IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: November 15th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 10:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


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Links 15/11/2009: CrunchPad Coming, Negroponte Speaks About OLPC

Posted in News Roundup at 7:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Linux Terminal Control Sequences
  • On-Line Banking and Linux

    I have been banking on-line for a long time now. Indeed I started banking by telephone with the Co-operative Bank when they first introduced it, well before any other bank had done so in the UK. I haven’t actually been to my nearest bank (which is 48 miles away) for about 15 years. No need…….cash machines for cash at no cost, cheque deposits through the Post Office and of course the on-line banking for paying bills and moving money around.


    I am no Linux expert but how about providing a “barebones” Linux OS which in the form of a LiveCD, configures your internet connection wired or wireless, and provides a basic secure browser to access your on-line banking services. If small enough this could be issued in the form of a “credit card” sized CD you could keep in your wallet along with your other cards.

  • Cisco Software Takes On Microsoft, IBM

    If Cisco wasn’t making enough enemies with its string of bold acquisitions and a brazen push into the server market last spring, it’s now picking a software fight with several more tech heavyweights: Microsoft, Google and IBM.

  • Kristian Talks About The Wayland Display Server

    A few weeks back there was the Linux Plumbers Conference and one of talks was hosted by Kristian Høgsberg where he talked about his Wayland project. We were the first to publicly talk about the Wayland Display Server when it was in its very infancy at being an alternative to the X Server.

  • Applications

    • GwenView ReView – The Linux killer application?

      GwenView is a great application. It’s light, fast, rich in features, and very beautiful. It’s a Swiss-army-style image viewer, with a bit of everything you need. You’ll find the most important functions at the tip of your finger. What more, you can install a ton of plugins and make it even more powerful than it is. And with a good use of shortcuts, you’ll make it even more productive than it already is. Even so, the basic layout is intuitive and easy to use. You will get to feel at home with GwenView in a matter of seconds.

    • Linux Version of App Store?

      Today I read a blog post from the technology section of Canada.com. In the post, the author mentioned about Apple’s App Store in which it is really true that “there’s an App for that”. He was saying that there are over 100,000 applications available on App Store and you can find anything you want. As a Linux user myself, I have to say that Linux users have been enjoying this for a long time ever since the availability of package management tools. More to that, Linux users have been enjoying it for free. Although the number of applications available may not be as many as App Store, but you can find much more complex and functional programs in Linux.

  • Games

    • A New Game Comes To Linux And It’s Not A FPS

      While quality native Linux games are rather in short supply, those that do end up coming out of the professional game studios end up being first-person shooters, just look at Doom 3, Quake 4, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, Cold War, Unreal Tournament 2004, etc. Even on the open-source side there are many first-person shooters from Nexuiz to Warsow to many others. If though you have been trying to find a new non-FPS game that has native Linux support, there is a new one emerging and that is QuantZ.

    • Wine, Cedega, and CXGames Benchmark Comparision

      The Test: I will be running an FPS test under both the original source engine (Counter Strike: Source) and the latest version of the source engine (Left 4 Dead). For each test I used the same detail settings and tested each game at three different resolutions, using each Wine, CXGames, and Cedega.

  • Distributions

    • Compiz-Fusion in Gentoo

      The Gentoo Linux Wiki has a short but decent article on installing Compiz-Fusion. However, after following the article myself, I found it was missing some rather important information. I’m running Compiz-Fusion with Gnome using an nVidia based card, just so you know.

    • Linux for those old PCs? This ‘Puppy’ shows you how

      Newcomers to Linux get a real treat from Puppy Linux: It initially runs from memory and from the CD, leaving your hard drive alone in case you don’t want to stick with the Puppy. But I think you’ll like the way it works, and installing it onto the hard drive after your tryout is a simple as clicking an “Install” icon and following the prompts.

      The word processor in Puppy Linux is Abiword, compatible with Microsoft Word. You also get a calendar, instant-message program, music software and a simple photo editor, among many other programs.

