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11.06.09

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

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 06/11/2009: Great Mandriva 2010.0 Reviews; Thunderbird 3 RC Comes Soon

Posted in News Roundup at 8:12 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • GNU/Linux: Virtualbox for solving a common small business problem.

    We have all heard the GNU/Linux naysayers posit that, “No one will use Linux until (insert application name here) runs natively on Linux.” Other than the fact that this is almost pure hyperbole there is some kernel of truth there. This article demonstrates one solution.

  • DOS to UNIX/Linux Translation (DOS to Linux Cheat Sheet)

    The following are some of the most commonly used MS-DOS commands and its equivalent in Linux.

  • Too Much Love Will Kill You

    Given all the back-log of features to integrate, and the consequent knowledge that the current release of Hugin is short lived and a newer, better one is just around the corner, why put the effort to produce a Windows installer that will be obsolete soon? Of course ideally the installer should track closely the development, but it seems to be too much effort at the moment.

  • Mavizen’s Electric Motorcycle Has Built-In Wi-Fi, Linux
  • Mavizen’s all electric supermotorcycle for the TTXGP circuit is revealed

    The bike comes with an onboard computer running the Linux operating system, it has its own IP address and is Wi-Fi enabled with an embedded web server.

  • SEMA 2009: Mavizen introduces 130-mph TTX02 electric racebike

    How so? For starters, each machine is fitted with an dash-mounted computer that runs on Linux, comes with its own dedicated IP address, on-board web server and connectivity to wireless networks.

  • Too tired to tweet

    I’m a geek and I’m proud to say so. Not a putting together my own PC, using Linux and coding my own programs sort of geek, but a technology-loving and appreciating sort of geek.

  • Ex-MSFT Employee: Microsoft Should Run Linux

    “I think we could all be running Microsoft Linux. I sent an e-mail to Steve Ballmer about this and he said he wasn’t interested,” he quipped in a NetworkWorld story. “Microsoft could very easily dominate the Linux market if they wanted to. I don’t think they should release all their source code … nobody would use it.”

  • Linux Journal Contents #188, December 2009

    If last month’s Infrastrucuture issue was too “big” for you then try on this month’s Embedded issue. Find out how to use Player for programming mobile robots, build a humidity controller for your root cellar, find out how to reduce the boot time of your embedded system, and if you’re new to embedded systems find out the basics that go into one. You can also read about the Beagle Board, the Mesh Potato and a spate of other interestingly named items. And along with our regular columns don’t miss our new monthly column: Economy Size Geek.

  • Desktop

    • Too Much Netbook For Too Litl?

      A Boston-based startup named Litl is taking a big risk: they’re betting people will go for a netbook that sports a Linux-based OS and focuses on Web-/network-based productivity (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). The risk is in the pricetag: $700 — almost twice the price of computers that can do twice as much. Is there a market for this?

    • Activation Frustration? Not With Linux!

      With Linux, you’ll have a free, open source system that will never ask for an activation code or lock you out. You’ll have a wonderful desktop environment with thousands of programs and a welcoming and friendly community of users who will help you get up and running.

    • And windows shoots itself in the foot, again.

      This morning we arrived at work and immediately reports of outlook not working and shares are unable to be connected to started flooding in. I tried connecting to the server, I couldn’t. I tried pinging the server, no response. I actually had to get out of my chair (GASP!!!) and physically walk over to the server (a whole five meters) to log in. Can you believe that?!?

      Logging into the server everything looked normal. It reported a healthy network connection. All services looked to be running. Yet…..The server could not communicate with the network at all. Nothing, zip, zilch. Remembering about the approved patches, I manually applied the remaining pending patches and allowed the server to restart (sigh). All the while fielding angry telephone calls from people because they couldn’t get their lolcat emails. After an eternity the server rebooted and everything started working again. I could ping, it could ping and everybody could ping, ping.

      [...]

      For low and stable blood pressure, to reduce workplace tension and prevent stress related diseases, use Linux :)

    • GNU/Linux: Virtualbox for solving a common small business problem.

      We have all heard the GNU/Linux naysayers posit that, “No one will use Linux until (insert application name here) runs natively on Linux.” Other than the fact that this is almost pure hyperbole there is some kernel of truth there. This article demonstrates one solution.

  • Server

    • At what point do servers become HPC beasts?

      The lines between big servers used for general purpose computing and high performance computers are blurring: received wisdom is that the technologies are commoditising and coalescing around x86, Linux clustering and virtualization. But does this chime with reality? To many, Linux clusters are still a black art – is this an opportunity for Johny-come-lately Microsoft. Is it really over for Unix platforms and non x86 chips? Where do IBM mainframes sit?

  • Kernel Space

    • X Server 1.7.2 Is A Step Closer To Release

      At the end of October X Server 1.7.1 was released and at that time Peter Hutterer had said that the 1.7.2 build should arrive in about five weeks. It hasn’t been five weeks yet, but it looks like he’s still on track to delivering this bug-fix release on time or earlier. Peter has just announced the first pre-1.7.2 development release.

    • NVIDIA Prepares 195.xx Linux Driver, Carries Fermi Support

      It was just last week that NVIDIA had finally released a stable 190.xx Linux driver after this driver series had been in beta for months. The 190.xx driver series brought new hardware support, OpenGL 3.2 support, VDPAU improvements, and a fair amount of other changes. However, NVIDIA is now in the process of readying the 195.xx Linux driver series.

    • Testing the Nouveau Driver on Ubuntu

      A build of the nouveau video driver for nVidia cards was included in the Ubuntu repositories beginning with Jaunty. I’ve been meaning to test it for a while, and finally found some hardware recently to give it a shot.

    • Linux-Kongress 2009: New filesystems, optimised programming

      Prominent open source personalities presented a host of information about current and future developments in Linux at the Linux-Kongress 2009 conference. This time, filesystems were discussed in several presentations. Among the topics were the advantages of Ext4 and Btrfs, fast Ext4 filesystem checks, and kernel and userspace tricks for minimising the time-consuming movements of read/write heads, all of which can speed up some tasks by several orders of magnitude!

