you have sitting in your closet that you’ve been too lazy to recycle. You’ll want to have at least two network cards installed for basic use, and three or more if you want to have a DMZ or incorporate a wireless network. Keep in mind though, that your firewall’s reliability is limited by the hardware on which it’s installed.

    • FSF updates list of free GNU/Linux distributions, adding Kongoni and announcing the Trisquel 3.0 release

      Kongoni, named after the Shona word for “gnu,” is based in Africa. For optimal performance with minimal bandwidth requirements, it uses a packaging system called “ports” that downloads programs as source and builds them automatically.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Summit workshop gives Red Hat training feedback

        Unlike all the rest of the sessions at the Red Hat Summit, one was more dialogue than lecture. In the RHCE and RHCT (Red Hat Certified Engineer and Red Hat Certified Technician, respectively) Focus Chat with Randy Russell, Red Hat’s director of certification Russell departed from past practice and turned the forum over directly to the small audience rather than directing the talk himself.

      • Synnex, Tech Data compete for open source dominance

        The open source vendor just launched its Red Hat Catalyst program in North America, which will include an interactive Web portal to facilitate the formation of a community around its partner ecosystem, including resellers, system integrators, ISVs and hardware vendors. This is meant to help Red Hat partners penetrate the market around open source – estimated to be around US$30 billion and growing – and create total solutions.

      • Red Hat: Quiet winner amid Sun’s server apocalypse?

        Oracle has thrown down the hardware gauntlet against IBM to stem the bleeding at soon-to-be-acquired Sun Microsystems—assuming the EU plays along—but Red Hat may be among the big winners amid the server wars.

      • Open-source companies’ developer dilemma

        No, the reason companies purchase a RHEL subscription comes down to certification that RHEL works with a wide variety of hardware and software, as well as with the Red Hat Network, which delivers updates to an enterprise’s RHEL servers.

        In other words, IT operations pay Red Hat to help manage their Linux servers in production. The money is in operations.

      • Fedora

        • Fedora Mini – lightweight Linux with Moblin integrated

          Do your remember Moblin? This project will now be integrated into Fedora Mini – the lightweight Linux distro targetted at Netbooks/Nettops.

          [...]

          Fedora Mini could be used to produce various spins for Gnome Mobile development/Intel’s Moblin project.

        • FUDCon Toronto 2009!

          Yes, there’s a big news update for FUDCon Toronto 2009, the upcoming Fedora Users and Developers Conference in Toronto from December 5-7 — check out all the details in the announcement.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian money

        Way later than planned (sorry :-(), here’s a summary of the ideas that people have thrown at me for how we can/could/should spend more of Debian’s money. I asked for suggestions both in person and via mail when at DebConf, and we held a BoF there too.

      • Review: gOS – The Cloud Distro

        I make extensive use of google services because these services allow the things I need to be available to me regardless of where I am. I recently had to update some lists and logged on from an internet cafe to complete the work. gOS is, in my opinion, the most flexible LiveCD when it comes to cloud computing. It’s also the first LiveCD that I have used without needing to spend the better part of an hour tweaking settings just to make the system usable.

      • MoonOS 3.0

        All in all, MoonOS, is an alright distro. I can’t say I particularly like the Enlightenment desktop, sure it does have some nice touches, but it is quite heavy and window switching isn’t as easy as GNOME. The custom MoonOS tools take a lot from Linux Mint, but that does give them the user-friendliness and power, but I do get the feeling that some are just re bundled versions. The fact that moonGRUB does not work after an update is an issue, but fixable using the bug report. I won’t be using it, but if you like Enlightenment, I recommend you give MoonOS a try!

      • moonOS 3 Linux (Makara)

        Pros: Absolutely gorgeous remastered version of Ubuntu. Unique aesthetics, good selection of software, easy install. Features customized moonControl, moonGrub and moonSoftware tools.
        Cons: Install ran very slow in VMWare and I was unable to login after it was complete. It was necessary for me to switch to Parallels and install moonOS 3 again in order to login.
        Suitable For: Beginner, intermediate or advanced Linux users.
        Summary: A fantastically beautiful alternative to generic Ubuntu. One of the best remasters I’ve seen to date. Well worth a download just to experience the aesthetic appeal.
        Rating: 4/5

      • Ubuntu Wallpaper Pack

        In honor of the impending release of Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, here are 30 wallpapers to slap on your screen.