    • Distro Review: Mandriva One 2010

      I’ve enjoyed using Mandriva 2010 and one thing I wanted to see was how the different desktop editions compared. In the past I’ve always thought of Mandriva as a mostly KDE centric distro, rightly or wrongly, that’s been my impression. I can definitely say there’s no favouritism here, both versions are well thought out. There are little differences but you won’t be missing anything no matter which you choose.

    • Red Hat Family

      • RHEL 6: Is Anything Brewing Up?

        This time it’s really late for Red Hat. It’s is going to defy its traditional release cycle pushing RHEL6 further back. People are just throwing guesses as to when the next Red Hat, i.e., Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 6 will come out.

    • Debian Family

      • LinuxMint : Helena ! The beauty is coming

        LinuxMint8 RC1 was released this week, the new release comes with new features and improvements, My first impression when I first installed Helena RC1 was that the team of LinuxMint are really doing a great Job, I had no problem with the installation, the live cd detected all my hardware , got no problem with my nvidea card, with resolution… , I had the feeling like i was not on a RC1 release but in a final release, because worked just fine and was very stable. I will leave you with this video to have a tour on LinuxMint8 Helena RC1.

      • Eva’s Useful Guide to Ubuntu 9.10

        Welcome to the third edition of Eva’s Useful Guide to Ubuntu!
        This guide contains many tips to enhance and customize a fresh Ubuntu 9.10 “Karmic Koala” installation.

      • Installing KDE 4.3.2 on Ubuntu

        KDE is not a desktop that should be overlooked. Not only did it completely redefine itself upon the launch of 4.x, it has added features that have made it unique in the land of desktops. But because KDE completely re-invented itself at version 4 it’s almost as if you have to consider this a completely new desktop. That should explain the landslide of problems that surrounded the Linux desktop until some of the more recent releases fixed many of the major issues. And although not as slick and clean as the latest releases of GNOME, KDE 4.3.2 has made plenty of strides forward to once again became an outstanding desktop environment for the Linux operating system.

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala better than ever

        Ubuntu is a Linux distribution for desktop and server, with a fast and easy install, regular releases(6 month cycle), a selection of excellent packages installed by default, every other package you can imagine available from the community, and professional technical support from Canonical Ltd. and hundreds of other companies around the world.

      • Software Center, UI Proposal as Requested

        Eric correctly suggests that the next step would be to actually show a better GUI (or at least my own interpretation of one) so perhaps positive changes can be effected and it isn’t just me moaning about a feature. I’m not posting this as an official proposal, this is more of my quick mock-up of the direction I would take it if I were king.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • How would I cash out?

      After completing my education in 2000, I started working for Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science, part of the Robotics Institute. There on a daily basis I would meet interesting people and robots big and small while making office calls. I noticed that, by and large, the operating system choice for a robot was Linux. Why? You can support a wider variety of small hardware that requires limited or no cooling with Linux. Also, you can craft a device very affordable without having to contact a company to license it. What you do with your hardware is your own business when you use the Linux kernel and free software.

    • The Embedded Market Beds Down with Linux

      Note that this very positive assessement comes not from some open source fanboy (like me), but from a semiconductor company that has just plunked down $50 million on its bet. Against that background, there seems little doubt that Linux will soon become the de facto standard in the world of embedded systems.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • CrunchPad tablet is alive, well, and under $400 (with sponsorship)

        In this week’s Gillmor Gang video, Arrington says that the CrunchPad is coming along and that it will sell for somewhere between $300 and $400. He says it costs somewhere in the “upper $200s” to build, and that he’s looking at ways to help keep costs down with sponsorship opportunities, sort of the way Firefox makes money for Mozilla through the search box with Google set as the default search engine. Hopefully Arrington is talking about similarly unobtrusive sponsorship.

      • OLPC

        • Negroponte Outlines the Future of OLPC—Hints at Paperlike Design for Third Generation Laptop

          X: You had a 500,000-machine manufacturing backlog. Where does that stand now?

          NN: The precise numbers today are 1.1 million [laptops] out and a back-log of 400,000-700,000, depending on how you count. More importantly, the numbers mean less, like the books. In fact, a far more interesting number is that as much as 1/3 of the current worldwide production of laptops is netbooks.