    • News : ATI Drivers 9.10 Working with 2.6.30+ Kernels

      The good thing about this version is that a lot of people are reporting that they can get it working on 2.6.30+ kernels. These drivers are lifesaver for people want to keep everything upto date. The corruption around cursor is still present while watching videos or with compiz enabled.

  • Applications

    • Amaya: A Simple, Yet Useful Alternative to Dreamweaver

      Amaya is a quick and neat HTMl editor. I couldn’t find any issues, except that it needs to keep up with the new technologies. For instance, it isn’t made to build smartphones apps, which I saw in other free HTML editors. It also doesn’t support Ajax, which is being used more and more.

      When it comes to features, Amaya is definitely not on par with Dreamweaver, but if you are looking for a free, simple, and useful HTML editor, then Amaya is a good candidate.

  • Games

    • My Linux Gaming Experience

      As you can see its a fair size list of games. These are just the ones I play personally there are many more than run just fine under Linux. Check out the Wine Applications Database to see how well others fare with various applications.

  • Desktop Environments

    • KDE

      • KDE makes me happy

        I’ll be honest, I’m surprising myself by not returning to Openbox. I’m still running Chakra with KDE, and I still love it. It needs a couple extra seconds to boot, but afterwards it feels just as fast as Openbox. More specific, applications feel as fast in KDE as they do in Openbox. Of course, Dolphin is slower than Thunar, Kate slower than Leafpad, etc, but Emesene, Firefox, Transmission, and all the other applications I normally use feel just as fast.

      • Akonadi sprint 2009/10

        Ever since I began to work on KDE PIM (porting Akregator to Akonadi) as a Google SoC student I’ve wanted to start blogging about it but unfortunately never had the time for it. Now thanks to swine flu I caught recently I can get some rest and look back at the past few years.

      • Gwenview Importer

        I have been quite quiet on Gwenview front lately, getting a job which does not involve two hours in a train everyday and becoming a father for the second time apparently does not help to find free time to hack (how surprising!)

      • Kubuntu Notification Helper

        This is one of the first developing fruits that developed under the guidance of the Project Timelord roadmap. But before I talk about Kubuntu Notification Helper, I should give a little history about its predecessor, Update Notifier KDE.

  • Distributions

    • 9 Free Linux Distributions: A Linux Free For All

      Have you searched for Linux distributions that are 100% free? Did you find more than one that suited your needs? Well, here’s a list of nine from which you can choose your favorite. Free means freedom to alter, redistribute, sell or release as a different product with no restrictions on you or your new distribution.

    • Moblin

    • Mandriva

      • Mandriva Linux 2010.0 Released

        Mandriva 2010.0, or “Adelie” if you prefer to use its codename, promises to be snappier than previous versions, including faster boot times. It’s built around the Linux 2.6.31 kernel, which means improved hardware support as well, and the feature-list unrolls from there.

      • Mandriva 2010 packs a punch

        One of the more interesting features of Mandriva 2010, albeit early days, is the focus on what is being called the “task-orientated desktop”. Mandriva 2010 includes several Nepomuk services which help users to manage tasks across all applications. Using the task widget and the Tasktop application users can group items – such as emails, notes, web pages and so on – together around specific tasks.

      • Mandriva Linux 2010 Review and Commentary

        Exploring further, we see the control center has seen some changes and has a nice clean new layout. Another one of Mandriva’s strong suits is there control center and it’s integrated applications. All work very well and make for a nice overall experience for the end user. We quite like the layout and the organization they’ve put into this release.

      • Quick Review: Mandriva 2010 – Impressive

        Altogether Mandriva seems to have a good interface and a lot going for it beneath the surface. Perhaps the only annoying part about it is it has a very commercial feel and comes with links on the desktop offering Mandriva products.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • SimplyMEPIS 8.0.12 Maintenance Release

        MEPIS LLC has released SimplyMEPIS 8.0.12, an update to the community edition of MEPIS 8.0. The ISO files for 32 and 64 bit processors are SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.0.12-rel_32.iso and SimplyMEPIS-CD_8.0.12-rel_64.iso.

      • Another push for netbooks in Africa

        Usually when I’m writing about netbooks in Africa, they are coming from OLPC or a local OEM selling Intel Classmates. Now, however, IBM and Canonical (the company that brings us Ubuntu) are bringing a different strategy to the emerging African market. By using cheap netbooks running Ubuntu, coupled with IBM’s cloud computing platforms, businesses that could not otherwise afford computers for each of their employees will have access to really inexpensive computing.

      • Ubuntu: the complete beginner’s guide

        It looks and feels a lot like Windows (more or less), but, being very lightweight, it runs very quickly, and – especially if you mainly use the computer to browse the web – it’s a really great way of giving an older machine a new lease of life.

        We thought we’d compile a beginner’s guide to installing it. The main thing is: don’t be afraid. It’s much easier than you think. And the satisfaction once you’ve done it is…well, you be the judge. But we were punching the air for hours.

      • Customize Ubuntu 9.10′s Grub Boot Screen

        Grub2, the new boot menu installed by default with Ubuntu 9.10, can still look pretty old-school ugly if your tastes don’t run with white terminal text on black. You can, however, customize its resolution, images, colors, and other aspects.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • TonidoPlug: Your Personal Cloud Server in a Plug

      Tonido is a free software that turns your desktop into a personal server and allows you to access and share your files, media, calendar and apps from everywhere. Be it Windows, Mac or Linux, you simply install the software and have your own personal cloud server up and running in no time. Forget all the complicated stuffs you have heard about creating your own server. There are no technical skills required to set up and run Tonido. The best thing is – all the data resides in your own computer and there is no need to worry about security or even data loss (unless your own computer crashes).

