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“Microsoft Seems to be Patenting Stuff Like Crazy”

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents at 10:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Face - extreme

Summary: Latest evidence that Microsoft is totally out of control as far as software patents are concerned

THE INQUIRER alleges that “Microsoft nicks another man’s patents,” which is a familiar routine.

SOFTWARE MONOPOLIST Microsoft seems to be patenting stuff like crazy.

Volish employees Samuel Chow Radakovitz, Adam Michael Buerman, Anupam Garg, Matthew John Androski, Matthew Kevin Becker and Brian Ruble apparently had a brillian insight one morning and got patent 20090282325.

eWEEK Europe writes about the intellectual monopoly ruling that bans Windows XP in China [1, 2, 3] and from ZDNet UK we have the following comment about the so-called “sudo patent” [1, 2].

As I read it, Microsoft have obtained the patent on Sudo itself but they have also added, or propose to add a GUI.

Either way, surely Sudo is protected by the GNU licence and prior art. Bolting on a GUI must, for sure, be an infringement of the licence. That is unless they continue to licence under the GNU.

Why do Microsoft want Sudo anyway, that’s an interesting question.

As one final item, here is a new post about an apparent rejection of patents at the World Wide Web Foundation, which is not to be confused with the ‘Open’ Web Foundation (OWF) we wrote about this morning.

As the head of the Jordan Open Source Association I have also asked with others, about the openness and royalty-free policy of the foundation. We got very assuring answers as well as plans to promote open content by the foundation, Stephane Boyera wrote:

Another key discussion was around intellectual property, and the importance of open source and free content, not only at the tools level, but also in the different materials and tools developed by the thousands of projects in the field. This is an area we will surely investigate further.

The World Wide Web has traditionally avoided patents as a matter of principle so as to keep the Web safe from proprietors. The World Wide Web Foundation will probably not change this, but there is reason for concern about the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which got occupied with Apple and Microsoft employees. Microsoft already poisons storage standards with its patents (see Tuxera for example [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]).

“One thing I find myself wondering about is whether we shouldn’t try and make the “ACPI” extensions somehow Windows specific.

“It seems unfortunate if we do this work and get our partners to do the work and the results is that Linux works great without having to do the work.

“Maybe there is no way to avoid this problem but it does bother me.

“Maybe we could define the APIs so that they work well with NT and not the others even if they are open.

“Or maybe we could patent something related to this.”

Bill Gates

CodePlex is Not Great: How Microsoft Poisons Everything

Posted in Database, Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Oracle at 9:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How Microsoft partners and former employees have reached the point of infesting and deforming “open source” as we once knew it

THE title is borrowed from a book of Christopher Hitchens, which was intended to alert using strong words. What we increasingly find in Microsoft’s “open source” endeavours is the “Embrace, Extend and Extinguish” strategy, which was explained many times before, even years ago.

Microsoft’s CodePlex Foundation, where Miguel de Icaza is working (and which is explicitly intended to help promote Mono), is making a lot of noise these days and Mono boosters, who are also former Microsoft employees (MindTouch), lend their voice to it. As we noted yesterday, they also suck up to Matt Asay and it's paying off.

MindTouch bills itself as the open source alternative to Sharepoint and recently named our own Matt Asay as the second most-influential executive in open source.

Matt Asay finally has this new post which bears an alarmist headline: “Microsoft’s embrace of MySQL could kill it”

Here are the opening words:

For those who have fret about Microsoft fighting against open source, I have news for you: Microsoft’s impact on open source may be worse as a friend than as an enemy.

Now with MySQL inside! Yes, we can.

Over the past few years, Microsoft has steadily warmed to open source, to the point that it now hosts its own open-source code repository and has seen its Microsoft Public License used more often than venerable licenses like the Mozilla Public License or the Eclipse Public License, according to new data released by Black Duck Software.

The open-source world should be worried.

We previously showed how Microsoft was lobbying to ruin MySQL [1, 2]. In emerging markets, MySQL is said to have a market share of 46% which is huge. No wonder Microsoft wants to ruin MySQL and with its big ally, SAP, Microsoft is doing a sort of Slog. To whit:

“Working behind the scenes to orchestrate “independent” praise of our technology, and damnation of the enemy’s, is a key evangelism function during the Slog.”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

“[O]rchestrate “independent” praise of our technology,” eh? How might that be?

We once wrote about Black Duck promoting CodePlex. What too few people are aware of is the fact that Black Duck has a Microsoft genesis [1, 2] and the firm is selling fear about Free software. Black Duck is a purely proprietary software company with proprietary methods and proprietary data. It goes back to the post from Asay, but watch what Dana Blankenhorn is now parroting uncritically.