        • ‘Laptop per child can end learning by rote’

          Speaking on the genesis of the OLPC concept , Negroponte said: ‘‘ At MIT we were trying to understand how children learn and we realized that the first five years of learning takes place without a teacher. At about six we are sent to school where we start learning by being taught. There is a sharp break, he learns by what is being told to him by teachers and remembering becomes the fundamental tool of learning. This is notable in India too. For the next 10 years what the child undergoes is rote learning, which isn’t learning at all.’’


          While stating that he received a negative response from India three-years back, Negroponte said: ‘‘ The president of Peru committed for a laptop for each child and Uruguay has already implemented that. Could India do this to all 250 million children? Yes, and if nothing happens, at least this would definitely kill rote learning.’’

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why is Oracle fighting so hard for Sun’s MySQL?

    Oracle Corp (ORCL.O) has allowed regulatory approval of its $7 billion acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc (JAVA.O) to drag on for months due to controversy over a database that most users get for free.

    Sun’s MySQL database, while minuscule in revenue terms, is important to Oracle because it can help the company expand into new markets and improve its competitive edge against arch-rival Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), analysts say.

  • BSD

    • FreeNAS 0.7 adds ZFS support

      The FreeNAS developers have announced the availability of version 0.7 of FreeNAS (code named Khasadar), a FreeBSD-based Network-attached storage (NAS) UNIX-like server operating system. FreeNAS includes a full Web configuration graphical user interface (GUI) and supports the FTP, NFS, CIFS (Samba), AFP, rsync and iSCSI protocols and software RAID (0,1,5).

    • LiveUSB OpenBSD project at sourceforge

      It is really easy to create a USB bootable OpenBSD LiveUSB image. With that you can do just about anything you want. Don’t believe me?

  • Mozilla

    • Mozilla desktop software is borrowing from Google e-mail features

      In the following few weeks Mozilla is introducing the new version of its Thunderbird, lets users keep their inbox clutter-free with a Gmail-like “archive” button for permanently storing older messages, while removing them from day-to-day sight.

      Thus, Thunderbird 3 also presents tabbed e-mail – compatible to tabbed browsing available on most Web browsers, including Mozilla’s own Firefox. The user will get an ability quickly jump back and forth between e-mail messages by opening them in separate tabs.

    • Benchmarks Show Firefox 3.6 Fastest Version Yet

      Although Mozilla’s Firefox 3.6 is still in beta, the CRN Test Center reviewers wanted to take a look at it because we measure the progress of a browser in development by doing a series of benchmark tests against each alpha, beta and final versions to determine whether there are performance improvements with each release. For instance, when we tested Firefox 3.6 Alpha 1, we were pretty impressed with the benchmark results.

  • Licensing

    • Apache: ‘No jerks allowed’

      It seems like reasonable advice, but it’s discouraging to see this basic rule of polite society regularly broken within the wider open-source community. Some feel that a license to code is a license to shout others down. It’s not. At least, not at Apache.

  • Openness

    • Norwegian mapping authority frees up maps

      Oh, those crazy Norwegians. They’re giving away maps for free. Within limits – it’s limited to “individuals and non-profit associations”. So that’s half a step towards free data.

      Interesting that this is also including maritime information – the stuff that the UK Hydrographic Office sort-of provides; it’s rumoured to be on the list for privatisation, however.

    • German petition takes Open Access movement by surprise

      RP: How does the petition process work: As I understand it if you get 50,000 signatures by December 22nd it gets debated in the German Parliament? Is that right?

      LF: The goal is to get as many signatures as possible. The Bundestag FAQ says that if 50,000 signatures are reached within three weeks, the petition will be discussed publicly in the Bundestag Petition Committee, in a session where I’m entitled to take part. But even if fewer people sign, every accepted petition will be reviewed by two members of the Committee, so every vote counts.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google advances multiple efforts to make the Web faster

      When you add up this week’s top Google news, it paints a picture of a gargantuan, but immature, effort to make the Web faster. Google open sourced “Go” its experimental programming language that combines the speed of scripting languages with the speed and safety of compiled languages. It released an experimental replacement for HTTP known as “SPDY.” Plus rumors are swirling that Chrome OS will be seen next week at last.