    • Build a Silent, Standalone XBMC Media Center On the Cheap

      You won’t find a better media center than the open-source XBMC, but most people don’t have the space or desire to plug a noisy PC into their TV. Instead, I converted a cheap nettop into a standalone XBMC set-top box. Here’s how.

    • Hands-on: OpenMoko WikiReader is simple, appealing

      OpenMoko’s WikiReader is a unique gadget with a single function. The simple handheld device stores the text of over 3 million Wikipedia entries, enabling convenient offline access to the popular Internet encyclopedia. We have conducted some hands-on testing with the new product and found it to be surprisingly compelling despite its limitations.

    • Wireless Cortex-A8 module supports Linux

      Digi International announced a Linux-compatible ARM Cortex-A8-based module that supports 802.11n WiFi. Built around a Freescale i.MX51 SoC (system on chip), the ConnectCore Wi-MX51 includes up to 1GB of RAM and 8GB of flash storage, wireless networking, touchscreen support, and a variety of other interfaces, the company says.

    • Android

      • I’m in love with an eight megapixel Android

        Now that’s what I call an Android phone. Actually, that’s what I call an Android phone that might just kick some iPhone ass.

        The Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 social networking phone is Android powered and feature rich. How rich? Well, how does 1GB RAM plus 16Gb of flash storage and a stunning 8.1 megapixel camera that comes complete with a geo-tagging function strike you?

      • Android Mythbusters (Matt Porter)

        Some weeks ago I was attending Embedded Linux Conference Europe. My personal highlight at this event was the excellent Android Mythbusters presentation given by Matt Porter.

        As you may know, Matt Porter was heavily involved in the MIPS and PPC ports of Android, so he and his team have seen the lowest levels of Android, more and deeper than even cellphone manufacturers ever have to look into it.

        The slides of his presentation are now available for download. I would personally recommend this as mandatory reading material for everyone who has some interest in Android.

        The presentation explains in detail why Android is not what most people refer to when they say Linux. What most people mean when they say Linux is the GNU/Linux system with it’s standard userspace tools, not only the kernel.

      • Vint Cerf mods Android for interplanetary interwebs

        The ultimate goal – at least for Cerf – is to bring the protocol to our earth’s everyday wireless networks. The protocol, he says, has already been added to Google’s Android open source mobile stack as an application platform – ie it sits on top of the OS.

      • Why the Droid Eris is not running Android 2.0

        Another day, another Android phone. I believe we will soon come to a day when Android phones will be looked at with the same jaundiced eye as, say, the latest LG Chocolate, but since that day hasn’t come, I’ll share a few observations with Verizon’s new $99 Hero-alike, the Eris.

    • Nokia

      • Nokia N900 priced for 16th November launch

        The Nokia N900 looks like being the QWERTY success story of the season, as anticipation for this Maemo 5 handset seems to be almost at fever pitch. While initially intended for an October launch, it looks like the Nokia N900 will be shipping on the 16th November and what’s more, it’ll be cheaper than expected. Find out about the Nokia N900 being priced for 16th November launch after the jump..

      • Hands On: Nokia N900 – A Good Cheap Option?

        Nokia’s Linux-based N900 looks to be shaping up as the comapny’s real competition in the next generation of smartphones – and it seems like it may be going for the low-price slot.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 Shines Bright

        UNR represents a solid step forward for netbook users. It provides anyone familiar with Ubuntu the same basic commands and applications you’ll find in the desktop addition. It also makes it a snap to sync your key files between your main machine and a second (or third) painlessly. In contrast, Moblin caters to the mobile user interested in quick access to their favorite applications coupled with a quick boot time. Both do what they do well and should meet the basic needs of most any netbook user.

      • Linux is becoming the king of netbooks

        What will be critical for Linux is the rise of netbooks that run on ARM processors. As the sales of these increase, Orr predicts Linux will overtake Windows on netbooks by 2013.

      • Technoholik: Demystifying nettops and netbooks

        Although I loved the tiny size and the portability, it was a nightmare typing on the cramped keyboard and installing additional programs made the Windows XP grind to a snail’s pace. After six months, half the screen went dead so I unscrewed the display, connected the keyboard to a spare monitor and thus converted my netbook into a nettop! And oh, I recently installed Ubuntu, (an operating system based on Linux) on it and it’s running like a dream.

      • New Generation of Netbooks: $199 and $299, Eight Hour Battery & Sexy Design

        Freescale and Pegatron are ushering a new generation of netbooks that will combine excellent battery life, good looks and low cost. The two partners are hoping to bring the ARM-based netbook to market within the next few months under the flagship of a major OEM at a retail price of $199 to $299.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Microsoft Exchange alternatives

    Horde is not traditionally marketed as an Exchange alternative but thanks to its extensive base it is perhaps the most feature-rich platform around.
    Horde is essentially a PHP framework which can do just about anything from email to contact lists, shared calendaring to task lists. The Horde framework provides the basic platform and the various modules add in wanted features.

  • Open-sourcers promise cloud elephant won’t trample your code

    Avro is expressive. It’s small. And it’s fast. Under Avro, schema is stored with data but is also factored out of instances. Arbitrary code types can be read and written without generating and loading the code.

    Furthermore, Avro includes a file format, textural encoding for data that handles versioning. An Avro RPC framework, meanwhile, is being build that’ll talk to native languages, so these languages no longer need to converse with Hadoop through Java.

  • Eucalyptus Systems Releases First Major Update of the Open Source Eucalyptus Private Cloud Platform

    This news follows the company’s announcement last week that Eucalyptus software is the engine behind the Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC), a new cloud computing solution packaged in the latest version of the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution. UEC powered by Eucalyptus will ship with every copy of Ubuntu 9.10 Server Edition, which is available now at www.ubuntu.com.