      • An Interview With nhandler

        3. When did you become involved in the forums (or the Ubuntu community)? What’s your role there?

        I became involved in the forums shortly after installing Ubuntu. The very active forum was one of the reasons I chose Ubuntu over some other distros. As soon as I had acquired enough knowledge to start helping out, I began answering questions. This eventually led to me joining the Ubuntu Beginners Team, where I currently serve on the Ubuntu Beginners Team Council, and the Ubuntu Unanswered Posts Team. I have always had an interest in programming and development. With the help of many great developers, I began patching and packaging applications. These activities would lead to me becoming an Ubuntu Contributing Developer in July of 2008, a MOTU in December of 2008, and a member of the MOTU Council in
        March of 2009. During that time, I also joined many other development-related
        teams.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • New SV1T Eee Videophone with Touchscreen (gallery)

      ASUS’s 7″ display is now touch-sensitive. The source code for the Linux device’s Qt interface is downloadable.

    • Linux SDK sampling for mobile ARM11 SoC

      NEC Electronics is sampling a software development kit (SDK) for portable multimedia players and mobile televisions, based on an ARM11-based EMMA Mobile 1 system-on-chip (SoC) and Wind River Linux. Additional SDKs for digital multimedia devices combining EMMA-family SoCs and Wind River Linux are expected to follow in late 2009 and 2010, say the partners.

    • Linux-ready STB boasts PVR features

      Amino Communications announced its latest Linux-based, HD-ready IPTV set-top box (STB), in a compact, fanless box that offers PVR (personal video recorder) functionality. The fanless A532 supports 720p and 1080i video and 1280 x 720 graphics resolutions, and ships with a 160GB hard disk drive (HDD), says the British company.

    • Phones

      • Mot’s Android phone debuts

        Motorola and T-Mobile announced Mot’s first Android smartphone, as well as a “push” social networking streaming web service called MotoBlur. The slider-format Cliq smartphone offers a 3.1-inch HVGA touchscreen, a 5-megapixel autofocus camera, GPS, 3G HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, and sensors, says Motorola.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Looking a gift horse in the mouth.

    Let me expand on that last sentence as it is important. Open source software is available for use. It is free due to the conscious decision of the programmer(s). It is able to provide functions equivalent to or better than proprietary software. It is supported and maintained by the programmer(s) for free because they want to. The programmers of that open source software are happy that we use their software. It is not the end users fault to wish to use that free software for any reason.

  • Effective Open Source: Anchor House Hostel shortlisted for best use of technology

    September 2nd 2009: Anchor House , a hostel and life skills centre for homeless adults based in Canning Town has reached the final of the Charity Times Awards 2009 for its effective use of open source technologies.

  • Technology will be jointly developed with The Climate Registry`s software partner, Misys Open Source Solutions

    The Climate Registry, a standards-setting organization for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reporting in North America, announced the next generation of its online emissions reporting system, supporting both voluntary and mandatory reporting, will be developed through a new technical partnership with Misys Open Source Solutions, a division of Misys plc, a premier IT solution and services company. The new version of The Climate Registry system is due for release in early 2010. It will feature robust and flexible technology capable of introducing a new level of efficiency. The announcement comes at a critical time as a growing number of companies begin relying on voluntary GHG emissions reporting to meet internal operational, analytical and environmental goals.

  • iCIMS Adopts SpringSource Hyperic HQ to Manage and Monitor Infrastructure Powering 3,000 Customer Websites

    SpringSource, the leader in Java application infrastructure and management, today announced that iCIMS, the third-largest provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) talent acquisition solutions, has deployed SpringSource Hyperic HQ, a key part of SpringSource`s full solution set, which covers the entire build, run, manage lifecycle for Java application development. SpringSource Hyperic HQ monitors a variety of application performance metrics for iCIMS` 180 Apache Tomcat servers that power 3,000 customer websites, enabling rapid remediation of issues and providing data to help create new performance enhancements within
    iCIMS` offerings.

  • CXF open source framework merges SOAP toolkit with Celtix ESB

    The history behind CXF is a fascinating study in the evolution of open source development projects in our fast-moving times. The XFire project, originally intended as a Java SOAP framework based on a high performance XML parser, reached version 1.2.6 in May 2007 as an independent project hosted at the Codehaus site. Further development of XFire then moved to the shelter of the Apache Software Foundation, merging with the Celtix project as a standalone Apache project called CXF. Some developers are still using the 1.2.6 version, downloadable from Codehouse.

  • Meetings anywhere, anytime

    “MyMeeting became the first open source application by the Government of Malaysia (GOM) to be licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2).

  • Which Would You Rather Have Working for You? Open Source Offerings at the Ohio Linuxfest.

    Investing in people instead of software licenses makes the most fiscal sense in a recession. System administrators employed by companies who invest in them are loyal, empowered, and available to respond to the occasional business crisis. Those who are trained to support free and open source solutions bring their own expertise to your organization. The Ohio LinuxFest is an affordable training opportunity for those interested in learning about free and open source software. www.ohiolinux.org

  • Security in Your Pocket: OpenBSD on ARM

    David Chisnall talks with Dale Rahn, the OpenBSD ARM port maintainer, about how OpenBSD support for handheld systems has improved over recent years, and why users and OEMs should consider it.