    • IETF working towards royalty-free audio codec

      Nearly one dozen developers want to standardise a royalty-free and non-patented audio codec for internet applications with the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Among them is the chief developer of the Ogg Speex and Ogg CELT open source audio formats, Jean-Marc Valin. The formation of a new working group was agreed at a meeting of the internet standards organisation in Hiroshima. The new working group is to evaluate various proposals by Valin and other developers and combine them into a standards document.


  • Want to bone up on wireless tech? Try ham radio

    John D. Hays, an IT manager in Edmonds, Wash., devotes most of his spare time these days to helping develop a communications system that’s designed to integrate portable two-way radios with the global telephone network. The project’s goal is to create a failure-proof voice communications infrastructure that can immediately connect first responders with the outside world.

  • Google faces court action over Street View

    Internet giant Google is facing court action in Switzerland over its failure to meet demands for better privacy protection in its Street View service.

  • Public locked out: FOI won’t cover private prisons

    Despite being paid for by the public, prisons operated under government contract by private companies such as Group 4 will not be covered by a proposed extension of the freedom of information act. This marks a dangerous shift in which public services paid for by us are no longer accountable to us because they have been outsourced to a private company.

  • The Economics of Ecosystems

    Basically, we’d be mad – not just for environmental reasons, but economic ones too – not to look after our global commons. After all, it’s the only one we’ve got….

  • Westminster Apostrophe Fail

    Local pedants have launched a tirade of asterisks at Westminster Council for playing fast and loose with the borough’s punctuation. According to the Evening Standard, six signs in Bayswater alone are incorrectly appellated.

  • New Zealand was a friend to Middle Earth, but it’s no friend of the earth

    As the world prepares for the Copenhagen climate negotiations next month, it is worth checking out the greenwash that has followed the promises made 12 years ago when the Kyoto protocol was signed.

  • Temporary.cc: the website that slowly deletes itself

    Sometimes I get the impression that by often reloading my website stats we get more visitors too. Guess this site appeals to the same set of emotions but in reverse. The more you reload the more will be lost. Guess it must feel really familiar to Geocities users.

  • The Wikipedia Paradox

    To determine whether any given subject deserves an entry, Wikipedia uses the criterion of notability. This lead to an interesting question:

    Question 1: What’s the most notable subject that’s not notable enough for inclusion in Wikipedia?

  • Taking Out the Skype Garbage

    Oh, and one last note. I am sad to report that Skype marketing’s campaign to foist the bogus “XXX million registered users” number on the world has been totally successful. That garbage number is now parroted with question by any and every reporter, “analyst” and blogger who writes anything about Skype. This is clear and indisputable proof that no matter how outrageous your claims, if you repeat them often enough, they will be accepted as truth.

  • Security Theatre

    • Beyond Security Theater

      Terrorism is rare, far rarer than many people think. It’s rare because very few people want to commit acts of terrorism, and executing a terrorist plot is much harder than television makes it appear. The best defenses against terrorism are largely invisible: investigation, intelligence, and emergency response. But even these are less effective at keeping us safe than our social and political policies, both at home and abroad. However, our elected leaders don’t think this way: they are far more likely to implement security theater against movie-plot threats.

    • Terrorism chiefs don’t know what they’ve censored online

      The Terrorism Act 2006 granted powers for police to compel web hosts to shut down websites promoting terrorism. But the powers have never been used, and forces have instead persuaded providers to take down websites voluntarily, according to the security minister Lord West.

  • Finance/Crime

    • Bear Acquittals Bad Sign For Other Prosecutions

      A jury of mostly working-class Americans dealt the government a stinging blow Tuesday, acquitting two former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers of fraud charges and proving that while popular anger still prevails, pinning the blame for the financial crisis on any one person will be difficult.

    • The Joy of Sachs

      Such growth would be fine if financialization really delivered on its promises — if financial firms made money by directing capital to its most productive uses, by developing innovative ways to spread and reduce risk. But can anyone, at this point, make those claims with a straight face? Financial firms, we now know, directed vast quantities of capital into the construction of unsellable houses and empty shopping malls. They increased risk rather than reducing it, and concentrated risk rather than spreading it. In effect, the industry was selling dangerous patent medicine to gullible consumers.