  • Top 10 Issues Confronting Users of Open Source
  • Enterprise edition of RiverMuse fault management released

    The open source fault management company Rivermuse have announced the availability of RiverMuse ES, an enterprise supported version of the RiverMuse Core, the GPLv3 licensed free software version. Functionally, Core and ES are the same, but ES offers 8/5 support and indemnification.

  • Open-source Connect toolkit to embed meaningful use, HHS says

    HHS will update its Connect open-source interoperability toolkit to embed features that will help users achieve meaningful use of EMRs, a federal official says. The 2010 release of Connect also is expected to include functionality for states to conform to the Medicaid Information Technology Architecture (MITA), the plan for modernizing Medicaid information systems, according to Vish Sakaran, program director of the Federal Health Architecture in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.

  • The future’s bright, the future’s open

    Open source specialist, consultant and Harvard fellow David “Doc” Searls writes about why he believes openness has to be the future for mobile.

  • Distributed Science, Part 2

    Let’s take off the open source glasses. Making science isn’t like making software. Engineering foundations for distribution, for user hacking, for bringing more people into the system, these are the things that allowed open source to emerge in software. Good design choices, like separation of concerns, led us to the world of open source software. Let’s learn from those lessons and build the foundations first, and let the science surprise us with the way it localizes distributed and user driven innovation.

  • Sixthsense interface to go open source

    MIT Media Lab’s Pranab Mistry demonstrated the latest version of his Sixth-Sense wearable gesture interface at the TEDIndia conference on Thursday, where he showed how it could be used to compute using just a piece of paper. Sixthsense was first presented by Mistry at a TED conference in February 2009.

  • France 24 migrates to Drupal 6, codebase to be open-sourced

    France 24 is a public 24/7 international news channel broadcast in three languages: French, English and Arabic. Its mission is to cover international current events from a French perspective and to convey French values throughout the world. The channel provides keys to understanding complex events through in-depth analysis. France 24 also puts culture at the forefront of its programming. France24 is part of the AEF (the “Audiovisuel Extérieur de la France” or French foreign media), along with RFI (a radio station) and TV5 (a TV station).

  • Molding a career in Open Source

    Baheyeldin began by contrasting the different development models in the Open Source and commercial worlds. Obviously, the Open Source world can be faster and more agile. He also offered another contrast — with Open Source, everyone wins: the customer, the consultant, and the community.

  • Jaspersoft Joins Open Source Software Institute

    Jaspersoft, provider of the world’s most widely used business intelligence (BI) software, today announced that it is joining the Open Source Software Institute (OSSI) to support its mission of extending the benefits of open source software to government agencies and academic organizations. Paul Loeffler, director of government programs at Jaspersoft, is joining the OSSI Advisory Board.

  • OpenOffice.org

    • Lesser Known, But Very Helpful Features in OpenOffice.org Writer

      Anyone using Linux (or any operating system for that matter) should know about the OpenOffice.org office suite. This suite of tools serve as the open source equivalent to Microsoft Office and does so with ease and full functionality. OpenOffice.org Writer works very similarly to Microsoft Word. If you compare basic features to basic features, you will find little difference in the two pieces of software. But when you really start getting down to business, you will find there are features tucked away in this software that you may not have known existed. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of these lesser known features so that you can begin to employ and enjoy. So, without further adieu, on with the features.

    • Conversion examples between OpenOffice.org and Microsoft Office
  • Google

  • Mozilla

    • Thunderbird 3 RC out Monday

      THE OPEN SOURCE Mozilla Foundation is set to release the first Release Candidate of its email client Thunderbird 3 early next week.

      Big cheeses at Mozzarella say that RC 1 of Thunderbird 3 will be available for download as soon as Monday, with the final version expected later in November.

    • Near-final Thunderbird 3 due next week

      Thunderbird 3, an update to the e-mail software that Mozilla hopes will give it some of the advantages its Firefox browser has enjoyed, is due to arrive in near-final form next week.

    • Midterm Report on Firefox 3.6

      The first beta is a bit behind schedule (first beta was scheduled for early September), but it’s looking pretty solid.

    • Firefox and Chrome updates spike stability bugs

      Firefox 3.5.5, which comes only a week after the release of 3.5.4, addressed a start-up crash problem and crashes in the GIF image decoder of the open source browser, among other bugs (as explained here). The flaws create a possible means to crash browser with malformed code on websites but their main importance is as an irritation that impairs users ability to surf the web without irksome browser crashes.

    • Firefox 3.5.5 stability update now available for download
  • Business

  • Government

    • Letter to The President: # 4

      Under her leadership, that institution has stood in defense of free and open source software (FOSS) and has served to introduce the larger portion of the general public to the existence of FOSS and its (FOSS’) viability as a business model.

      Still on the topic of free software, a major event announcement was made involving global IT giant IBM, Canonical, the company behind the most popular and fastest growing distribution (Ubuntu) of the Linux operating system and other partners. They launched a Cloud- and Linux-based Netbook Software in Africa. Described as a “flexible personal computing software package for netbooks and other thin client devices to help businesses in Africa bridge the digital divide by leapfrogging traditional PCs and proprietary software”, the bundle is the first cloud- and Linux-based offering from IBM and Canonical. The initiative targets the rising market for netbooks.

    • Defense: Open source software is more secure than commercial code

      Open source software, freely available program code that the public can download and modify, which many agencies avoid because they view it as a security risk, is often more secure than the alternatives that are commercially developed, a top Defense Department official said on Thursday.

    • Open Source Progress in Malaysia

      Here are some stunning facts that were published at the end of July in Malaysia:

      More than 70 percent of Malaysian government offices are running open source software, according to figures released by the country’s Open Source Competency Centre.

      The centre was established as part of the 2004 Malaysian Public Sector OSS Master Plan, to guide and co-ordinate the implementation of OSS in the public sector.

      The latest OSS adoption figures, released on 24 July, show that 521 of the country’s 724 public sector agencies (72 per cent) have adopted OSS. This is a significant increase from 354 agencies (49 percent) in 2008 and 163 (22.5 per cent) in 2007.

