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10.06.09

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: October 6th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

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

Linux Climbs Fast in Mobile, Microsoft ‘Screws’ Badly with Windows Mobile 6.5

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, UNIX, Windows at 7:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[We] screwed up with Windows Mobile”

Steve Ballmer, weeks ago

Old telephone

Summary: Free/open source software and UNIX to gain more at the expense of Windows based on the latest judgments

A READER from Brazil has suggested that we write something about Microsoft’s latest launch of the dying Windows Mobile franchise. As Linux grows very rapidly in this area, it is probably worth posting evidence from the past day or so.

The following new post sheds light on the prospects of Sybmian, which is not only the dominant mobile phone platform but also one that turned to “Open Source”.

According to Digitimes, handsets that run some flavor of Symbian will account for 180 million shipments by 2014, (currently 87 million Symbian handsets ship a year). Once the burgeoning Android handset market and LiMo shipments are added to that, total open source handset shipments will far surpass 220 million by 2014. Open Source handsets also drive more developers into Open Source as users need more and better applications for their shiny phones.

Google is still trying to dust off the injurious public revelation that Android not only leaves out GNU but that it is not entirely Free, either.

While the Android mobile operating system is open source, some of its most appealing features like tight Gmail integration and Google Maps are not

The search giant faced some criticism when it ordered developer Steve Kondik to stop distributing a custom build of Android because it utilised closed-source applications like Gmail and Google.

Putting all that aside, Google has just found a friend in Verizon.

The company that operates America’s largest wireless telecommunications network now considers itself a friend of Android. Google and Verizon Wireless have sealed a deal that’ll see the two working together on mobile products and services.

More in:

i. Google, Verizon teaming to develop Android devices

Verizon and Google have entered into an agreement to jointly develop wireless devices based on Google’s open-source Android mobile platform.

During a teleconference today, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam and Google CEO Eric Schmidt outlined the companies’ new strategic partnership that will develop Android-based smartphones, PDAs and netbooks, and deliver users with applications sold through the Android Market app store. Verizon says that it will have two Android-based handsets on the market by year-end with more to come by 2010.

ii. Android Gets a Big Backer in Verizon, and Palm Opens Up

The prospects for mobile open source just get brighter and brighter. Following months of rumors, Verizon Wireless has said that it will put substantial resources behind the open source Android platform, in a broad partnership with Google. Google and Verizon will work together to deliver new products and services that they say will arrive “in the hands of consumers quickly.” Notably, both companies have pledged to put unique applications onto handsets, including apps from their internal developers and others from third-party developers.

Palm appears to have finally realised that opening up to developers is an essential step and concessions (over control) ought to be made. WebOS is built on Linux, but talks about free in the following context refer to price alone:

i. Palm: open-source webOS apps free to make

Palm at a special event tonight staked out its differences with Apple by making key changes to its developer program. The smartphone developer is one of the first after Google to foster open development and said it will dismiss its usual $99 app submission fee for any developer whose webOS apps are open-source. Back end data on app downloads and other sales info will also be available to all developers on request.

ii. Palm launch Open Source Developer Program

Palm has announced a programme for open source developers wishing to write for Palm’s Linux based WebOS. For closed source applications the Palm developer programme requires an upfront fee of $99 (£62) from developers, with a $50 (£31) fee for each app that is published through Palm’s App Catalogue. For open source developers both the up front fee and the per app fee is waived. Palm’s WebOS currently only runs on Palm’s Pre and Pixi phones; the Pre is due to be available in the UK from the 16th of October from O2.

Now that Microsoft makes another attempt at Windows Mobile, it seems likely that its market share will continue to erode. As The Inquirer puts it, “No one knows or cares that Microsoft has a phone OS.

According to the speakers, the vast majority of people buying a new phone come in looking for a specific make or feature, rather than a particular operating system or app store.

The ‘new’ Windows Mobile (6.5) is already being reviewed and the outcome could not be more terrible. Even fans of Windows Mobile are disappointed. The early reviews that we found are:

IDG: Windows Mobile 6.5 Arrives, Mostly Disappoints

Finally, damning Windows with faint praise, Takahashi ends the article gabbing about how fantastic Apple iPhone is: “But for now, the iPhone has a number of advantages over Microsoft. The upshot: you can still get a much better experience with an iPhone, which has superior multi-touch capabilities and accelerometer-based controls that work wonderfully in some apps. And there’s still far more choice available on the iPhone.” Yikes. Sounds like a review for a different product.

