To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
To use your own IRC client, join channel #boycottnovell in FreeNode.
Long established software firewall Kerio WinRoute Firewall 6.7.1 now ships as a appliance incorporating a hardened Linux operating system.
The fact is that there are many projects and organizations devoted to maintaining and improving Linux, there are a few organizations devoted to the promotion of Desktop Linux, but there are almost no organizations devoted to the sales and advertising of desktop Linux.
What The Linux Dairy Council prescribes is finding people that will stop and help someone in obvious distress carry some boxes inside.
Or show them that there is an easier way to use their computers.
The Linux Dairy Council Vision Statement:
The LDC is a project to help promote Linux in general, rather than specific distros. To help coordinate marketing and education activities around Linux by creating materials and organizing activities with other projects.
This week on Linux Outlaws: Dan & Fab discuss all the recent F/OSS news such as Skype open-sourcing their Linux client, Microsoft opening the PST format, Apple dropping ZFS, open source e-voting and they also interview Popey from the Ubuntu UK Podcast about Karmic Koala and why he loves the Satanic Edition so much.
And thinking of practical, once Grandpa has a Linux desktop, you’ll be able to spend your weekend with him watching football instead of updating his AVG or cleaning out malware. I don’t know about you, but I know which way I prefer to spend my weekends!
Linux isn’t perfect, Windows isn’t perfect, Apple isn’t perfect, Unix isn’t perfect. They never will be. Quit expecting them to be and take a look realistically at what each one offers that will help you make the best out of each unique situation.
Whether you’re a die-hard Windows fan or a Linux evangelist, here is the lowdown on the latest updates
The most interesting aspect of the project, from my perspective, is Mutter. Mutter is essentially Metacity with the Clutter technologies baked into it. As Joe Gregorio noted back at OSCON, Clutter’s a popular project these days, and for good reason. Built by the Intel-acquired OpenedHand team, among others, Clutter offers aesthetically pleasing, thoroughly modern graphics capabilities that, even better, are fast. Indeed, of the available compositing options for my hardware, the only one that performs adequately is the next generation option in the Clutter based GNOME Shell. That is most unusual; the bleeding edge stuff is typically very slow.
Most people tend to forget that there are still hundreds of millions of computer users worldwide still connected to the Web using 56K modems, having to dial up every time they want to enjoy the Internet experience.
Something like one year ago I switched from Linux to Mac OS X. It was not an easy switch if you think that my desktop on Linux used to be this one, that is, just fvmw2 with a minimal configuration, super fast virtual desktop, border-less windows.
The strength of Linux, or why Mac OS X is weak as development environment
“We found an old Irwindale from 2005 sitting in a corner and we checked against that too,” adds the OpenLab CTO. “Moving up from then to now, running Linux – Linux is our OS of choice – we saw 4x performance increase from the cores, and as much as 6x with the use of symmetric multi-threading.”
Griffin’s IT team used the LAMP stack to build and deploy the services. LAMP is an open source Web development platform based on Linux. The services used Apache as the Web server, MySQL as the relational database management system and PHP as the object-oriented scripting language.
According to Steven J Vaughan-Nichols, the firm is a well-established presence in the sector and continues to meet the dedicated server needs of many customers seeking external IT support.
1 www.singlehop.com Linux 0.000 0.817 0.043 0.090 0.344
2 www.acens.com Linux 0.000 0.257 0.074 0.330 0.566
3 INetU unknown 0:00:00 0.005 0.368 0.028 0.064 0.123
4 Server Intellect Windows Server 2008 0:00:00 0.005 0.602 0.045 0.095 0.190
5 One.com Linux 0:00:00 0.005 0.133 0.098 0.196 0.196
6 ServInt Linux 0:00:00 0.010 0.614 0.020 0.050 0.096
7 iWeb Technologies Linux 0:00:00 0.010 0.138 0.045 0.090 0.090
8 New York Internet FreeBSD 0:00:00 0.014 0.308 0.029 0.064 0.149
9 Verio Linux 0:00:00 0.014 0.655 0.075 0.150 0.150
10 Virtual Internet Linux 0:00:00 0.014 0.662 0.084 0.237 0.493
Located in East Orange County, the company, which provides Linux-based cluster computing power to large-scale users such as the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command, secured the Sabalcore.com web domain and recently relaunched itself as Sabalcore, Inc.
Consider that a DDC-Server configured with 1TB of shared memory, 192 cores of AMD processors at 2.8 GHz and 8TB of storage, all connected via an InfiniBand switch and complete with cables, Linux OS and DDC-Pool software lists for $250,000. A DDC-Server with 256GB of shared memory, 96 cores of AMD Istanbul processors at 2.4 GHz, 4TB of storage with an InfiniBand switch, cables, Linux OS and DDC-Pool software is listed at $99,000.
Looking around the conference hall at the Cloud Computing Conference, companies such as 3tera offer a provisioning tool that is able to automatically produce images of servers, switches, and routers within a virtual environment. You need a new LINUX box, you drag and drop a pre-configured LINUX image into your environment. It “spools” and is ready for access within about 2 seconds. From the user’s perspective, it is a physical LINUX server that could very well be mounted in the next room. The object functions exactly as a physical server would behave.