  • Programming

    • Perl far from dead, more popular than you think

      Perl has been around since 1987 and became an early darling of web developers. These days, however, you don’t hear much about Perl. Everyone seems to be talking about trendier languages like PHP, Python and Ruby, with Perl left in the back as a neglected, not-so-hip cousin.

      [...]

      In short, Perl is alive and kicking. A new version, Perl 6, is on its way but still under development. Although Perl may never recapture its glory days of the early Web in the ‘90s, it isn’t dying on us anytime soon. It has become the gray-haired distinguished old gentleman next to the young hotheads like Python and PHP.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Another Protocol Bites The Dust

      For the last 6 weeks or so, a bunch of us have been working on a really serious issue in SSL. In short, a man-in-the-middle can use SSL renegotiation to inject an arbitrary prefix into any SSL session, undetected by either end.

Leftovers

  • Elections system pulled from IBM data center contract

    IBM Corp.’s failure to protect state information under an $863 million data center consolidation contract has prompted the Texas secretary of state’s office to pull its elections system from the project.

  • Prosecutors: We can frame you with impunity

    Prosecutors trying to put you in prison for a crime you didn’t commit can fabricate evidence, coerce witnesses into lying on the stand, and enjoy absolute immunity. They cannot go to prison. They cannot even be sued. They aren’t even likely to get so much as a reprimand from the bar association or from their bosses, even after publicly admitting to framing you.

  • Skype founders drop licence threat against eBay

    A legal row that threatened the existence of Skype has been settled, with the free net phone service’s founders regaining a significant portion of the firm from eBay.

    Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis will get 14 per cent of Skype and seats on its board under the deal, announced today.

  • Finance

    • Exclusive: Sanders Tackles Too Big To Fail In Two Pages

      The Vermont Democrat-Socialist unveiled the “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act” — which he billed as a succinct remedy for tackling financial risk and avoiding a repeat of the taxpayer-funded bailouts that occurred just one year ago.

    • NY insider trading scandal widens, 14 more charged

      Subsequent to the charges, Bob Moffat, who used to run IBM’s server, storage and chip business, stepped down. As El Reg goes to press, charges have not been filed against Hector Ruiz, the chairman of AMD chip spinout GlobalFoundries who has been rumored to be the unnamed executive who gave out information about the spinout of the chip business and who this week stepped down as chairman of that company.

    • New York Businesses Get H1N1 Vaccine

      Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, and other large city employers have started receiving small quantities of swine flu vaccine for high-risk employees

    • AIG Only Wanted to Give Goldman Sachs 60 Cents on the Dollar, Then Geithner Stepped In

      Thanks to Bloomberg News, we now have a good idea how much of that $13 billion pass-through bailout Goldman Sachs got from AIG last year was pure taxpayer-financed gravy: $5.2 billion, courtesy Tim Geithner.

      [...]

      Then a funny thing happened: The New York Fed opened an $85 billion credit line for AIG, staving off bankruptcy with a massive influx of taxpayer dollars and effectively taking control of the insurer. Habayeb was pushed aside as chief negotiator with Goldman and the other banks on the issue of how much AIG owed for those swaps and replaced by Tim Geithner, then the chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York…

    • Goldman One-Ups Gordon Gekko, Says Jesus Embraced Greed

      I didn’t believe this story was true at first — thought it had to be a spoof. But it turns out to be true. The great banks of the world have gone on a p.r. counteroffensive in Europe, and are sending spokescrooks in shiny suits into churches to persuade the masses that Christ would have approved of the latest round of obscene bonuses.

    • Goldman Whistleblower Nomi Prins Talks Banking Heist With Tavis Smiley

      You know Nomi. The former Goldman Managing Director turned journalist-author is a whistleblower of sorts, who seems to relish spitting in the face of the Vampire Squid. Just who gets busted in this clip? That would be Larry Summers, Tim Geithner, Bernanke and Paulson, for starters. This one is enjoyable. We have the transcript and video. Runs 8 minutes.

  • AstroTurf

    • Medicare Drug Planners Now Lobbyists, With Billions at Stake

      Today, at least 25 of those key players are back, but this time they’re lobbyists, trying to persuade their former colleagues to protect the lucrative system during the health care reform negotiations.

    • Newsweek Is Neck Deep in Oil & Conflicts

      TPM Muckraker has exposed the fact that Newsweek is teaming up with the American Petroleum Institute (API) to host a “briefing” for Members of Congress on climate and energy policy. The briefing is timed to coincide with, surprise, the Senate getting ready to take up climate and energy policy in advance of next month’s COP15 world conference on global warming policy.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Tim Wu on Deep Packet Inspection
    • The Importance of an Open Internet

      How important is the net neutrality issue? Put yourself in a world where you were charged more for the amount of data that comes in and out of your system. Now imagine how free and open Linux development would occur in such a world.

    • Congress may require ISPs to block fraud sites

      For the last decade or so, Internet service providers have been dealing with requests to block access to pornographic or copyright-infringing Web sites, or in China, ones that dare to criticize the government.

    • Perfect Pitch Accused Of DMCA Abuse To Censor Criticism

      Michael Scott points us to yet another (yes, another) case of copyfraud, where someone sends a DMCA takedown notice to stop criticism, rather than actual infringement. In this case, the party accused of misusing the DMCA in this manner (which is illegal) is whoever is behind the website PerfectPitch.com, who offers a fee-based training program that is supposed to help people learn to have (surprise, surprise) perfect pitch.

    • Auditor General Wields Crown Copyright To Demand Takedown

      Crown copyright concerns were raised repeatedly during this summer’s copyright consultation as many groups expressed the view that government works should be treated as public domain. The issue generated some surprise from Industry Minister Tony Clement, who asked for examples about why crown copyright was a problem.