    • Protesters Headed to Goldman Sachs DC Offices

      ACORN wannabe, the National Political Action Network, has announced that it will be protesting outside the Washington DC offices of Goldman Sachs on Monday.

    • SEIU’s Andy Stern to lead Goldman Sachs protest

      In fact, a couple hundred of them — led by Service Unions International Union president Andy Stern — plan to gather outside of Goldman Sachs’ Washington offices Monday morning to protest the firm’s mega-bonuses, and demand the end of the “too big to fail” doctrine, according to a press release.

      The event will be held outside 101 Constitution Ave. N.W., an office building that’s home to many of the most powerful lobbyists and corporations in town, including Goldman. It’s also where you can find POLITICO’s Capitol Hill bureau (in the basement).

      Among their demands, the protesters will say that Goldman bankers should donate their reported $23 billion in bonuses to foreclosure prevention programs.

    • A Load Of Bull

      According to its CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs is doing “God’s work.” This quote, care of the LondonTimes(though delivered in irony, according to Goldman Sachs) was met with bewilderment at a Chinese business conference in Lisbon last week, where foreign CEOs and government officials were dumbstruck by the hubris. Many of the attendees blame Wall Street bankers like Goldman for the global financial meltdown and think the U.S. is doing a bad job of cleaning up the mess. “Do you think those quotes were made up?” asked one incredulous Latin American participant. But America’s diminished position in the world was even better illustrated by how quickly the Blankfein banter faded and talk turned to China’s growing clout.

    • Goldman Sachs sold sub-prime junk as “no risk AAA” then gambled for prices to tank

      Goldman Sachs was at the heart of the sub-prime market, which was the impetus that began this financial crisis. Here’s what GS did: they promoted and sold sub-prime junk as “zero risk AAA” investments, then they bet the value of those very same investments would plunge (here and here). When the payor of GS’ gamble, AIG, couldn’t pay, we taxpayers bailed-out GS’ gamble through AIG.

    • God vs. Goldman Sachs: A Former Goldman Partner Challenges Lloyd Blankfein

      Maureen Dowd in her New York Times column spoke for a lot of people in America when she entitled her recent column, “Virtuous Bankers? Really!?!” contrasting that image of virtue with the notorious Rolling Stone characterization of Goldman Sachs as a “Giant Vampire Squid on the face of humanity.” The question Dowd’s article raises is whether it is truly possible for bankers to be virtuous. What exactly does virtue mean? One could do a lot worse than turn to the long and rich moral tradition of the classical “cardinal virtues” of prudence, justice, moderation, and courage, whose unifying theme is self-regulation, reining in the excesses of our will and desire.

    • When Goldman Sachs Invokes Divine Purpose

      Lately Goldman Sachs (GS) executives have been invoking God and Jesus in trying to justify their obscene profits. It shows a total disconnect between Goldman and the real world. They are actually fulfilling the classic stereotype of the megalomaniacal Wall Street banker. This is their “Marie Antoinette” moment.

    • Goldman Sachs Just Can’t Feel the Love
    • Goldman Sachs’ born-again image is laughable

      This week, Goldman was also battling bad PR when it was learned that it got 200 doses of the H1N1 vaccine before many New York school children. Meantime, Blankfein’s comments about Goldman doing “God’s work” inspired competitors to recite “The Lloyd’s Prayer,” with a notable lack of reverence.

    • Sachs of Gold In Hampstead Village, NW3
    • God to Goldman Sachs: You’re Not Doing ‘God’s Work,’ Joins Call for Protest at DC Headquarters
    • Reflections on Glass-Steagall and Maniacal Deregulation

      Glass-Steagall protected depositors and prevented the banking system from taking on too much risk by defining industry structure: Commercial banks could not maintain investment banking or insurance affiliates (nor affiliates in non-financial commercial activity).