Phoromatic was originally mentioned during the Phoronix Test Suite 2.0 development cycle, but the web-based service has not gone public in beta until this morning. The Phoromatic module in the Phoronix Test Suite 2.2 client provides a few updates to the Phoromatic support and interested users are encouraged to use the just-released Bardu Beta 2 or newer. This was pushed back from 2.0 Sandtorg due to strapped development resources, waiting for a few internal pts-core API changes in 2.2 Bardu, and then awaiting feedback from various PTS-using companies.
A good portion of the boot time on current Linux systems is spent on system initialisation and starting dozens of daemons sequentially. The Ubuntu 9.10 development team have started to parallelise and accelerate the boot process through the large scale use of Upstart.
This year’s Kernel Summit saw Linux developers, led by Linus Torvalds, discussing the development process and gaining an insight into how Google uses the Linux kernel in-house. Ulrich Drepper and Alan Cox think universal binaries in Linux are a step in the wrong direction. Various graphics drivers have recently been updated to add new functionality.
Skype announced that it is working on an open source UI layer for its Linux VoIP client. Although apparently not fully open source, the upcoming version of the Skype client for Linux could enable more open development of client front ends, including those for mobile devices.
While Skype has acknowledged an interest in making its Linux client open-source, this may not mean very much in practice.
So, if you really need PhotoShop, you can use it in Linux. I you don’t need Photoshop, you can run Gimp for free! It works just like Photoshop and is every bit as powerful.
What is it with installing programs these days? Just about any program you wish to install comes with some useless so called value added junk which does nothing but use up computer resources and slow it down. Being a technical person I can of course easily remove or disable those extras but I really feel sorry for those who don’t know any better.
Widelands is an open source (works on Windows, Linux and Mac OSX) real-time strategy game, built upon the SDL and other open source libraries. If you knew Settlers I & II (© Bluebyte), then you already have a rough idea what Widelands is all about because Widelands is heavily inspired by those two games.
Egoboo is a (90 megabyte!!) 3D Rogue-like game. Rogue is a very, very old game — the original adventure game, really — and Egoboo builds on its legacy, throws in a little hack-and-slash… and it’s even a bit of a RPG! There is loot, there are gribbly monsters that are out to eat your face, and there are plenty of pretty zones to explore (plus there’s a map editor!)
There is a short re-cap at the bottom on how to install these themes, and if you have any more great ones to share please do and I’ll update the post!
The KDevelop team is proud to announce the sixth beta of KDevelop4. There haven’t been any major features started since beta 5 as this is mostly a bugfix release (demonstrated by the list of fixed bugs). This also marks the end of the KDE 4.2 support. With this release KDevelop4 requires KDE 4.3 and Qt 4.5 to fully supply the GUI we want to provide our users with. It is also the last release that we’re doing on behalf of ourselves, all upcoming betas will be done together with KDE 4.4. We are aiming at releasing with KDE 4.4.0 as we think that KDevelop4 is ready feature-wise and really needs to get a first release out of the door.
Originally when I switched from GNOME to KDE 4, I kept using Compiz. But with the unknown state of Compiz++ / Compiz-Fusion, I opted to give the KDE 4 native compositing engine an honest shot.
The Amarok team is aiming to raise $10,000 for the coming year and asking users to help the project by making tax-deductible donations during our Rokvember fund raiser.
Actually, I shouldn’t say “their” mentality as I must confess that I too am a distrohopper. I started out ages ago playing with different Linux distributions and just kept right on going with it. To this day I get excited when I see that a particular distro has a new release coming out. I usually can’t wait to get my hands on it to test it and see what great new stuff is in it.
Every so often there comes a distribution that sets itself apart from all others in ways far beyond mention. Parted Magic is one of those. It is *the* defacto distribution for all hard drive maintenance. And the more it grows, the better it gets. So let’s look at this distro and see what it has to offer.
No distro is perfect. Exaggerated reports or isolated cases will not be very helpful either in assessing these things. So just keep in mind, YMMV for each time that you want to use something.
Well, it’s been a while since 5.1 packages entered into mainline and I am pleased to see that for the most part, it went pretty smooth. I think I heard more complaints about the amount of packages vs. updating issues. I can live with that. Portage is constantly changing, very active and can be a challenge to keep up to at times. This keeps entropy maintainers busy bringing you the latest and greatest stuff.
People disagree, some people think that no operating system has any need for distributions, with all their difference and their central repositories that aren’t as central. But one of the thing that impress most the users who switch is, in many cases (at least that I could look at myself) the presence of distributions and the ability to install almost any software by simply looking it up in the package manager.
Just a quick announcement from me. We have released SLAMPP 2.0.2 yesterday. This is a maintenance release of current 2.0.x tree with some fixes and new documentation. Please get your copy here at http://slampp.abangadek.com.
[31 Oct 2009] New stable releases version 2009.10 available: grml, grml64, grml-medium, grml64-medium, grml-small and grml64-small.
We are proud to announce the release of Elastix 1.6 stable. It can be downloaded in 32-bit or 64-bit ISOs. This release has several improvements from Elastix 1.5, that would fix bugs from Elastix and CentOS. Here are some of the more important changes:
* Asterisk updated to 220.127.116.11-4
* Dahdi updated to 18.104.22.168-6
There are packages that we used to have to add to Scientific Linux, that are now already in Enterprise 5, and so we do not have to add them ourselves. Fuse, and it’s kernel modules, are now provided by The Upstream Vendor (TUV). The Atheros wireless chipset is now supported by TUV.