    • Warner Brothers to FCC: When We Say SOC Is Necessary, We Mean Not Necessary

      As the Selectable Output Control (SOC) battle continues here in Washington, Public Knowledge just sent a letter to the FCC pointing out that movie studios are doing some of the best work to show why SOC just doesn’t make sense.

    • FCC Poised To Let Hollywood Break Your TV And DVR

      Want to know why the MPAA got 60 Minutes to run its propaganda piece on movie piracy this week? Because it knew this fight was close to a deciding point, and a little moral panic might help tip it over the edge into Hollywood’s favor.

      For a while, the FCC has pushed back and refused to grant the movie studios an exemption in order to break your TV, but word is coming down that, despite promises to make decisions based on “evidence,” the FCC is ready to give in and let the MPAA break your TV and DVR in order to stop you from recording the movies it releases. Why? There’s no good reason at all, other than the administration’s cozy relationship with Hollywood these days. The industry’s own actions show that this will do nothing to make it easier for it to release movies earlier. The industry’s own claims show that it will do nothing to decrease piracy.

    • EU Breaks Deadlock in Debate Over Right to Internet Access

      After months of often bitter debate, European Union lawmakers reached agreement on how to preserve citizen’s rights to Internet access in a meeting that ended in the early hours of Thursday morning.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Why Do Canada And Europe Copyright Money?

      Finding the whole thing bizarre, but remembering that I have some Canadian currency from my last trip there, I checked — and, indeed, in tiny print in the lower right-hand corner, there is a copyright notice. And then… bonus. Tucked in with my Canadian cash was a 5 euro bill as well… and it also appears to have a copyright notice on it right at the top in the center (though, it’s tiny). I did a quick search, and indeed, it appears that the design of the euro is also covered by copyright with specific limitations on copying.

    • Court finds that answers to textbook questions are an infringing derivative work

      The Defendant allegedly sold answer to the Plaintiff’s engineering and accounting textbooks questions, via the internet. The answer sets were identical to the Plaintiff’s instructor’s solutions manuals. Uneventful simple case of copyright infringement? Such was not the case.

    • Ferrari Doesn’t Want Web Racing Simulation To Use Ferraris

      Lincoln Braun writes “I play an online web game. BATracer which is designed to simulate a number of racing series including Formula 1, LeMans, A1 Grand Prix, Ferrari Challenge, and more. This week, however, the owner of the site received a legal notice from Ferrari, ordering a cease & desist from using Ferrari cars. BATracer has somewhere between 2000 and 3000 active users, most of whom arrived at the site because of Formula 1. The letter by Ferrari has really annoyed many of the most passionate fans and they have lost a lot of goodwill.”

    • More on secret copyright treaty: your kids could go to jail for noncommercial music sharing

      Michael Geist sez, “According to the official agenda, in a few hours the Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement talks will continue on the Internet provisions and then move into the criminal provisions chapter. It is worth highlighting the ongoing criminal provisions as well. As previously leaked, the U.S. and Japan supplied the initial text for this chapter. Their proposal included extending criminal enforcement to both (1) cases of a commercial nature; and (2) cases involving significant willful copyright and trademark infringement even where there is no direct or indirect motivation of financial gain. In other words, non-commercial infringement could lead to criminal penalties. Plus, jail time for unauthorized camcording of films and even for fake DVD and CD packaging.”

    • ACTA Negotiations, Day Two: What’s On Tap

      As ACTA negotiators head into day two of the Seoul, Korea meetings, the global response to the Internet provisions in the chapter (the issue from day one) has been remarkable. Articles and postings from around the world (Germany, Italy, Sweden, UK, New Zealand, the Netherlands, U.S., Germany, Italy, Hungary, the Netherlands), coverage from some of the most popular websites (Gizmodo, ReadWriteWeb, TorrentFreak, BoingBoing, Slashdot), as well as expert commentary (EFF, Electronic Frontier Australia) has been swift and universally concerned with ACTA.

    • Record labels keep blaming P2P, but it’s a hard sell

      The IFPI is blasting a recent study showing that P2P users buy more music, but an EU Commissioner and a UK Parliamentary body both blame music labels for “much of the problem” with current P2P usage levels. The major labels couldn’t disagree more.

    • Lord Mandelson Wants Students To Get More Tech Education; Can We Start By Educating Him?

      Now, I’m all for more tech skills training in universities, but wouldn’t it be nice if Mandelson started by getting some tech skills training himself — including a basic understanding of why an IP address is not an accurate indicator of who is doing something online? Or, perhaps, an understanding of how BitTorrent actually works and a brief primer on encryption technologies….

    • Comcast Exec: We Need To Change Customer Behavior, Not Our Business Model

      The quotes really are quite stunning. Burke basically seems to be saying the focus needs to be on figuring out ways to get consumers to change, rather than changing to match what customers want. A business model based on going against what consumers want doesn’t seem likely to last that long.

    • Does the RIAA let defaulters off the hook?

      Judging by the number of times it has happened, plenty of accused file-swappers believe they’re better off not showing up to court than even talking to the RIAA—especially if the recording industry doesn’t bother to collect on the default judgments it eventually wins. Unfortunately for the file-swappers, it’s not true.

    • Google countersues in Android Specht-spat

      Google has come out fighting against Erich Specht who sued the search giant over the Android name, launching a countersuit demanding damages and “disgorgement of ill-gotten gains”.

Virtual Interfaces: When One IP Isn’t Enough


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

Gnote Would Fit Nicely in Ubuntu 10.04 (Default Install)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 8:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gnote vs Tomboy

Summary: One reader’s thoughts about the advantages of putting Gnote in the next release of Ubuntu GNU/Linux

FEDORA (Red Hat) has already promoted Gnote as a replacement for Tomboy and Jeremy Allison opines that Tomboy has no place in the default install, let alone the repositories [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

A reader has just sent us the following:

I notice that among the dependencies for Ubuntu [9.10], is a choice of Gnote or tomboy.