      A year ago, as the financial crisis was unfolding, it seemed very plausible that these reforms would be seriously debated in Congress. Three months ago, it appeared that Wall Street had successfully maneuvered to keep them off the table. But in Congress a recognition is now settling in that regulatory reforms on the table are failing to deal with the problems of size and industry structure — and that there may be a severe political price to be paid for such failure. Suddenly, it seems that common sense may again be politically viable.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Time to Drag Libel Law into the 21st Century

      The Internet is often presented as an antidote to tyranny, letting the sunlight of truth flood in where all before was dark ignorance. Alas, this rosy picture is not quite true, and in some benighted places it is definitely untrue – notably the UK, thanks to its ridiculously skewed and outdated libel laws.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Question on ACTA and the Telecoms Package

      Here is a draft for the question:

      In the recently concluded conciliation on the Telecoms Package, it was decided that no measures restricting end-users’ access to the internet may be taken unless they are appropriate, proportionate and necessary within a democratic society, and never without a prior fair and impartial procedure that includes the right to be heard and respects the of presumption of innocence and the right to privacy.

      Are the proposals currently being discussed in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations fully in line with the provisions that were agreed in the conciliation on the Telecoms Package? If not, when and how will the Commission redress any incompatibilities of the ACTA?

    • Brazil, Pakistan Criticize “One Size Fits All” Piracy Solution

      Developing countries are starting to realize they must be proactive in developing intellectual property enforcement regimes within the World Intellectual Property Organization or they risk being overpowered by major rights-holding counties like the US which are currently negotiating a separate Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) outside the WIPO system.

    • Brazil to Allow Private Copying and Mashups

      [Via Google Translate: The MinC propose that private copying of any digital work is permitted without the express permission or compensation to the owner for private use and provided that only one copy, and allows the use of original content in other media than the one that consumer originally purchased.

    • Google and Authors Win Extension for Book Settlement

      A federal judge in Manhattan on Monday granted an extension until Friday for a revised settlement of Google’s effort to legalize its plan to create a vast library of digital books.

    • Google Books: Scan First, Ask Questions Later

      So-called orphan works, millions of books for which copyright laws still apply but whose rights owner is unknown or cannot be located, will still be scanned and sold in an online registry. New revisions to the plan call for an independent trustee to collect revenues generated from orphan works for up to 10 years, or until the rights holders are found. After 10 years, that money will be donated towards the continued effort to seek out copyright owners.

    • Swedish Internet Traffic Recovers After Initial IPRED Scare

      In response to the news, Swedish Pirate Party Chairman Rick Falkvinge told TorrentFreak that most experts believed that the initial “scare effect” would wear off in time. They were absolutely right.

    • German Court Rules Ripping CDs Legal

      The German Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe recently upheld provision 53 of that country’s copyright law against a legal challenge by the record industry whom have against the provision for allowing digital copying of CDs for private use.

      The court dismissed the claim on technical grounds because the provision was part of the copyright law of 2003, and a claim has to be filed within one year of it taking effect.

    • Do music artists fare better in a world with illegal file-sharing?

      This is the graph the record industry doesn’t want you to see.

      It shows the fate of the three main pillars of music industry revenue – recorded music, live music, and PRS revenues (royalties collected on behalf of artists when their music is played in public) over the last 5 years.

    • Labels may be losing money, but artists are making more than ever

      It’s interesting too that, overall, industry revenues have grown in the period – though admittedly not by much – which arguably adds strength to the notion that, when the BPI releases its annual report claiming how much ‘the music industry’ has suffered from the growth in illegal file-sharing, what it perhaps should be saying is how much the record labels have suffered.

    • Copyright Time Bomb Set to Disrupt Music, Publishing Industries

      Labels already file new copyrights for remasters. For example, Sony Music filed a new copyright for the remastered version of Ben Folds Five’s Whatever and Ever Amen album, and when Omega Record Group remastered a 1991 Christmas recording, the basis of its new copyright claim was “New Matter: sound recording remixed and remastered to fully utilize the sonic potential of the compact disc medium.”

      This might sound familiar, because BlueBeat.com employed similar logic in creating new copyrights to Beatles songs — right before it was sued by EMI and a judge barred them from continuing to sell the songs.