  • Fog Computing

    • Eucalyptus Offers Open-Source VMware-Based Cloud Platform

      Eucalyptus Systems, a startup that developed software that enables businesses to create an internal cloud computing environment that’s compatible with Amazon’s EC2, is releasing its first commercial product, the Eucalyptus Enterprise Edition. EEE leverages VMware virtualization technology, including vSphere and ESX, to give businesses more options in transforming their virtualized data centers into on-premises compute clouds.

    • Q&A: Eucalyptus CTO discusses open source clouds

      Rich Wolski, UCSB professor and CTO of recently-established Eucalyptus Systems, discusses the company’s first commercial product for the enterprise – an open source private cloud platform that supports Amazon AWS APIs and leverages VMware.

    • Why Open Source is Hard for Closed Source Vendors (Alpha Release)

      It is difficult for many closed source software vendors to embrace open source. Why is this so? After all, over the last years we have come to understand the many business benefits of employing open source as part of a software vendor’s strategy toolbox.

    • Open Source apps on the Cloud

      A lot of times there is a need to test applications before you want to actually deploy them. And testing an application often means provisioning a server for it, deploying the required OS and later the application. Instead of going through this lengthy process, you can use the Click2try service.

  • Business

    • EnterpriseDB says open source database saves big bucks

      Ed Boyajian, the CEO of Westford, Mass.-based EnterpriseDB, cited these companies’ experiences as two examples of successful Oracle migrations to EnterpriseDB’s Postgres database systems during a workshop at the recent Red Hat Summit. In both these cases, EnterpriseDB has helped customers build out their IT infrastructure at significantly lower costs, he said.

    • Freedom Rings Again: FreePBX v3 Makes Friends with Developers

      It has been downloaded over 3 million times, and counts approximately 300,000 active phone systems.

    • Euros try multi-product open source support

      Credativ, a 10-year old open source support company launched by Postgres contributor Michael Meskes, is bringing its act to America.

    • Ingres Open Source Solutions Help Slash Costs for Department of Education and Training in Western Australia

      Ingres Corporation, the leading open source database management company and pioneer of the New Economics of IT, announced today that The Department of Education and Training in Western Australia (WA DET) is harnessing the power of
      Ingres Database to build a range of complex applications to manage administrative activities and programs delivered by 11 colleges and 8,000 staff throughout the state. The systems also collectively manage in excess of 1 million student records, with 120,000 students processed through the state`s training systems annually.

    • Why do you use open source CMS products?

      There seems to be quite a bit of confusion with regards to the value of the open source CMS market. For this reason, we’re asking why you use open source cms products?

  • FSF/GNU

    • Topic: Richard Stallman speaking in Levin

      Horowhenua Library Trust and LIANZA Ikaroa Regional Committee are delighted to announce that Richard Stallman has agreed to deliver a public lecture in Levin on 7th October 2009, 4pm – 6pm.

  • Government

    • Russian Federation Commits to Open Source

      Open source software development in Russia is one of the most important directives for Igor Schegolev – the Head of the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications of the Russian Federation. At a key meeting with Werner Knoblich, Red Hat Vice President for EMEA, he announced support for a Russian Fedora association and for Red Hat development in the Russian Federation. He also expressed support for open source infrastructure and applications, and the development of a repository for industry best practice.

    • Hungary Says Yes To Open Source – But Keeps The Lion’s Share For Microsoft

      Half of the funding is still allocated fo r Microsoft products, and a quarter for Novell products, with the remaining 6 billion HUF (£19.3 million) open for acquiring open source and open standards solutions.

      Apart from ULX and Red Hat, the other open source providers chosen in the centralised list of vendors are FEFO, Freesoft, Kventa, Multiráció, WSH and Navigator.

      ULX will deliver open source solutions to two groups of organisations: the first group of public sector organisations who are legally obliged to get their IT needs from the centralised IT providers list, and the other group is the public and higher education institutions.

    • Using free software improves relation between state and society says the President Of Brazil

      There is a new relationship developing between the state and its citizens. Free software is rejuvenating these social relations this century”, said the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in his opening speech of the second edition of the International Free Software and Electronic Government (Consegi) in the capital, Brasília on 26 August.

  • Licensing

    • Survey: “Open Core” least popular open source option

      A survey of 118 enterprise IT and development executives conducted by open source solution provider OpenLogic concludes that the “Open Core” model for open source licensing trails behind dual licensing and open source with commercial support, in terms of acceptability to the enterprise.

      [...]

      These findings suggest that what enterprises are looking for ideally is a project backed by a community and multiple vendors, such as the Linux kernel.