Gizmodo: Windows Mobile 6.5 Review: There’s No Excuse For This

I’d like to think that 6.5′s stunning failure to innovate is a symptom of a neglected project—maybe Microsoft just needed something, anything to hold people over until the mythical Windows Mobile 7 comes out, whatever it is. But as Steve Ballmer himself has plainly admitted, it’s worse: Microsoft has simply lumbered in the wrong direction for two years, letting everyone, save maybe Nokia, fly right past them.

ZDNet: Windows Mobile 6.5 disappoints; no Start customizations and stylus still required

I wasn’t expecting a whole lot from this point release, but I was expecting more than what Microsoft delivered. I expected to be able to place icons where I wanted them on the Start displays, I expected to have finger friendly menus throughout the OS, and I expected some attention to the media player, device search, and more.

I am a fan of Windows Mobile, but find very little added value in this Windows Mobile 6.5 release and would never recommend anyone actually purchase a new device just to get this update on their smartphone. We are going to have to wait and see if Microsoft can pull anything out of the hat in Windows Mobile 7, but with the current schedule of late 2010, most likely slipping into 2011 like this release, I think the T-Mobile Touch Pro2 may be my last Windows Mobile device for quite some time.

MobileCrunch: Windows Mobile 6.5 Review: It Still Sucks.

Windows Mobile 6.5 is a spit and polish job on 6.1 – nothing more, nothing less.

At this pace, Windows Mobile’s chance of survival roughly equates to that of the Zune.

“It puts the Linux phenomenon and the Unix phenomenon at the top of the list.”

Steve Ballmer, 2001

Links 06/10/2009: KDE 4.3.2 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Microsoft Monopoly vs. Economies of Scale

    The Microsoft machine seems to have been avoiding the netbook market, and there has been much discussion about what this might mean. One recent article, Why Microsoft won’t fight moblin, raises an interesting point about the economic relationship between Microsoft and Intel. While this article discusses the performance ceiling that now confronts all of the hardware companies, it more importantly indicates that Microsoft has become too dependent upon the profits it was able to raise for higher-priced hardware. Unfortunately, for Microsoft, the netbook market is not one of high-priced hardware.

    [...]

    The resulting situation is that Microsoft is suffering from a significant drop in revenue, a significant increase in costs, and a product with limited appeal. There just isn’t enough in Windows 7 to justify its cost. Microsoft will earn some revenue by selling it with new machines, as it did with Vista. Microsoft is also in the process of trying to force IT departments to buy Windows 7 by ending support for Windows XP. And, Microsoft is even adjusting its offerings for netbooks.

    But, it doesn’t appear the Microsoft has gotten the point about profit margins and reaching a wider audience. It is not enough to make a product that is technologically accessible to the average user, you have to also offer that product at an accessible price. To reach the widest market, you have to sell at discount store prices. It simply does no good to design a product for a wide market and then price it beyond the reach of that market.

  • Desktop

    • This takes the cake (and make mine chocolate!)

      I heard recently, and could not really believe it until I saw it, that Microsoft was encouraging people to throw “Tupperware(R) parties” at their homes in order to launch the new version of Microsoft’s products.

      [...]

      Linux can’t do that, since anyone that anxious to get a fresh distribution of Linux just pulls it down off the Internet. This also allows the Linux user to get their beauty sleep instead of standing in line outside some store for hours.

    • Top 10 things I have learned since the start of this experiment

      5. Linux might actually have a better game selection than the Mac!

      Obviously there was some jest in there but Linux really does have some gems for games out there. Best of all most of them are completely free! Then again some are free for a reason…

      [...]

      And the #1 thing I have learned since the start of this experiment? Drum roll please…

      1. Linux might actually be ready to replace Windows for me

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Stable kernels 2.6.27.36, 2.6.30.9, and 2.6.31.2 released

      The stable team has announced the release of kernels 2.6.27.36, 2.6.30.9, and 2.6.31.2. There are lots of fixes, all over the tree, some of which may have security implications, so users are encouraged to update. “This is the last release of the 2.6.30-stable series. Everyone should now move to the 2.6.31 kernel tree. If there are any issues preventing people from doing this, please let me know!”

  • Applications

    • Top 3 Linux password managers

      KeepassX is an application for people with extremly high demands on secure personal data management. It has a light interface, is cross platform and published under the terms of the GNU General Public License.

    • Emesene 1.5 – The BEST Messenger for MSN?