4 November 2009 – New Cooking 20091104
In many of the tests Ubuntu 9.10 had carried the lead — both by small and large margins — but the Karmic Koala had stumbled when it came to the OpenGL performance, PostgreSQL, and NASA NPB. Of those areas, the OpenGL performance is the most intriguing with such a dramatic difference when using the same exact graphics driver from NVIDIA, which we will continue to explore and run other OpenGL tests available through the Phoronix Test Suite.
OK, so there’s something that always disturbs me when release time comes around. Here’s a rough chronology of every Ubuntu release (at least since I’ve been involved, so that goes back to Breezy Badger) and what the “buzz” around the internet says:
1. Alphas come out: buzz says, “not much to see here folks, move along.”
2. Beta comes out: buzz says, “wow, great release, but where’s the new artwork?” and I’m thinking “How on earth can the pull this off?”
3. RC rolls around: buzz says, “new awesomeness right around the corner!” and I’m thinking “darn it, there’s a lot more to do.”
4. Release day: buzz says, “OMG I have to download this” and I’m thinking “phew, that’s over, I’m glad I rsync’d/zsync’d yesterday”
5. The week after a release: buzz says, “Noooooo, this is the worst Ubuntu release EVER!” and I’m thinking “wow, they really did pull it off”
6. Rinse and Repeat
In this final interview in my Where Karmic’s Karma Comes From series, we meet Matt Zimmerman, Ubuntu CTO and chair of the Ubuntu Technical Board. Matt brings each team together with his tireless efforts to ensure quality, professionalism, and polish to each release.
Kees Cook is the security engineer and Gerry Carr is the head of platform marketing at Canonical. In this interview they discuss the security improvements in Ubuntu 9.10, the security challenges the Ubuntu team faces as well as what the latest version of Ubuntu offers to the developer community.
Here at Canonical we are all big fans of the Creative Commons. For those of you unfamiliar with them, they have created a set of Free Culture licenses that make it simple for people to release open content. They also run a variety of resources to make finding and remixing content simple and empowering.
I’ve been playing with the latest Ubuntu desktop release, 9.10 Karmic Koala, since the first beta and I’ve now been using it full time for business work for three days. Here are my impressions and comments…
Yesterday Elizabeth Krumbach (pleia2) gave an Ubuntu Open Week presentation describing the Ubuntu Community Learning Project. This is the project that aims to create the materials that teachers can use to teach Ubuntu and other Free Software tools to everyone.
All in all Jolicloud is a very solid netbook distro. It has replaced Ubuntu Karmic as the default operating system on my Asus EEE PC. If you own a tiny computer it is definitely one worth checking out. Rock solid distro thus far and I feel the Joli team will only deliver more spectacular features before they come into a full 1.0 release.
Google has defended its decision to allow unfettered Android tweaking, saying that although this may fragment the Googlephone market, it’s what’s best for developers.
“Everybody talks about fragmentation as a bad thing, but I think you need to look at it from the perspective of the developer,” Eric Chu, Google’s group manager for Android mobile platforms, told the wireless-happy OpenMobileSummit in downtown San Francisco this afternoon. “How much work does the developer have to do to address the fragmentation? If there are a million devices and they’re in three fragments, they don’t care.”
But the first step in the Android takeover is necessarily the phones. Android 2.0 means the handsets aren’t just interesting anymore; they’re truly buyable. As Matt said this week:
In time, Android very well could be the internet phone, hands down, in terms of raw capabilities…. Android 2.0′s potential finally feels as enormous as the iPhone’s, and I get kinda tingly thinking about it.
The LiMo Foundation is heralding the launch of the Vodafone 360 Samsung M1, the second LiMo-compliant device built upon LiMo Platform release 2, writes editor Richard Wilson.
One of the most common questions we’re being asked in the aftermath of our HTC HD2 unboxing is how its on-screen QWERTY keyboard compares to one of the other eye-catching smartphones of the quarter, the Nokia N900. We’ve staged a quick size and keyboard comparison, and you can find the gallery – and read our early opinions on both devices – after the cut.
The slider mobile phone will be powered by Linux Maemo, making it the first Nokia phone to feature the company’s much-anticipated operating system. Previously, the platform has been employed solely on the company’s selection on Internet Tablets.
ABI Research is projecting that in 2009 Linux will represent 32 percent of netbook sales, far higher than the seven percent figure claimed by Microsoft, says a report. ABI also estimates that Linux will overtake Windows on netbooks by 2013, largely due to sales in less-developed countries, says the story.
Ok, so much for slogging through a lot of the details. Overall, I like the Karmic Netbook Release better than I did the previous ones. I think it is visually better, clearer, easier to understand and use. Some time ago I set up an HP Mini 2140 with UNR for a friend. I will be seeing her again soon, and I will show her the new UNR release and ask if she would like for me to upgrade it for her.
Last month we provided a Moblin 2.1 preview, but to reiterate some of the key features there is the Moblin Garage (effectively an “app store” for this mobile-oriented distribution), Clutter 1.0 integration, Bluetooth device support, improved connection management, localization support, and even a much-improved web-browser.