      If the labels’ best strategy to avoid losing copyright grants or renegotiating them at an extreme disadvantage is the same one they’re suing other companies for using, they’re in for quite a bumpy — or, rather, an even bumpier — ride.

Interview with Jon Corbet of LWN.net

Microsoft Breaks the Law, Teaches World That ‘Evil’ GPL is ‘Viral’

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GPL, Law, Microsoft at 7:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“This viral aspect of the GPL poses a threat to the intellectual property of any organization making use of it.”

Craig Mundie, Microsoft

Summary: By violating the GPL, Microsoft creates ‘ammunition’ for FUD it has been spreading publicly for years

IN an insightful new essay, The Source sarcastically argues that “Microsoft embraces the GPL” and here is how:

Here’s the point that I find the most interesting, and that most commentators are not picking up on: this is just another example of Microsoft’s absolute incompentance in the area of Open Source. Which puts the lie to the entire idea of the Microsoft Codeplex Foundation being any sort of “driver” in the Open Source area.

That fact of the matter is that Microsoft lacks the experience, credibility or expertise to be any sort of “driver” in the Open Source space, but the Microsoft Codeplex Foundation is a way for Microsoft to basically buy itself into the driver’s seat. Once there, I expect to see a ton of messaging attempting to shape thought around Open Source in a direction Microsoft finds acceptable.

If you like mirror analogies, it would be like RMS setting up the Proprietary Software Foundation, and him going around saying that he really wants to balance the “needs of proprietary software with the interests of freedom”.

Fortunately, CodePlex has been somewhat of a failure. To quote Ken Coar from the Open Source Initiative:

The CodePlex Foundation (http://codeplex.org/; Twitter @codeplex_f), which was started back in September of this year, has been trying to gain traction and momentum. Unfortunately, its pro tempore Board of Directors and President are all volunteers already with overflowing plates, so progress hasn’t been particularly visible.

Last week we saw Microsoft using CodePlex to violate the GPL. We wrote 4 posts that mentioned this incident [1, 2, 3, 4] and now it is all confirmed by Microsoft.

Our systems administrator was the first to point out that “Microsoft Takes Responsibility For GPL Violation”. “Nice to see them do the right thing,” he argues, “Not like they had much choice though, being caught red-handed.”

The original “damage control” comes from Microsoft mole Peter Galli. “Bruce Perens commented on Slashdot,” adds our administrator, who says that Perens “makes a good point.” To quote him (with an emphasis in red):

I wouldn’t want to be the consulting company that provided Microsoft with this code. They’re in some deep doo-doo now. Unfortunately, a lot of engineers are so clueless about licensing, as are their managers, that it is really possible that the person who did this didn’t know it was a problem.

But this is not anything new for Microsoft. Microsoft started contributing to GCC around 10 years ago, for the former Unix services product. And this really serves their purpose if they are trying to scare people away from the GPL. “Microsoft forced to give up source code.”

Where they are really hurting us now is in government policy and patented technology in interoperability facilities. Like the European Interoperability Framework going proprietary, and the MS-patented filesystem in next-generation FLASH devices. Consider stuff like that before you decide they are a “good citizen”.

Familiar GPL opponents are already doing exactly that — they are smearing the GPL using this Microsoft story to create Microsoft sympathy while painting the GPL as “viral” or dangerous. “I have people on the local LUG mailing list railing against the GPL,” our administrator explains, “saying it forces companies to open up their code so any smart company will stay far away from it, which is crazy and untrue. But it’s an easy FUD to spin. Microsoft could have just rewritten the code themselves or withdrawn software altogether. They didn’t have to release the code.”

“The bugger is a trap. You put code on there Microsoft uses and you dispute they then pull the project because they cannot distribute it while in dispute.”
Separately, Oiaohm said that “the project Microsoft took code from has basically vaporised from CodePlex. The question is, did [the] maker pull the code or did someone nuke the project?” He also argued: “just got what CodePlex is. The bugger is a trap. You put code on there Microsoft uses and you dispute they then pull the project because they cannot distribute it while in dispute.”