      Emesene 1.5 is one of the best instant messengers available for use with the MSN Network thanks to its massive feature set (which includes full webcam support), super stable nature and all-round ease of use.

    • Imagination, a light weight DVD slideshow maker for Linux

      Imagination is a lightweight and simple DVD slide show maker written in C language and built with the GTK+2 toolkit, there are some other GUIs which do the job, but they usually require a lot of dependencies to be installed first and often their interfaces are bloated. Imagination has been designed from the ground up to be fast, light and easy-to-use.

    • Twinkle Softphone: Review

      Twinkle seems to be one of the most ambitious Linux softphones. This free open source softphone offers voice communications and instant messaging using SIP protocol. Twinkle is one of the most widely used SIP softphones. It’s popularity can be given to the fact that it is available in the stable repos in the main distros (Ubuntu, OpenSuse and Fedora). The VoIP application uses Qt toolkit for its graphical user interface. For calls Twinkle uses the session Initiation Protocol (widely used for controlling multimedia communication sessions such as voice calls over IP). It can be used for straight IP to IP calls as well as in a network using a SIP proxy to route your calls and messages. Let’s delve into its key feature of Twinkle to find out where does it stand in the queue of open source softphones.

    • Exaile 0.3.0 is a Music Player for Ubuntu

      Multimedia is important component of an OS and Linux has plenty of options to handle multimedia, especially music. Exaile is a music manager and player for GTK+ written in Python and incorporates many features including support for several portable players.

    • A Free Open Source Alternative to Microsoft Visio

      Now let us check out DIA- it is a 16.5 MB download from Sourceforge over here. It is also available for Linux and can probably be run on a Mac as well. If you have experience with DIA on either operating system we would love to hear from you in the comments! We will be working with the Windows version in this article.

      [...]

      For me this free Visio alternative is wonderful!

    • Record screencasts with open source Webinaria

      If you’ve ever had to try to create a training demonstration, you know how helpful a screencast can be. If you’re not sure what a screencast is just think of it as a video capture of you working on your PC. This is an incredible educational tool that users can watch to see how to do things. There are a number of tools out there to do this, but only a handful of them are free. Webinaria goes even further and opens its source up to the users.

  • K Desktop Environment

    • KDE 4.3.2 Release Announcement

      KDE Community Ships Second Translation and Service Release of the 4.3 Free Desktop, Containing Numerous Bugfixes, Performance Improvements and Translation Updates

      October 6th, 2009. Another month has passed since the release of KDE 4.3.0, so today the KDE Community announces the immediate availability of KDE 4.3.2, a bugfix, translation and maintenance update for the latest generation of the most advanced and powerful free desktop. KDE 4.3.2 is a monthly update to KDE 4.3. It ships with a desktop workspace and many cross-platform applications such as administration programs, network tools, educational applications, utilities, multimedia software, games, artwork, development tools and more. KDE’s award-winning tools and applications are available in more than 50 languages.

    • ROSE Blog Interviews: KDE Project’s A. L. Spehr

      Q: You’re speaking to a group of high school students. Why should they consider exploring career options in open source?

      A: Working with open source projects means that you’ll always be on the cutting edge of using new technologies. You’ll find this is good for your resume. But doing Free Software is volunteer work – you get to pick your own projects based on what you are interested in. So take advantage of that and follow your interests. Meet as many people as you can. You’ll find it might turn into paid work, either in or outside of open source.

      People are one of the strong points. In a large project like KDE, you’ll find people from all over the world. It’s neat to be able to say that you know someone from Iran, and to get an eyewitness account of current events there. And it’s fun to travel to conferences. I’ve met all kinds of great folks, and some have turned into close friends.

    • Akademy 2010 Dates Announced

      The representatives visited the Openmind Conference as part of the trip, which gave them a chance to find out about FLOSS in Finland and to meet and talk with government representatives and people from local companies. The conference was an interesting event with more of a focus on FLOSS in business than development. At Openmind Adriaan gave a talk on software licensing issues for the Free Software Foundation Europe’s Freedom Task Force.

  • Distributions

    • SystemRescueCd 1.3.1 Includes Filesystem Benchmarking Tools

      SystemRescueCd creator François Dupoux is committed to keeping his distribution running on the latest and greatest software, because yesterday he released SystemRescueCD 1.3.1 and, as everyone is expecting, it is powered by version 2.6.31.1 of the Linux kernel. Along with that you will find a 2.6.27.35 alternative kernel, a fresh NTFS-3G, 2009.4.4-AR19, and PartImage 0.6.8, which allows you to disable SSL at runtime.