The latest Black Duck Software figures on open source license popularity make it clear.

Microsoft is gaining.

Is it really? Is the source of the claim unbiased? What is it measuring? A wise gentleman (or several gentlemen to whom it’s attributed) once said:

“Lies, damned lies, and statistics”


One of our readers warns us that Black Duck is currently selling fear in more places, for a fee. The same reader tells us that Novell’s “Michael Meeks and ex-Sun employee [are] talking about why Mono sucks.” The source, says our reader, are “some pictures of a friend of a friend on FB.”

Is it not curious that a Novell and GNOME developer bashes Mono? Even Novell employees seem to understand that Mono is technically inferior. The main reason to use it seems to be Microsoft’s contentment and its promoters include existing and former Microsoft employees. “Open Source” is being poisoned from the inside. Doing nothing would not resolve this issue.

“[The partnership with Microsoft is] going very well insofar as we originally agreed to co-operate on three distinct projects and now we’re working on nine projects and there’s a good list of 19 other projects that we plan to co-operate on.”

Ron Hovsepian, Novell CEO

What Makes Mr. Murdoch Tick

Posted in Deception, Google, Microsoft at 8:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Rupert Murdoch wants Google to feed him despite being a blood-sucking tycoon who does not pay people whom his publications cover

ONE of our readers insists that Microsoft is connected to Rupert Murdoch, who is busy calling Google “illegal” these days. This reader has just sent us this pointer to show that Murdoch gives a bad name to Google, especially in the public arena where publications are involved directly*. He poisons people’s minds against Google for no valid, defensible reason.

Rupert Murdoch is simply looking for publicity when he says he ‘may’ want to block Google search. We all know he do not want to. This is because unless he has an extremely incompetent IT department (which he don’t), they will tell him inserting a simple robot.txt will do the trick. Google (and Microsoft and Yahoo and other reputable search engine had been honouring robot.txt file for ages.

In addition to the Gates|Murdoch parody, we have some serious posts on the subject, such as:

Now comes this analysis from TechDirt: “Would Top Sites Really Opt-Out Of Google Based On A Microsoft Bribe?”

Every so often, internet pontificators try to come up with ways to “kill Google.” It’s a silly game, but in an oddly timed move, three people (who have all put forth “how to kill Google” ideas in the past) all suddenly published similar ideas, yet again. Jason Calacanis, Mark Cuban and Tom Foremski all posted similar ideas about how certain sites (such as the top sites in the top search results) could all choose to opt-out of Google and, say, join another search engine like Bing. It’s one of those ideas that sounds good for about 5 seconds. And then you actually think about it. First, the numbers being tossed around concerning how much it would cost, say, Microsoft, to convince most of these sites to opt-out of their number one driver of traffic is significantly higher than what’s being mentioned in these articles. Many of these sites rely on Google traffic to make a ton of money, and they’re not going to throw that away easily.

As TechDirt used to point out very shrewdly, those who exploit are not the bloggers who merely read and search engines that borrow phrases from newspapers; the exploiters are actually newspapers and authors who are exploiting people and events, on whom they report without ‘compensating’ those who get covered (and truly “break” the stories). It is difficult to justify “owning” a story, just as it should be impossible to “own” thoughts and ideas, even prose and mathematics (or algorithms). It complicates things too much.

Murdoch is of course wrong and those predatory hounds who give Microsoft and Murdoch ideas are looking for personal gain (just look up their professional history). As the BBC put it today, “Twitter urges Murdoch to be open”

Newspapers should become “radically open” if they want to make money in the online world, the co-founder of social networking site Twitter has said.

Biz Stone said that he would “love to see what happens” if newspaper mogul Rupert Murdoch went ahead with plans to block Google from his websites.

Stone is right in this case. As The Guardian showed a few days ago, even the London Evening Standard had found out that wide distribution comes before per-unit revenue. It’s about spreading ideas, giving readers what they want.

London Evening Standard slashes distribution costs by going free

The London Evening Standard has slashed its distribution costs from 30p a copy to just 4p since going free, its editor, Geordie Greig, revealed today.

Greig said the paper – which axed a 50p cover price to become free last month, more than doubling its circulation to 600,000 – had been spending 12p a copy on newsagents.

Professor Jay Rosen, who is highly regarded among journalists, is now sharing this long list of subsidy sources for news outlets. And as a side note, at Boycott Novell we have no subsidy; maybe we will appeal to readers for help one day.
* The Register too spends an obscene amount of time slamming Google these days. Several people have already noticed and reported this.