You have to be prepared to live with Windows XP Home, Windows 7 Starter or Linux and deal with the usual netbook constraints such as a 10.1-inch screen, no optical drive and an Intel Atom N280 processor.
“Michael Moore ignores capitalism’s blessings” is a much better article, not that I necessarily agree with the politics behind it, but simply because it wasn’t apparently written by someone who played with liquid mercury throughout their childhood.
One of the most interesting aspects of this article is that the author is holding up Open Source as a success of Capitalism and good-old-fashioned American gumption, which is quite a contrast from the usual anti-American / Communism brush that critics usually love to pull out.
That’s a long way from having to convince people you aren’t some anti-capitalist communist zealot hippie that wants to destroy the economy with Free Software.
Are you skilled with the super powerful open source 3D graphics and animation application Blender? If you’re unfamiliar with Blender, it’s so flexible that impressive, full-length animated movies have been created with it. In this post, you’ll find a review of an online book on beginning and advanced Blender skills. The book is called Blender Basics.
One platform that began to take shape at that time was focused not on hardware or software but on licensing. Richard Stallman quit his job at MIT to start the GNU project, an effort to produce a clone of the Unix operating system to be distributed under a license that would ensure users’ freedom to run, modify and redistribute the software. The open-source model has since driven much innovation in enterprise technology.
Scientists of Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) release EtherNet/IP? open-source software stack to help product developers cost-effectively connect devices to industrial Ethernet.
The administration of the Tuscany region in Italy this month published a new version of Sagadb, an open source Geographic Information System (GIS) application.
The software allows users to view a map to access public available information. The system is also being used by museums, libraries, courts of law and by health care organisations in the region.
The 471 schools of the Paris region (officially referred to as ‘Île-de-France region’) that are to be involved in the portal project that was announced in October 2009 will be using Eliot, a web-based workflow software that was originally developed for three schools of the region.
The founders and co-lead of Business Intelligence Reporting Tools (BIRT) are looking ahead when it comes to the next generation of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), open-source BI software. In an event held Tuesday in New York City, San Mateo-based Actuate offered partners and analysts a peak at the company’s next release, Actuate 11.
Sun Microsystems has announced that Columbia University will use an open source Sun solution to run its digital preservation project, and also that the University of Zurich is deploying Project Wonderland projects to advance an ambitious global eLearning initiative.
The Sakai Foundation is seeking nominees for its third annual international Teaching with Sakai Innovation Award. Representatives from the Foundation announced next year’s competition at the EDUCAUSE Conference in Denver, CO, today. The intent of the award is to highlight examples of innovative and transformative educational applications of Sakai.
Open source is obviously often viewed as a part of agile development and more effective software development, as well as distribution. As the pressure to keep up in mobile, cloud computing and elsewhere continues to build, it will be interesting to see how far open source software’s speed advantages will take it.
Mozilla plans to overhaul the look and feel of Firefox for Windows, a redesign that will resemble Google’s Chrome in several key elements, according to screenshots and discussions on the open-source developer’s Web site.
Mozilla may have released the first beta of Firefox 3.6 nearly two months late, but the organization believes the final version still will arrive on schedule before the end of the year.
The Mozilla wiki page on version 3.6, code-named Namoroka, listed early September for the scheduled release of the first beta, but it actually arrived October 30. Despite that, Mike Shaver, vice president of engineering, said Mozilla wants to release the browser before the holidays and is sticking by the overall schedule for the open-source Web browser.
Firefox is one of the towering achievements of the open-source movement, accounting for almost a quarter of all Web site visits just five years after its launch. One of the reasons for its enormous popularity is that it can be easily customised with a range of add-ons — from download accelerators to funky themes, they make your browsing experience faster, slicker or just better looking. The official Mozilla Firefox add-ons site now lists over 10,000 extensions for download.
It’s been 10 years since the Apache Software Foundation hung out its feather, creating what has become a series of communities filled with focused project entrepreneurs working on a laundry list of innovative efforts, one of which landed in the White House just a few weeks ago.
The Apache Software Foundation is celebrating 10 years since its incorporation, and so we’re partying like it’s 1999 here at ApacheCon. By which I mean ApacheCon has remained true to its roots with a community-driven feel that seemed more common in the Open Source events of 10 years ago.
Money can’t buy everything, especially when it comes to freely available open source software from the Apache Software Foundation (ASF).
One of the many things I love about working in the world of open source is that this field is much more about passion than profit. Think of how many extra hours you or your friends and colleagues put in on nights and weekends (and occasional holidays). You don’t do that for just a “Job”.
But when I step back and look at all the individual pieces we contribute – like when Emma takes the time to teach some elderly people how to get a handle on their gadgets, or when ZaReason works with volunteers to refurbish and donate 16 computers to Kids on Computers, or The Apache Foundation works with partners to provide live streaming for FREE to people who can’t make it to ApacheCon US this year, or Google’s amazing outreach with the Google Summer of Code – I see that our small parts are actually increasing accessibility in a big way.
Users of the Oracle Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN) now have one-stop access to Zend Server via ULN, helping to speed installation for their PHP-based Web applications. The Unbreakable Linux Network is a resource for Oracle Unbreakable Linux support subscribers, with access to software patches, updates, and fixes.