    • My Slackware 13 review

      Well Slackware 13 was released a few weeks back and I had a chance to install it on my laptop. I ran Slackware as my main Linux distro for about 2 years. It’s reputation as being stable and solid are well earned. If you run Slackware for any significant amount of time you will learn the intricacies of how Linux works. The packages that come by default in the latest version of Slackware are pretty up to date and an official 64 bit distribution is now available.

    • Which Linux do you tell n00bs to use?

      Depending on the type of person who asks me I generally recommend either Ubuntu or Pardus. Those are both the most well known (here at least) and targeted for those new to Linux. I have also heard of, but never tried, MintOS and PCLinuxOS. They also have the reputation of being easy to use. I would never recommend a Linux distribution like Fedora, Debian or Gentoo unless someone has some experience with Linux. Never mind that all Linux distributions are pretty much the same under the hood. What hooks people is the desktop experience, not the technical elegance of how a Linux distribution is put together.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Linux Mint, the perfect starter OS for Mac and Windows refugees.

        There’s a leaner version of Mint which uses XFCE as a desktop environment, but the default distribution is so drop-dead gorgeous I can’t give it up. And if it runs acceptably fast on a bargain-basement netbook, I’m sure it will scream on a properly-spec’d desktop or notebook computer.

        I just wish I had put Linux Mint on my old MacBook before I gave it to my sister in law. She’d had never known the difference…

  • Devices/Embedded

    • A Netbook/ultramobile hybrid from Sharp

      It’s got a pretty robust battery life–up to 10 hours, according to Sharp–and runs Ubuntu.

      [...]

      The way you use it, though, is more like an ultramobile PC. Holding the NetWalker with two hands, you type with your thumbs. On the right side above the keyboard is an optical pointer that, when you run a finger over it, functions as a mouse.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open Source Makes Big Gains at the London Stock Exchange

    At first sight, news that the London Stock Exchange (LSE) is moving from the Microsoft .Net-based TradElect to the GNU/Linux-based MillenniumIT system, is just another win for free software.

    But the details provide some fascinating insights into the world of very high performance – and very expensive – enterprise systems.

  • Open-source experts gathering at Foss.my

    Free and Open-Source Software (Foss) enthusiasts and practitioners will have the opportunity later this month to learn about the latest developments in the movement.

    A grassroots-driven conference called Foss.my will bring together international Foss professionals and enthusiasts from Oct 24-25.

    It will take place at the Asia Pacific University College of Technology & Innovation and the Asia Pacific Institute of Information Technology, at the Technology Park Malaysia here.

    [...]

    Also there is Richard Matthew Stallman, the father of the free software movement, who will be speaking on the movement and GNU/Linux.

  • Firefox 3.6 beta set to ship next week

    The open source browser maker is expected to spin out the next iteration of Firefox in November, and next week’s upcoming beta is understood to be the only test build released by Mozilla before 3.6 – codenamed Namoroka and based on Gecko 1.9.2 – lands.

  • Jim Jagielski, Apache Software Foundation Co-Founder, On Apache’s Timeline

    In the early days, almost all infrastructure services were donated. Today, we host and manage our own infrastructure, greatly supported by the financial donations of our sponsors, but even so, we remain a 100 percent volunteer-based organization, still true to our goals and ideals.

  • Trinity’s Humanitarian Open Source Software Project Snags Major Grant

    The Humanitarian FOSS Project (HFOSS), a collaborative three-college program that creates free open source software (FOSS) for the common good, received a major vote of confidence with the awarding of an $800,000, two-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) under its Pathways to Revitalized Undergraduate Computing Education program.

  • FR: Paris region to launch open source workflow portal for schools

    The administration of the Paris region will build a on-line workflow system based entirely on open source software, to be used by all school students, teachers, parents and school administration, Jean-Baptiste Roger, IT adviser at the Paris regional council, on announced last Thursday at the Open World Forum taking place in the French capital.

  • Open source ‘ready to go’ for business applications

    With open source already mainstream, companies are now arriving at the point where they are prepared to invest in this area for business applications.

    So claims the chairman of the recent Open World Forum and chief executive of Wallix Jean-Noel de Galzain, who made his comments in an interview with IT PRO.