SJVN argues that “Microsoft does the right open-source thing,” but once again, Microsoft merely obeys a law that it violated, and not for the first time either [1, 2, 3] . There is other coverage from Windows/Microsoft proponents like Gavin Clarke and people at IDG.

Microsoft Friday acknowledged that its Windows 7 USB/DVD Download Tool does indeed include open source code. To correct the error, the company next week will make the source code and binaries for the tool available under terms of the GPL v2 license.

Many people might say, what could Microsoft do better? Well, not breaking the law to begin with would make sense. The resultant GPL FUD is just unfortunate, if not partly deliberate.

Microsoft Imitates Google Revenue Model on the Desktop: Adverts Come to Vista 7 Desktops

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Office Suites, Vista 7, Windows at 6:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Advertisements land right inside people’s Windows desktops as Google challenges Microsoft with free-of-charge competition

ONE of the drawbacks of using Google services is said to be the advertisements, which are Google’s main source of revenue. According to some news reports, Google plans to starve Microsoft’s #1 cash cow within a few years, forcing Microsoft to imitate Google Docs. As one source put it:

…Girouard also made an interesting prediction, putting Google Docs about a year away from seriously challenging Microsoft Office.

To say more:

By next year, Google says, its web-happy word processor will be so effective, most enterprises will be able to “get rid of [Microsoft] Office.”

Chrome OS is said to be just days away, so these toll-free items of software, which include Android, are truly challenging Microsoft’s cash cows. Microsoft will need to justify paying extra for Windows Mobile, Vista 7, and Office. Margins are already affected.

“Chrome OS is said to be just days away, so these toll-free items of software, which include Android, are truly challenging Microsoft’s cash cows.”It turns out that Microsoft is now trying to extract profit using advertisements in people’s Windows desktop, just as patent applications suggested.

Microsoft boosters Gavin Clarke and Mary Jo Foley actually put a positive spin on it, but Microsoft is renting space for companies to sit on one’s own desktop. As noted yesterday in IRC, the new advocacy message might be, “switch to GNU/Linux to get rid of adverts.”

Is Microsoft’s new strategy worthwhile? As Oiaohm puts it, Microsoft is “selling ad space on Windows 7… Now this is seeming desperate.”

What’s next? “The latest security patch is brought to you by…”

Patents Roundup: Patents as Deterrent Against Innovation, Apple’s Role, and Bilski’s Toll

Posted in Apple, Patents at 12:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Latest bits of news about Ford, Apple, and Bilski

Once Again: The Number Of Patents You Hold Does Not Equal How Much Innovation You’ve Done [original]

This is a real shame, because we’ve discussed before how the massive patent thickets in the hybrid car space have been holding back innovation and development in that space. In fact, Ford had a big tussle with Toyota a few years back after Toyota sued Ford and the two companies wasted tons of money and time in court, until the court finally pointed out that Ford did not infringe.

Apple pen-tablet plan revives Newtonian handwriting

Bilski v. Kappos: Both Sides Have Strengths, Weaknesses

When the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Bilski v. Kappos earlier this week, many tech companies sent their representatives, and patent lawyers also sat in. They wanted to find out how the parties had framed the issues and how the court would focus its attention. If they could see that, then maybe they could attempt to predict how the court would rule in this “most high-stakes patent case.”

Vista 7 Already Cracked (Within Weeks), Just Like Vista

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Vista, Vista 7 at 12:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours.”

Bill Gates

Summary: Windows Activation Technologies fail miserably and permit infinitely many copies of Vista 7 to just float “out there”

THIS has already been discussed in IRC, but here is the original source with evidence about Vista 7.

Despite already has perfect and reliable Windows 7 activation crack based on royalty-OEM mechanism, hackers have managed to come out with a new activation crack method as an alternative to BIOS loader and OEM BIOS mod, which effectively bypass the activation requirement of the installed Windows 7 system, by removing and disabling Windows Activation Technologies (WAT).

It was exactly the same with Vista back in 2007.

This is not bad news for Windows; in a way, it may be part of the plan, but it demonstrates Microsoft’s incompetence with technology. For entertainment purposes, here is another new article whose media component is self explanatory.

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