“Oracle and Zend have a long-standing commitment to the PHP community, with a history of collaboration that has ensured integration between Oracle and Zend’s PHP-based solutions,” said Andi Gutmans, Zend CEO. “Together, we are now delivering an enterprise-grade PHP stack from top to bottom supporting the development, deployment, and management of business-critical PHP applications on Oracle. This full stack will also ease deployment in virtual environments using Oracle VM.”
The Dutch government program “Netherlands in Open Connection” and OpenDoc Society have announced the public availability of a beta version of Officeshots.org. Officeshots is an online webservice that makes it possible to compare the output quality of various office suites as well as web-based productivity applications. The project is financially supported by a grant from the Netherlands based not-for-profit investor NLNet Foundation.
Based on OpenOffice, Symphony includes a spreadsheet, word processor and graphics presentation application. “You give them e-mail, but you have to give them a word processor as well so they can deal with documents that arrive,” said Lobo.
Computers cannot easily parse government documents rendered within the Portable Document Format, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to government transparency. The group argues that because of this, the widely used document standard is actually detrimental to government transparency efforts.
The difficult parsing means that people have to work harder to reuse government data, the organization asserts.
The European Network and Information Security Agency (Enisa) today stepped into the row over version 2 of the EU Interoperability Framework, which aims to offer governments and businesses guidance on using open source software.
Remember Gopher? The protocol predated the Web, and a hardy band of enthusiasts have kept Gopherspace alive. Ars takes a look back at Gopher and shows you how to use it to browse Twitter and 4chan.
It’s an election system voters and math geeks can embrace.
Denmark is a country which has traditionally embraced modern technology. For over a decade pupils have been able to type up their exam answers on computers.
The last article talked about the anatomy of SSDs and the origins of some of the their characteristics. In this article, we break down tuning storage and file systems for SSDs with an eye toward improving performance and helping overcome some of the platform’s limitations.
It looks like AMD and Globalfoundries are going to set up shop in Dubai after taking a hefty chunk of change from an investment firm based in the emirate. AMD CEO Dirk Meyer told Emirates Business that the firm is looking to a open chip design center in Dubai, and maybe a fabrication plant in Abu Dhabi.
Second Life is attracting a cult following among businesses, who say the virtual world gives them richer collaboration than teleconference calls or video conferences. But Second Life still has limitations that pose barriers to enterprise adoption.
Was the risk that Goldman hedged with AIG as bad as Goldman Sachs Alternative Mortgage Products’ GSAMP Trust 2006-S3? Any risk manager worth their salt would have reasonable doubt about this deal and conduct a fraud audit. A fraud audit doesn’t mean you are accusing anyone of fraud, only that the audit will be thorough, because there are indications of grave problems. If there is fraud, however, the audit should be rigorous enough to uncover it.
The recent revelations about the criminal “pump and dump” speculative behavior of the Goldman Sachs Syndicate, along with its heartless new role as Repo-Man of Americans’ homes, drives home the point, once again, that the federal government must do something to tame Wall Street or we’re just setting ourselves up to be scammed again.
Goldman has yet to explain why it risked its blue-chip reputation and financial health to buy and repackage at least $135 billion in loans mostly originated by companies that have since gone bust.
Looking at the list, it seems to comprise men who are very long on hubris, and who have no doubt that if they can run Goldman Sachs, they can do anything else, with normal rules not really applying to them. All of them, post-Goldman, have been tarnished. If Lloyd Blankfein has any sense, he’ll retire quietly.
Suits filed by the pension funds, however, allege that Goldman made materially false or misleading statements in its public offerings, failing to disclose that many loans were based on inflated appraisals and were bought from firms with poor lending practices.
Yet, thanks to U.S. taxpayers’ bailout and its dumping of bad debts, Goldman Sachs is more than back on its feet and planning to pay billions in bonuses.
All banks benefit from the Federal Reserve’s zero-interest-rate policy, but Goldman Sachs Group appears to be benefiting more than most.
In the recent report published by McClatchy some new and interesting details concerning those hedges are being brought into the spotlight. We hope that the regulatory bodies will perform their task and launch an investigation about the nature of those hedges.
Meanwhile revelations continue to surface about Goldman’s “pump-and-dump” operation with a mountain of financial derivatives which they claimed to believe were rock-solid…
THE nation’s peak science agency has tried to gag the publication of a paper by one of its senior environmental economists attacking the Rudd government’s climate change policies.
President Obama just nominated Islam Siddiqui, a top official from CropLife — the pesticide industry’s powerful trade group — as America’s chief agricultural negotiator for international trade. If confirmed by the Senate, Siddiqui, who has spent the last several years of his career fighting various restrictions and bans on environmentally hazardous pesticides, would bring that inappropriately aggressive stance on broadening pesticide use to the White House and influence trade negotiations with Europe and the developing world.
Kellogg, the nation’s largest cereal maker, is being called to task by critics who object to the swine flu-conscious claim now bannered in bold lettering on the front of Cocoa Krispies cereal boxes: “Now helps support your child’s IMMUNITY.”
Of all claims on cereal boxes, “this one belongs in the hall of fame,” says Kelly Brownell, director of Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. “By their logic, you can spray vitamins on a pile of leaves, and it will boost immunity.”