  • Talend Announces First Open Source Master Data Management Solution

    Talend, the recognized market leader in open source data integration software, today announced it has acquired all rights to the Master Data Management (MDM) technology of Amalto Technologies. As a result of this acquisition, Talend will be the first company to offer an open source MDM solution, providing organizations with the exact features and benefits found in proprietary MDM solutions, at a fraction of the cost.

  • Talend Upgrades Its On Demand Open Source Data Integration Platform
  • Lucene 2.9 and the Power of Open Source

    Open source does not have to mean “hackers only.” There are helpful guides, documentation, and user mailing lists on the Lucene site, and many other sites across the web. Each of the subprojects has a long list of companies and people offering paid support, from individual programmers with specialized expertise to hosting and configuration services to companies providing a full suite of enterprise-level support, such as Red Hat offers for Linux.

  • What Everyblock owes Knight after its open source success

    The Knight Foundation, as part of its efforts to improve online journalism, gave a $1.1 million grant for the launch of Everyblock in 2006.

    Everyblock used the money to build a GPL code base that aggregates local information for use by news sites. Here, for instance, is its recent report on my home zip code.

  • Universities team for open-source Robot Operating System

    Two years ago, computer science graduate student Morgan Quigley had an idea: an open-source programming framework for robots that would improve collaboration between researchers. Now, his Robot Operating System (ROS) has caught the attention of universities and research groups worldwide.

    Menlo Park-based research group Willow Garage has taken the lead on the project, while teams from universities such as Carnegie Mellon, USC, MIT and the Technical University of Munich are also developing ROS.

  • Edible oil supply chain running smoothly

    The Peercore system, developed in-house over the past nine years, is based on the Ingres open source database technology and an Open Road front end.

  • No Longer an IBM Partner, Randr Navigates the Open Source Track

    You don’t need an expert economist to see that the AS/400 midrange market is not what it used to be. A once thriving market, it’s now maybe a tenth of its previous size, and more resellers and software vendors leave every day. One of the former IBM AS/400 business partners that has evolved its business plan to suit the times is Randr, Inc., which has made a clean break with the traditional midrange, and moved to open source software.

  • Intel Makes Moves in Mobility

    When I first saw Moblin, I really questioned Intel’s ability to create a dedicated OS for small devices. The folks at Intel told me that they felt it was strategic for them and would go a long way to providing a specialized OS just for x86-based handhelds in the future.

  • Open Source Ticket Request System

    Open Source Ticket Request System (OTRS) comes with two separate Web interfaces – Agent Interface and Customer Interface. From Agent Interface all administrative and ticketing tasks can be performed and Customer Interface is where customers i.e, users can raise new tickets from, check status of the already raised tickets, etc.

  • Global Open Source Collaboration Software Provider eXo Platform Expands to North America with First U.S. Office

    In response to growing demand in North America, eXo Platform today opened its first U.S. office and announced a Board of Advisors stacked with software industry luminaries. This move comes on the heels of a partnership with Red Hat enabling eXo to deliver its open source collaboration software to the North American market.

  • Mckoi Announces MckoiDDB 1.0, an Open Source Distributed Database System

    Mckoi Software announced today that Version 1.0 of MckoiDDB, a distributed database system, is available for download at http://www.mckoi.com/ under the open source GPLv3 license. MckoiDDB is a database management application that provides software developers an engine for organizing large and complex data-sets over clusters of servers, and an API that supports transactions and low latency queries.

  • 3Di Releases Open Source Virtual World Viewer for OpenSim

    3Di, Inc., which develops and offers 3D Internet solutions, has launched an open source project, 3Di Viewer “Rei,” for viewing and interacting with OpenSim-based 3D virtual worlds in web browsers.

  • New Open Source iBeans Promises Quick Integration Wins

    Loraine Lawson spoke with Greg Schott, CEO of MuleSoft (previously MuleSource) about the new iBeans open source offering, which gives Java developers a quick and easy way to integrate internally or with some platforms externally.

  • PrismTech Simplifies Systems Integration and SOA Connectivity with Release of Open Source OpenSplice DDS Connector for Apache Camel

    PrismTech™, the world leader in Open Source high-performance communications middleware, today announced the availability of the Open Source OpenSplice™ DDS Connector for Apache Camel. This new connector, developed as part of a contract award from the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, makes the systems integration and Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) connectivity of Data Distribution Service (DDS) applications easier than ever before.