* There aren’t any interface reasons to use Tomboy over Gnote, since Gnote is a port of Tomboy to an open source programming language.

* There aren’t any performance reasons to use Tomboy over Gnote because Gnote is smaller and faster.

* There aren’t any packaging reasons, because Gnote has 15% fewer dependencies.

* There aren’t any licensing reasons, because of the obvious.

* There aren’t any developer reasons because C++ is ubiquitous and Microsoft Java imitation has virtually zero growth.

So, why has not Gnote replaced Tomboy on the CD?

Any answers to this question would be welcome, but it is really a rhetorical one in some people’s view.

Related posts:

Vice President of MSN AdCenter Rumoured Out, Microsoft Labour Moves Abroad, Microsoft Grasping Onto “Open Source”

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Servers at 8:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Considerable trouble inside Microsoft and a shift towards less expensive workforce is also accompanied by attempts to pollute the #1 competitor, Free software

MICROSOFT’S latest demoralising announcement (additional layoffs) has been covered quite widely and Boycott Novell was probably first to report it, thanks to comments from Mini-Microsoft’s blog (a reader alerted us about an insider leaking the date). After this latest round of layoffs one can find many more links in Mini-Microsoft’s blog, but more important are the many comments there, including a majority from employees. They love exposing their bosses and someone has suggested that Alex from MSN AdCenter is out. Another person says that “Alex is being “promoted” to become CTO of Microsoft’s Online Services Division.” Would this type of shuffle indicate that Microsoft’s Online Services Division lost or fired the former CTO? This does not bode well for Microsoft’s online ambitions. Other commenters indicate that Microsoft Learning suffers from the layoffs and that O'Reilly has something to do with it.

One commenter writes: “Joe Austin said it well as he was leaving to Juniper, the end is near as he pointed at the stars…”

Juniper is getting filled with former Microsoft employees [1, 2, 3, 4], including the company's current CEO.

“[Microsoft's] Joe Austin said it well as he was leaving to Juniper, the end is near as he pointed at the stars…”
      –Anonymous Microsoft employee (unverified)
Another interesting item that we found is this one which indicates that Microsoft lays off its British workforce at twice the pace as that of the world combined. We wrote about this before as it becomes rather clear that Microsoft prioritises workers where labour is cheaper.

Meanwhile we find that Microsoft is trying to catch up with the winning team, Free software. Likewise, which is partly run by former Microsoft folks like its VP of engineering, is trying to override Samba, implicitly marketing itself as better Samba than Samba. That’s some classic “embrace and extend”.

Several posts ago we wrote about Microsoft's Apache payola. Readers have privately mailed us with feedback about this and it was discussed in IRC yesterday because it’s possible that some people in Apache detest the sponsorship. £60,000 is nothing to sneeze at; it can buy a lot of influence inside the ASF, which is not a company. In ApacheCon 2009 they bragged about the fact that they cannot be bought, but although this is technically correct (Mozilla can tell a similar story), the role of money must never be discounted.

One of the strengths of Free software can be found in the LAMP stack that includes Apache. Free/libre CMS software typically sits at the top (e.g. WordPress or Drupal, which even the White House has just chosen). Microsoft is now preparing to release a “me too” CMS, dressed up as “open source” while pushing the whole proprietary Microsoft stack as a substitute for LAMP. Mary Jo Foley has the details:

Free Microsoft open-source content management app to get its debut next week

[...]

Microsoft released an alpha version of the Oxite source code, under the open-source Microsoft Public License (MS-Pl) in December 2008. At that time, the Softies described Oxite as a platform “built to take full advantage of ASP.NET MVC but broken into assemblies so that even ASP.NET WebForm developers can use the data backend and utility code, supports use of Visual Studio Team Suite (DB Pro, Test, etc.), and Background Services Architecture (sending trackbacks, emails, etc. all done as a background process to prevent delays on the web site itself).”

We wrote about Oxite one year ago.

Beach scenes in Suffolk England
Don’t let Microsoft sink Open Source with it

What Microsoft’s Brad Silverberg, Bill Gates, and Al Capone Have in Common

Posted in America, Antitrust, Bill Gates, Law, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites at 6:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gangster Rice Dodge Neon

Summary: Groklaw analyses the personal contributions of Brad Silverberg and Bill Gates to crimes against Novell

BACK in January we published the text of a Comes vs Microsoft exhibit [PDF] whose page can be found here. Groklaw now has an analysis of it, which is nicely weaved together with news from the WordPerfect case.

Novell and Microsoft have each filed summary judgment motions in the antitrust litigation about WordPerfect that Novell brought against Microsoft. In addition, we find out what happened regarding the Bill Gates deposition. And neither party can find certain documents that might be in the Comes collection. I wonder if you can?

[...]

It has to do with whether or not Microsoft made certain APIs available, like IShellBrowser, iShellView, iPersistFolder, and iCommDlgBrowser. Novell says Microsoft decided to make those APIs private and iShellFolder a “read only public interface”, making it impossible for Novell to use the namespace extension mechanism or implement it in a customized fashion, so Novell software couldn’t rely on or invoke those APIs. The context is Windows 95 and NT, in the years between 1994 and 1996.

[...]

Update: The BoycottNovell folks have found one. We have it here also, on our Comes Exhibits page, Plaintiffs Exhibit 2158, which is an email from Microsoft’s Satoshi Nakajima, dated October 10, 1994.

[...]

An anonymous comment also mentions 4293 [PDF] (“the way to shut out novell in the base is to either ship a full client or make it so there is no network connectivity” and 5673 [PDF] (Gates, October 3, 1994: “It is time for a decision on IShellBrowser….I have decided that we should not publish these extensions. We should wait until we have a way to do a high level of integration that will be harder for likes of Notes, Wordperfect to achieve, and which will give Office a real advantage….Our goal is to have Office ’96 sell better because of the shell integration work…” To which Brad Silverberg wrote: “I will jump in — yes we have to take them out of marvel and capone too.”).