Then there are the threats. Offit once got an email from a Seattle man that read, “I will hang you by your neck until you are dead!” Other bracing messages include “You have blood on your hands” and “Your day of reckoning will come.” A few years ago, a man on the phone ominously told Offit he knew where the doctor’s two children went to school. At a meeting of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an anti-vaccine protester emerged from a crowd of people holding signs that featured Offit’s face emblazoned with the word terrorist and grabbed the unsuspecting, 6-foot-tall physician by the jacket.
WHILE MANY HAVE WELCOMED the unfettered reign of the Internet service providers (ISPs) coming to an end in the US in favour of network neutrality, a team of learned legal minds has warned that all might not be as it seems.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided that it will police the Internet to make sure that the large ISPs – telecom and cable companies, mostly – do not force a two-tiered Internet on the American public.
Given its history of provocative and occasionally aggressive blog posts, it’s actually a little surprising that popular law blog Above the Law has not been sued before. A blogger’s life is inherently filled with peril. We bet our houses with every blog post, and eventually the law of large numbers starts working against us. The risks are even greater for bloggers covering legal topics. By definition, we routinely cover people who are prepared to mix it up in court. As a result, it’s almost inevitable that blawgers who keep at it long enough will get sued eventually.
Stephanie Migot writes in to let us know how UK law firm Wragge & Co has decided to set up a special “cyber tracing” team, whose job it will be to scour the internet for anyone making negative anonymous comments about any of their clients and then take action.
Rupert Murdoch has confirmed that his company is unlikely to hit its June deadline for putting up paywalls around its newspaper websites.
The goal of any business, generally, is to be profitable. The simplest equation for a successful business is to sell something for more than it cost you to produce. The more of that you can do, the more successful you are. However, markets change all the time and a strong business responds to that change to maximize its long term profits.
But when it comes to the entertainment industry there’s an odd dynamic at work. It seems more important to punish those involved in the changing market, rather than focus on maximizing profit. Yet it does no good to punish people who will never buy if it doesn’t do anything to increase actual revenue.
Now Lucasfilm has brought an action in the Court of Appeal to try to prove that the Stormtrooper suits are sculptures and therefore works of art covered by the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act.
With the Lisbon Treaty being signed by all European Union member states, the Pirate Party has gained another seat in the European Parliament. The second Pirate Party seat will be occupied by the 22 year old Amelia Andersdotter, who will become the youngest Member of the European Parliament.
Summary: Microsoft “technical evangelist” (euphemism for AstroTurfer on the company’s payroll) appears to be operating some kind of bot programme that smears Boycott Novell
A CERTAIN pattern has gone on for far too long to be ignored. The target is Boycott Novell, so it ought to be finally brought up.
For those who require some background, we wrote about the subject several months ago when it had heated up greatly. We wrote about this in:
To tell the story very briefly, a Microsoft “technical evangelist” (TE) [1, 2, 3, 4] called Jonathan Wong came to this site with some “perception management” [1, 2], never revealing that he was a Microsoft employee until after he had been exposed. Then he wrote a post against us, quoting known anti-GNU/Linux people as a source of supposedly disgruntled people who have a problem with Boycott Novell. That was months ago. Since then, about a hundred times or more and almost at regular intervals, some Twitter accounts have been boosting his post. Here is an example just from the past few days:
See the similarity of the twits and the weird account names. In one case, two different accounts have the exact same avatar. This stream of twits has been going on like this for months. Those twits always come from accounts without a description and not a single person is following anyone else, which makes the characteristic of some kind of bot accounts. Jonathan Wong describes himself as “… a social media aficionado who loves to use social media tools to
procrastinate optimize his own personal information stream.” Maybe this is why Microsoft hired him. █
More on Microsoft in Twitter
Picture by SubSonica
Summary: A not-so-alarmist post pointing to news about attempts to embrace and extend “Open Source” (mostly by Microsoft)
HARDCORE proprietary software companies like Microsoft and its educational pet Blackboard want to defend their proprietary dominance while pretending to be everything and everyone in every simple camp. This also means pretending to be players in “Open Source”, in ODF, and in social causes.
Dana Blankenhorn correctly points out what we warned about twice in recent days not because Blackboard is suing competitors using software patents [1, 2, 3] but because it is trying to embrace and extend its Free software rivals, just as Microsoft does.
Anyone seeking a case study of how a proprietary software company can “embrace and extend” itself into the open source world should stop thinking Microsoft and start thinking Blackboard.
Here in a new press release we find out how SharePoint, which is losing some of its luster [1, 2], tries to portray itself as “open” in the form of plugins (that’s what the CodePlex joke is all about — extensions to Microsoft cash cows). The press release describes a product as “a free and open-source component for Microsoft’s SharePoint Enterprise Collaboration Platform.” The dash in “open-source” is probably deliberate and “free” would almost certainly not refer to the 4 freedoms. Only yesterday we showed an example in OpenX. It signed a deal with Microsoft — a deal which is exploited using deceiving headlines which do not reflect on the nature of this relationship at all. It only glorifies Microsoft and misrepresents where it’s possible.
“It’s akin to situations where AstroTurf/lobbying groups manage to receive “fair coverage” and interject their masters’ views into the press in order to pollute messages and misrepresent public opinion.”Speaking of spin or deception, we have just found CodePlex described as “Microsoft-backed open source group”; well, it is just a Microsoft drone funded by Microsoft alone in order to serve Microsoft. This report is being spread around various IDG Web sites, permitting Microsoft to do its PR. It’s akin to situations where AstroTurf/lobbying groups manage to receive “fair coverage” and interject their masters’ views into the press in order to pollute messages and misrepresent public opinion.