  • FSF/GNU

    • Richard Stallman on Radio New Zealand

      If you’re looking for a little background radio to listen to this afternoon, why not check out the podcast for yourself? It runs to just over 39 minutes and LIANZA Conference gets a mention (yay!). I can’t wait to hear what he says in his keynote address. I wager it’ll generate quite a lot of debate so make sure you get along to that one. You don’t want to miss out on the “watercooler conversation” that’ll go on afterwards.

  • Licensing

    • D-Link DVA-G3170i, GPL violation?

      A Portuguese ISP called SAPO is shipping a D-Link router with new ADSL subscriptions. The router’s model/SKU # is DVA-G3170i. A firmware image is available here and their tech support has the router’s web interface here.

  • Openness

    • 48 Hour Launch: An ‘Open-Source’ Alternative to Startup Weekend

      On November 13—just before the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week—web developers, designers and business experts will gather in Chattanooga for a forty-eight hour collaborative bootcamp and work together to take a handful of business ideas from concept to launch. The founding parters, which include Launch Memphis, Knoxville Overground, Will This Float? and Chattanooga’s SpringBoard, are calling 48 Hour Launch an “open-source” alternative to the popular Startup Weekend model.

    • Open Source

      If curators had greatest-hits albums, “Against Exclusion” would be Jean-Hubert Martin’s. Discoveries from his 1989 exhibition “Magicians of the Earth” (Cyprien Tokoudagba, Esther Mahlangu, Cheri Samba) joined favorites from 2007’s “Arttempo” (Anish Kapoor, Tony Cragg, Berlinde de Bruyckere) in a city that helped propel him to the top by providing material for the groundbreaking “Paris—Moscow” and “Moscow—Paris” exhibitions in the late 1970s. “I wanted to give something back,” Martin said.

  • Programming

    • Tech Tip: Meld for Visual Diffs

      In diff tool speak, a visual diff tool is a GUI application. Meld is such a tool: a tool for displaying differences between files (and directories) and also for merging the differences. Meld is programmed in Python.

Leftovers

  • Apple flounces out of US Chamber on greenhouse gases

    Apple has resigned from the US Chamber of Commerce due to the American business organization’s criticism of efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Criminalizing everyone

    Kathy and George Norris lived under the specter of a covert government investigation for almost six months before the government unsealed a secret indictment and revealed why the Fish and Wildlife Service had treated their family home as if it were a training base for suspected terrorists. Orchids.

    That’s right. Orchids.

  • US court says software is owned, not licensed

    Software company Autodesk has failed in its bid to prevent the second-hand sale of its software. After a long-running legal battle, it has not been able to convince a court that its software is merely licensed and not sold.

  • Philadelphia Eagles Sue Radio Station For Ticket Giveaways

    Radio station gives away Philadelphia Eagles tickets and mentions Eagles in on-air promotions, without authorization.

  • On the Web, forever has a due date

    If GeoCities — once the most popular face of personal Websites — can disappear, what about YouTube, Google Docs and Facebook?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Hollywood hunts The Pirate Bay; site down again

      The Pirate Bay was inaccessible most of the day Monday after a group representing copyright owners forced the BitTorrent search engine’s bandwidth provider to cut off service, according to a published report.

    • Edwyn Collins Can’t Give Away His Music Thanks To MySpace, Warner Music

      Mesanna alerts us to a blog post from the wife/manager of pop singer Edwyn Collins discussing the hellish experience she’s gone through trying to offer up Collins’ most famous song, A Girl Like You, on MySpace. Collins owns the copyright and wants the music to be freely downloadable by anyone, but Warner Music claimed that it owns the copyright, even though it does not…

    • Copyright Control

      The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is, without question, one of the most frequently abused laws on the books. If the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act is the catch-all for internet crime, the DMCA is ten times over for copyright law. If you want something off the internet, the quickest way to be rid of it is to issue a DMCA notice, regardless of whether there is any basis for it or not, and that’s exactly what companies like Autodesk do. There is recourse, however: Anyone who knowingly misrepresents that an infringement has occurred, or falsely represents that a take down was the result of a mistake, is liable for damages for their conduct.

    • FBI Investigated Coder for Liberating Paywalled Court Records

      When 22-year-old programmer Aaron Swartz decided last fall to help an open-government activist amass a public and free copy of millions of federal court records, he did not expect he’d end up with an FBI agent trying to stake out his house.

      [...]

      “I think its pretty silly they go after people who use the library to try to get access to public court documents,” Swartz said. “It is pretty silly that instead of calling me up, they sent an FBI agent to my house.”