  • Openness

    • It’s good to be open

      That’s the title of a panel discussion which took place at London’s BFI last night. Chaired by Russell Davies from the Really Interesting Group the discussion set out to explore the development and future of open source. Conversations rocked up because the head of user experience design for Nokia’s Maemo unit, Harri Kiljander, made up one third of the panel discussing the topic.

    • Making Open Source Their Business, Recombinant Helps UMMS Deploy i2b2 Platform

      The i2b2 platform helps clinician-scientists manage and analyze clinical data for population-based and genomics research and to run clinical trials. The software is downloadable as executable Windows or Macintosh files or as source code for users to build client and server themselves.

  • Programming

    • How PHP became such a huge success

      Rasmus Lerdorf is undoubtedly the most famous Greenlandic geek alive. Having created PHP as a bunch of hackish scripts to support his website in 1995, he turned it into a powerful, fully fledged language that’s now used by millions around the world.

    • Chrome adds new defence for cross-site scripting attacks

      Google has released Chrome 4.0.207.0 for Mac and Linux into its developer channel (a.k.a. the Dev channel). In addition to several bug fixes, the latest Dev release of Google’s web browser adds a new defence for cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.

    • Facebook Releases Real-time Web Server Tech as Open Source

      Facebook is releasing as open source a Web server technology because it wants to make it easier for developers to create applications that let users post status updates in real time, a functionality popularized by Twitter.

    • Apple open source Grand Central

      One of the highlights of the behind-the-scenes changes in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard was the addition of Grand Central Dispatch. Apple have now open sourced the code to Grand Central under an Apache 2.0 licence.

Leftovers

  • Sun’s Sparc server roadmap revealed

    For those of us on the outside of Sun Microsystems, the future of the Sparc processor and its related server platforms has been the subject of much speculation and debate. But for Sun’s largest customers, the mystery has been over since sometime in June.

  • Oracle-Sun Plans Missing MySQL

    Oracle’s takeover of Sun Microsystems hasn’t been fully sanctioned by anti-trust entities and Oracle already has a message for customers: we’ll continue to care intensively about SPARC and Solaris. Something’s missing here: MySQL.

  • ‘Wiretapping’ charges may be the silliest ever recorded

    Chi Quang Truong, 46, is being charged by police in Natick, Massachusetts with “unlawful wiretapping and possessing a device for wiretapping,” according to this story in The MetroWest Daily News.

    If you’re thinking foreign spy or industrial espionage, think again.

    Try irate customer who kicked up a fuss at a car dealer’s service department.

    And that “device for wiretapping?”

    Try nothing more sophisticated than a handheld digital voice recorder; an Olympus, to be precise.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Infinite goods and artificial scarcity

      I was arguing with a friend about this article, which talks about creating artificial scarcity in place of something in infinite supply. They give an analogy – what if we had Star Trek replicators for food, so everyone in the world could always have enough food, and no one would have to pay for it? Who, then, would take this food away from the starving? My friend argued that this would be terrible, taking jobs from everyone who works in the food industry.

      Unfortunately, it’s not a very good analogy. There’s no real substitute for food – people have to eat. Whether or not you consider high-fructose corn syrup to be food, you can’t escape the need for calories to survive. For the analogy to hold, we’d have to replace the entire music industry, or the entire publishing industry, with something free. No one is talking about doing this.

    • New Infringement Defense? ‘We Don’t Roll That Way’

      A bunch of folks have been sending in the story of how some of the major record labels are suing the Ellen DeGeneres show for not paying for clips of music that the show uses during something called the “dance over” portion of the show. Not having ever watched the show, I don’t know, but it sounds like a brief clip of music used as an interlude between parts of the show. As plenty of people are pointing out along with their submissions, this seems pretty silly. It’s not like hearing these brief musical interludes is likely to harm the market for this music. If anything, it sounds like it would only increase interest in that music from the fans watching the show.

    • A Look At The RIAA’s Copyright Propaganda For Schools

      It’s back to school time, and our friends over at the RIAA have a blog post up excitedly talking up its special “curriculum” for teachers. But, of course, that “curriculum” is laughably biased and at times outright wrong. And it makes me wonder: why would any educational institution accept a one-sided curriculum written by the industry that’s clearly designed to promote that industry’s own business? Do schools use science curricula provided by Exxon or Monsanto? As for the actual content included in the curriculum (which, by the way, the RIAA links to incorrectly twice), it’s almost a joke.

    • It’s Back To School time. This year your kids get taught a lesson by “Professor RIAA”

      After the music indsutry has tried such brass-knuckle tactics in the past as selling fake CDs brimming with malicious software designed to disable your hardware, and violating the GNU GPL license by misappropriating a copy of Xubuntu Linux to turn into a “University Tookit” which backdoored university networks (the bastards were on the receiving end of that DMCA Take Down Notice for a change), they’re now moving on with a full frontal assault on your child’s education.

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