All of this PR is intended to help Microsoft embrace and extend “Open Source” a lot more rapidly. Here is Microsoft speaking the language of money to buy influence in Apache again. This week’s Apache payola is merely continuation of a tactic which we wrote about in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17].
Part of Microsoft’s fake affairs with “open source” is to do with Novell. Following the layoffs yesterday (Microsoft had some too), Novell does not receive sympathy from the GNU/Linux community. From the newer comments in Matt Asay’s seminal post:
As for their [Novell's] Linux business. Because of their partnership with Microsoft I wouldn’t touch them with a 10 foot pole. I’m guessing that anyone else that doesn’t want to have anything to do with Microsoft feels the same way. If not, why would they not just stick with Windows? Yes I know a few reasons by that would be the only people I know that would go with Novell. Everyone else that wants to use Linux and not Microsoft is steering clear of Novell.
CIOL wrote some more about Novell’s layoffs.
WALTHAM, USA: Novell, Inc., which delivers interoperable Linux platform and a portfolio of integrated IT management software, has recently laid off over 100 people, said a Cnet report.
Citing “several sources within the company”, the report said that Novell has offered several months of severance pay, apparently based on the number of years with the company, among other factors.
In ComputerWorld UK, Tom Callway expresses concerns that with the examples given above there is clearly an attempt to dilute, diffuse, and deform “open source”, which means that a triumph of “open source” may actually mean victory for another form of non-Free, proprietary software like Novell’s [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].
The 21st century witnessed the phenomenal growth of a new movement, the free, open source software (FOSS) movement.
All of the developments described above over the last thirty years were the result of a paradigm elaborated by the twin drivers of business applying the ‘patents are profits’ model or doing things and Governments pursuing their defence and public control objectives.
The FOSS models offered something quite different – development by the community, for the community. However, what seems to be happening is that FOSS is simply becoming a cheaper and easier to develop stuff than previously done by proprietary-patented products.
In other words, bit by bit FOSS is being ‘proprietarised’ as it gets incorporated into situations and devices which exist solely to keep the current paradigm going. A open source smart phone is as boring as a proprietary one. A Linux embedded Cruise missile is a destructive as one would be with a Microsoft OS (but maybe more reliable).
It’s time to remember what the goals of Free software actually are. Too big a compromise means ending up right where you started, only pretending to have won an elusive battle with forever-moving goalposts. █
“That would be because we believe in Free Software and doing the right thing (a practice you appear to have given up on). Maybe it is time the term ‘open source’ also did the decent thing and died out with you.”
–Alan Cox to Eric Raymond
Summary: NY Attorney General targets Intel for its crimes that even Europe and Korea exposed this year; but why does Microsoft get a free pass for similar tactics, including with Intel?
New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against microprocessor maker Intel, alleging that the company engaged in a “systematic campaign” of illegal conduct to protect a monopoly.
Intel has already been found guilty in two continents this year [1, 2] (all those which actually investigated Intel). But Intel’s behaviour is not much different than Microsoft’s. On Intel-Microsoft collusion, as well as kickbacks with OEMs, we previously wrote in:
There are many more posts about this subject and they go into great detail, typically showing how Microsoft and Intel engaged in illegal activities to control prices, to control inventories, to prevent consumer choice, and even to kill charitable projects like OLPC. There is abundant evidence to show this, but evidence is not always enough to get regulators eager enough to react. With billions of dollars at stake, companies like Intel and Microsoft surround regulators by lobbyists.
“[P]unishment for Intel may mean that Microsoft is next and a conviction is likely easy to achieve.”Some months ago we saw a front group of Microsoft (ACT) defending Intel in Europe because of the implications for Microsoft. As we explained back then, punishment for Intel may mean that Microsoft is next and a conviction is likely easy to achieve. Microsoft is still under investigation in Europe.
“Kickbacks” is the word one of our readers uses to describe what Intel relied on. “Intel gave Dell $6 billion dollars in kickbacks over five years,” he adds. “Sometimes the kickbacks were the largest source of profit to Dell, accounting for more than 1/3 of their earnings in some quarters. IBM and HP were also paid off and all but AMD reaped the rewards of high margins through collusion. Vendors who offered AMD chips would be denied hundreds of millions of dollars in “rebate” money.”
The links he gives are:
• Wall Street Journal: Dell Got $6B Via Secret Intel Pact
• BusinessWeek: Intel-Dell Dealings Under Fire
Those Dell kickbacks are not news by the way. Boycott Novell wrote about them over two years ago.
“Dell also locked in a lot of private and government monopolies in the same years,” our reader says. “State governments, for example, signed exclusive deals with Dell, barring all other vendors from consideration. [University] Researchers had to prove special needs to buy anything else.”
Does that sound familiar?
“Barring all other vendors from consideration…”
Well, Microsoft engages in the same tactics, which are illegal. One country which is affected by it is Hungary. For some background:
eWeek Europe has a report from Hungary this week. It’s going under the headline “Ditch Microsoft, Save £269m Says Hungarian Open Source Group”
Despite a struggling economy and public debt, the Hungarian government continues to spend millions on Microsoft licences when cheaper alternatives exist, say open source groups
With governments across Europe including the UK looking to slash public spending to tackle budget deficits resulting from bank bail-outs and other effects of the recession, open source could be an important way to cut IT costs, according to free software advocates.