Brad Silverberg is not a particularly nice guy [1, 2] and he can probably be held accountable for many of Microsoft’s crimes that typically come from management, not ordinary programmers who merely follow instructions. Regarding the above article, one blogger argues that “many eyes means you cannot bury needle in haysack.” Therein we are given credit for work that our reader/contributor has done studying many exhibits; there are many new “smoking guns” yet to be unraveled and only lack of time is an obstruction right now. We could use help from readers.

Further discussion follows a similar line of explanation, as already pointed out in Groklaw comments, e.g. [1, 2]. It seems safe to say that Groklaw has glued together enough PDFs and any additional commentary can be spared. The antitrust exhibits speak for themselves.

In light of all this, the most astounding thing is that Novell pardoned Microsoft and became an ally just weeks after Ray Noorda had passed away.

Jim Allchin on Novell

Is Microsoft Planning a Coup in Brazil?

Posted in America, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 6:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Brazilian flag

Summary: Microsoft chooses to host teachers’ conference in the country whose schools are most hostile towards Windows

A COUPLE of months ago we wrote about Microsoft's "teachers" campaign, which curiously enough it took to Brazil. eWeek Europe has just published an update on that.

Amid calls from local authorities to use open source software and cut costs, Microsoft is holding a teachers’ conference in Brazil

There is more beneath the surface (see EDGI for instance). We wrote about this before as the location is not arbitrary. It must be part of the attempt to operate like a totalitarian regime and shoot down anything that may resemble a threat to Windows monoculture; in this case, Brazil is raising its next generation to be technologically independent owing to Free software, GNU/Linux included. They intend to put all 52,000,000 students on Debian GNU/Linux with KDE and Microsoft just can't let this be. Microsoft would love to paint this as a Red Threat.

“Linux sort of springs organically from the earth. And it had, you know, the characteristics of communism that people love so very, very much about it.”

Steve Ballmer

Microsoft Plays Ball in Europe

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft at 5:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s Courtois does his usual tours across Europe while the browser case he’s involved in never reaches a verdict, and thus benefits Microsoft

LAST week we wrote about Microsoft’s Courtois, if only just to show how he was meddling with the antitrust case in Europe, including the Web browsers conundrum which is about punishing Microsoft for illegal conduct, not just offering an opportunity to more companies. The illusion that the EU is trying to “take away” from Microsoft is nothing more than a Microsoft talking point, as the Commission does something that’s akin to fining a misbehaved person for robbery s/he committed.

A reader has sent us the following, adding that “ScienceBusiness is heavily sponsored by Microsoft.

Watch who takes the lead.

Courtois talk

Regarding the browsers case in Europe, the New York Times makes it clear that opposition remains to the EU Commission’s deal [1, 2].

Three rivals of Microsoft are seeking last-minute changes to its proposed settlement with European regulators that would give buyers of computers loaded with Windows the ability to choose a default browser other than the company’s Internet Explorer.
Skip to next paragraph

The changes — requested by Google, the designer of the Chrome browser, Mozilla, the creator of Firefox, and Opera — aim to ensure that Microsoft does not unfairly influence the decision, said Hakon Wium Lie, the chief technology officer of Opera, based in Oslo.

[...]

Opera also wants Microsoft to bar Windows from displaying its standard warnings when computer users download non-Microsoft software, in this case that of a rival browser, to their computer. Windows automatically displays warnings when users attempt to download non-Microsoft programs and applications. Another request is that the commission survey actual consumer use of the ballot screen — to ensure competition is being fostered — more frequently than after two years, which is in the current proposal.

For more information see:

Those poor deals — partly having Courtois responsible for them — are just buying Microsoft more time. It’s like a procrastination tactic Microsoft is so notorious for, especially in the context of antitrust action. By the time some form of compliance is finally reached, the agreements are out of touch and technical documentation — if any — is already well out of date, almost deprecated.

Vista 7 Sales Not Good, Microsoft Does Not Want to Talk About It

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 5:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

'For sale' sign

Summary: Microsoft insists on concentrating on just one distant country in order to hide the lukewarm response to Vista 7

TRUTH about Vista 7 be told, Steve Ballmer saw trouble coming. Back in August he realised that Vista 7 would not deliver what many hoped for in terms of market impact. Based on the latest words, his caution was justified.

The Inquirer analyses the language used and leaves no room for doubt:

Ballmer half heartedly talks up Windows 7

SHY AND RETIRING Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer seems to be having trouble finding something nice to say about Windows 7′s launch.

[...]

When hacks at ComputerWorld asked Ballmer how Windows 7 was doing, he said “er… its fantastic… er in Japan.”

“It is helping to spur PC sales… um… in Japan. We’ve had a great response… in Japan. The first ten days were bigger than the first ten days of XP or Vista or any other Windows launch that we have done… in Japan.”

What about sales outside Japan? The answer is so telling. There is one country in the world where the results were found to be satisfactory, so Ballmer just throws away the rest.

“Sales can (and will) be miscounted to give the impression of high demand.”Microsoft will soon artificially inflate numbers; Oiaohm told us about some tricks that allow it this time around. Sales can (and will) be miscounted to give the impression of high demand. In the case of Vista, buying an XP machine would count as one or two copies of Vista (double-dipping). In the “interests of shareholders” they just needed to lie.

A few days ago we showed that iPlayer supports GNU/Linux but not Vista 7, yet. That again is an example of Vista 7′s problems when it come to compatibility. According to this new article, there are more and more applications that run on GNU/Linux (and XP/Vista) but not on Vista 7. So why would companies take the risk of deploying Vista 7? They would not, show several independent surveys.

A couple of our readers have shared pointers to two new cartoons that seemingly make fun of Vista 7′s failure in the market (slow adoption, no reason to buy). This problem is being recognised by more and more Web sites. Additional layoffs are indicative of this.

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