    • A Harvard Skirmish in the Copyright Wars

      Problem is, there’s an argument that what professors say in class is their intellectual property. After all, if they just read their own lecture notes, then their words have been “fixed in a tangible medium,” to quote the Copyright Act. So the professor automatically holds the copyright, and Magliozzi, or his note-taking helpers, are violating it. By that logic, it’s the same thing as listening to a song being sung, transcribing it, and posting the notes and lyrics on your web site. Copyright violation.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Internet Video Celebrity Caitlin Hill 10 (2007)


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

1st, 3rd, and 4th Top-selling Laptops in Amazon Germany Come with GNU/Linux

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux at 1:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Steve Ballmer was probably right about GNU/Linux exceeding Apple on the desktop (globally)

Linux at Amazon

Notice the ratings too.

[Source, thanks to our reader amd-linux]

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

Microsoft Hotmail Information Leaked, Intellectual Monopolies Now Applied to UK Post Codes

Posted in Database, Europe, Intellectual Monopoly, Mail, Microsoft, Patents, Security, Servers at 12:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft service accidentally discloses information too easily, whereas the UK prevents disclosure of public information

MANY reports out there speak about attempts to address the brute force of botnets using a brute force of human workforce. Just the other day, Cringely explained why it’s bound to fail, but this does not prevent the charade from living on.

Everyone talks about Internet security, but no one does anything about it. That’s not true, of course — there are many organizations and businesses dedicated to keeping the Web safe. Yet it is true that no one is taking ultimate responsibility for policing the Web. No one is willing — or perhaps, able — to say “the buck stops here.” Perhaps that’s as it should be?

A few weeks ago we noted that “Hotmail is currently a mess, which even some fans of Microsoft dislike (Microsoft censors critics of it). Hotmail is also a spam issue and it has security problems.” According to reports even from Microsoft’s circles, login credentials for Hotmail have just been leaked, allegedly after phishing. Under an alternative headline, the BBC puts “posted online” in quotes like it’s a technical term (both myself and a reader called “ThistleWeb” have noticed this independently). It also says: “BBC News has seen a list of more than 10,000 e-mail accounts and passwords which had been posted online.

What this neglects to say is that phishing too is enabled by malign mail services such as Hotmail. So in a sense, Hotmail is a victim of its own incompetence; it’s cyclic.

ThistleWeb also drew attention to this new report from the BBC, noting: “Whodathunk a postcode would be someone’s “intellectual property”?”

Websites that help people find jobs or hospitals have been hit by legal action threatened by the Royal Mail.

“That could get interesting,” argues Oiaohm. “If someone decided to charge you like 1 cent every time you used a post code, it would stack up.”

The actual revelation is old, but the BBC is very typically left behind. The above helps prove that intellectual monopolies are out of control, even in Europe. The President of the FFII wrote some hours ago: “SAP lobbying for software patents at the US Supreme Court: http://i5.be/MR

Here’s another couple of Bilski amici indices.

Bill ski

UK’s First-ever LiMo Phones Are Encumbered by Microsoft Patent Tax (on Linux)

Posted in Europe, GNU/Linux, Kernel, Microsoft, Novell, Patents, Samsung at 12:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samsung mobile

Summary: Samsung delivers phones that are based on Linux, but Samsung also engages in a Novell-like deal with Microsoft

SEVERAL misinformed people have decided to mock us for saying the truth about Samsung’s LiMo phones, which we labeled “encumbered by Microsoft’s Linux racket” [1, 2, 3]. I have promoted LiMo a lot since its inception, yet there is no choice when it comes to Samsung’s two models of phones but to boycott them. This is motivated by the same reason as the boycott against Novell. Buying these products helps Microsoft against GNU/Linux.

According to new reports, it is ironic that the very first LiMo phones to reach the UK market are a no-go area to people who support the Freedom of software (and thus the sustainability of Linux).

Not much has been heard about LiMo, their Linux Mobile OS, and all the phones coming out featuring said OS, basically Google Android and everything else has overshadowed LiMo to a point of no real return in my honest opinion.

Samsung is on the verge of releasing two spanking brand new LiMo handsets later in the year, these handsets are called the Samsung H1 and Samsung M1, both feature LiMo OS R2 (Release 2) which is expected to boots recognition of the OS and its hardwares.

Not just Vodafone but T-Mobile too will stock them. Say “no” to Samsung and spread the word. Too many people forgot what Samsung did, even though the extortion continues to this date.