“Give me your tired, your poor…”
Summary: Open University is open to corporations; Microsoft is in too poor a state for long-term reliance
THE Microsoft-oriented [1, 2] Open University is one among many universities that make the appalling decision to outsource their staff’s (and students’) mail. It’s a certain laziness that leads to it because Free software makes cost not an issue at all. Microsoft views this as an opportunity to turn students into clients whose personal messages are shared with Microsoft for mining/profiling, advertising, and long-term lock-in.
Niall Sclater, the OU’s director of learning innovation, told GC News that the university will shortly be taking a decision about whether to deploy Google Apps or Microsoft Live@edu.
Neither is a good choice. If the Open University is truly open, then it will avoid both proprietary offerings and make use of Free/open source software like many sane universities do.
“If the Open University has “too big to fail” in mind, then it should avoid Microsoft.”What the IT staff is trying to do here is shift liability and move costs downwards and outwards. Downwards because users will pay the price of being prisoners of vendors; outwards because companies like Google/Microsoft cover the short-term costs in exchange for revenue that they then accumulate at the expense of users.
If the Open University has “too big to fail” in mind, then it should avoid Microsoft. Microsoft has just announced another round of layoffs (among others) and judging by its financial results in the past year or two, the company is in a downward spiral. The Open University may wish to take a look at Microsoft’s portfolio of dead products from the past year.
We were actually given some credit for reporting Microsoft layoffs well ahead of time; no other publication did so.
Before we go into the article it is worth mentioning that Boycott Novell reported the 800 job cuts way before the news hit the mainstream media. Detractors to the BN website may like to consider that fact.
“There is such an overvaluation of technology stocks that it is absurd. I would include our stock in that category. It is bad for the long-term worth of the economy.”
Summary: Microsoft’s slanderous claims about the popularity of GNU/Linux are echoed by its crowd and refuted by professionals
OUR readers ‘Goblin’ and David Gerard have just pointed out that Microsoft’s FUD regarding the sub-notebooks market is being refuted, just as it was before (Dell, for example, refuted this in August and Canonical did so too).
Reports that the Linux netbook is dead or dying are incorrect, at least globally, according to an analyst firm.
Nearly one-third of the 35 million netbooks on track to ship this year will come with some variant of the free, open-source operating system, ABI Research said. The exact split is 32% Linux versus 68% Windows, said Jeff Orr, an analyst at ABI, which works out to about 11 million Linux netbooks this year.
That number contradicts third-party market figures, trumpeted by Microsoft, that showed Linux shipping on as few as 4% of U.S. netbooks.
Dell claims that one in 3 sub-notebooks that it sells does in fact run Ubuntu. In Germany, which likes GNU/Linux, one source claimed that 40% ship with GNU/Linux (2008). Microsoft Jack [1, 2, 3] spreads the 4% lie, still. It’s part of those massive lies (selective US-only numbers for the most part) that have become so typical. Self-professed Windows guy and shameless Linux basher Alexander Wolfe, for instance, is back to his attacks on GNU/Linux, using invalid data [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].
Open source FUD is alive and kicking
The frequency with which such articles appear has lessened to a marked degree simply because people who pen them often end up being branded as fools.
I’ve been watching people trying to spread FUD about FOSS for the last 12 years and not one has succeeded. They’ve all been shot down in flames. Some of the hardy veterans who have been countering the FUD, people like the erudite David F. Skoll of the Canadian company Roaring Penguin, are still around and still firing back.
In the age of free information and open access, lies are more difficult to get away with. █
“Forty percent of servers run Windows, 60 percent run Linux…”
–Steve Ballmer (September 2008)
Summary: Security news reveals high vulnerability levels in Vista 7, shoddy patching practices, more problems
Sophos has produced results from some tests which confirm that Vista 7 is as insecure as predecessors.
Out-of-the-box Windows 7 machines are still vulnerable to eight out of ten viruses, according to a test by security firm Sophos.
The experiment proves that the improved User Account Control (UAC) features built into Windows 7 are not enough and that additional anti-virus protection is still required. In fairness to Redmond, Microsoft crystal clear that anti-virus remains a necessary add-on to Windows PCs.
“80 percent of viruses love Windows 7″ says another headline.
According to one leading security research lab, Windows 7 is vulnerable to an astonishing 8 out of 10 viruses it was exposed to during testing. But wait a minute, just how astonishing is this, really?
Oh, and, this just in, Microsoft recently issued a fix to a Microsoft Office patch from August that could let someone take over your computer . My goodness, it’s no wonder that some companies have staffers that do nothing but try to keep on top of Microsoft’s patches, and re-patches, and re-re- well you get the idea.
As for me, I’d rather spend my time working with my Linux programs rather working on my Windows programs. At least with Linux when something is fixed, chances are, it’s really fixed.
The fight against banking Trojans and phishing attacks has stepped up a gear with the launch of a new product on Wednesday targeted at securing online transactions.
“Spam will be a thing of the past in two years’ time.”
–Bill Gates, 2004
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