Jose Socrates Caves to His Friend Bill Gates and Gives up Portugal’s Digital Sovereignty

Posted in Bill Gates, Europe, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, OpenSUSE, Steve Ballmer at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Portugal's flag

Summary: Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates and Microsoft have apparently tightened their relationship as Portugal’s GNU/Linux is being “phased out”

TONY Manco has called attention to this report from Portugal. Translated to English (automatically) it states that: “Reports that the CM had access rocking the way it was made technological reform in the ministry, initially based on the Linux operating system, chosen by ITIJ in 2005.

“At that time, put forward the reform and created a product called ‘Linius’, based on a draft release of Linux in English known as Caixa Mágica. This project, however, now being phased out when the Government of Socrates began to enter into agreements with Microsoft in 2007.”

Caixa Mágica abandoned OpenSUSE two years ago and the government’s intimate relationship with Microsoft can be seen in this post (Jose Socrates and Steve Ballmer joining forces when Gates is not around), as well as some of the posts below. Portugal could take a lesson from Brazil, its former colony.

Related posts:

The FTC Should Bite AstroTurfers, Not Just Bark at Them

Posted in Deception, Law, Marketing, Microsoft at 11:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

US Capitol

Summary: FTC reiterates threat to AstroTurfing activities, but still fails to police anything based on its newly-ratified rules

THE FTC is one of those publicly-funded institutions that give people the feeling that the government is in control and always protects the collective interests of the citizens. Like the FCC and the Federal Reserve, their use of words is very witty and “Federal” comes to imply that it is purely federal, but in reality the control is reserved by companies like Microsoft and other conflicting interests (people move back and forth between commerce and governance/regulation).

The many complaints to the FCC mean nothing at all unless they are filed at a high volume like hundreds or thousands, based on experience.

Upon filing a complaint against Microsoft AstroTurfing, for instance, the FTC responded with a formal letter, but has not taken any real action. They told us that they expect more similar letters before they take action and mass-mailing of letters is Microsoft’s expertise; it hires de facto AstroTurfing agencies like CAGW and ACT to carry out this job. In their terms, this it called “lobbying”. Microsoft uses the strategy not only to affect public policy and not just to review products but to also troll opposition. There are many examples that are well documented.

The FTC is once again reciting old news about cracking down on AstroTurfers. Here is the report hosted by Microsoft’s ‘news’ site [1, 2].

The Federal Trade Commission will require bloggers to clearly disclose any freebies or payments they get from companies for reviewing their products.

Our reader Goblin wrote this post in relation to Microsoft, which is currently AstroTurfing in Twitter.

You may remember me reporting a while ago that the FTC were looking into bloggers and their “independent” views which are as a result of freebies or gifts. You may remember that we have exposed these gift receivers before and rightly ask “How much worth can you put into the words of someone receiving gifts?“

In my opinion much pro-proprietary software opinion is based on gifts (or the possibility of recieving them) and since the personal blog is looked at a whole lot differently than a mainstream news outlet, its even more important that the views in a blog are those of honest held belief.

[...]

Anyone found to be not disclosing could be liable for a fine of up to $11,000. This, in my opinion is something which is long overdue. I’ve said before that the personal blog holds alot more weight (IMO) than the PR sheets or mainstream features of the latest hardware/software.

It did not take long for one of Microsoft’s potential AstroTurf accounts to react to the above and there is more coverage at TechDirt and Ars Technica.

The FTC has announced new rules governing “consumer-generated” media outlets and product endorsements. Bloggers who fail to disclose their relationships with manufacturers and advertisers face five-digit fines.

Here is the original message from the FTC:

A bunch of folks have been sending in the fact that the FTC has (as was widely expected) approved new rules on “endorsements” or “testimonials,” including a section on bloggers or “word-of-mouth marketers.”

Some of Microsoft’s PR agencies use illegal tactics. Microsoft outsources its AstroTurfing activities, so the FTC should start with these agencies. The stated fine is $11,000 per post, so given what Microsoft does for Vista 7, for instance, Microsoft would theoretically go bankrupt had these rules been applied and truly enforced.

“Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog. “Independent” analyst’s report should be issued, praising your technology and damning the competitors (or ignoring them). “Independent” consultants should write columns and articles, give conference presentations and moderate stacked panels, all on our behalf (and setting them up as experts in the new technology, available for just $200/hour). “Independent” academic sources should be cultivated and quoted (and research money granted). “Independent” courseware providers should start profiting from their early involvement in our technology. Every possible source of leverage should be sought and turned to our advantage.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

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