Mono: Deaf to the Facts

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, Red Hat, Ubuntu at 8:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Face - insane

Summary: Neither the Mono project nor particular distributions pay attention to Microsoft’s simple stance

THIS morning we wrote about the GIMP being removed by Canonical, as expected. It may seem unimportant, but it is still being covered for a variety of reasons, not just the Mono problem it is causing. The GIMP is not without flaws and as this new article shows, it is not the only option, either. But the reasoning provided by Canonical (a former Microsoft employee to be more specific) are unconvincing. We never “bought” the rationale put forth and those who defended the move tend to be proponents of Mono such as the following blogger who writes:

You may have started to hear rumors that The GIMP and F-Spot aren’t safe for inclusion in 10.04 Lucid Lynx. “What?!?” you say. “The GIMP has been in every GNOME distribution since GNOME existed (sinceGNOME is written to GTK, which stands for the GIMP ToolKit).” Well, well. Good idea. Not likely to move forward.

Regarding a similar misstep from Fedora, there is a whole new article about it now:

Mono sinks its claws into Fedora


In June this year, the Fedora project announced that it had decided to get rid of Tomboy, a note-taking application dependent on Mono and replace it with Gnote, a port of Tomboy in C++/Gtkmm released by former Novell developer Hubert Figuiere.

Earlier this year, when Microsoft made what appeared to be a promise not to sue those who implemented the ECMA-covered parts of .NET, de Icaza admitted that he had been developing parts of .NET which were not covered by the specification, even though he had been developing Mono for nearly eight years.

Those terms from Microsoft are not reasonable, says the Free Software Foundation (FSF). Will this “Monomania” [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] ever end? OpenSUSE has the same problem, but it does not pay attention. Many of its developers are loyal to their paycheck from Microsoft’s Novell.

“There is a substantive effort in open source to bring such an implementation of .Net to market, known as Mono and being driven by Novell, and one of the attributes of the agreement we made with Novell is that the intellectual property associated with that is available to Novell customers.”

Bob Muglia, Microsoft President

SUSE Takes Your Rights Away With ‘Trusted’ Computing (TC)

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Security, SLES/SLED at 7:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ogg Theora
Introduction to “Trusted Computing”:

Summary: TPM brought into SUSE, handing over control of one’s PCs to vendors and corporations

LAST YEAR we wrote about back doors in Windows and maybe in SUSE. We have also shown that TPM quietly entered Linux. This can used as a lock-in, not just a mechanism for controlling computer users remotely (with “security” as a convenient pretext).

According to this new article, SUSE leads the way in this dangerous development, which no doubt will please the secret services.

A team of researchers has implemented support for ‘trusted computing’ in a commercially available version of the open source operating system Linux, breaking new ground in the global drive toward more secure computing environments.

The latest release of openSUSE, a Linux version sponsored by software maker Novell, comes packaged with software that allows users to set up a trusted computing (TC) environment on their computer, enhancing security beyond the antivirus programs and firewalls that frequently prove inadequate at keeping bugs, viruses and spyware at bay.

There is more new information here.

Security Blanket v4.0.0 will include lock down support for openSUSE 11, Novell SUSE 11, and Fedora 11. Additionally, our completely redesigned console streamlines the process of building complex profiles to satisfy your site’s security policy.

This is not a feature, it’s an antifeature.

Eye on Security: IE8 Fails, Windows Botnets, Security Products Don’t Work

Posted in Security, Windows at 7:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Security camera

Summary: A variety of new links about security

IE8 bug makes ‘safe’ sites unsafe

The latest version of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser contains a bug that can enable serious security attacks against websites that are otherwise safe.

Two arrested for Zbot Trojan

Officers from the Metropolitan Police’s Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) have made Europe’s first arrests in the battle against the ZeuS or Zbot Trojan which threatened to compromise thousands of computers.

Officers from the PCeU, assisted by Greater Manchester Police, arrested a man and woman, both aged 20 years, in Manchester for offenses under the 1990 Computer Misuse Act and the 2006 Fraud Act.

RIM security chief sees smartphone attacks on horizon

Hackers could one day turn ordinary smartphones into “rogue” devices to attack major wireless networks, Research In Motion’s security chief warned.

Scott Totzke, RIM’s vice-president of BlackBerry security, said hackers could use smartphones to target wireless carriers using a technique similar to one used in assaults that slowed Internet traffic in the United States and South Korea in July.

In what’s known as a distributed denial of service, or a DDOS attack, criminals use phone signals to order tens of thousands computers to contact a targeted site repeatedly, slowing it or eventually crashing it.

Senate Panel: 80 Percent of Cyber Attacks Preventable

If network administrators simply instituted proper configuration policies and conducted good network monitoring, about 80 percent of commonly known cyber attacks could be prevented, a Senate committee heard Tuesday.

Web security company warns of ‘cyber arms race’

Warning of a “cyber arms race,” a leading Web security firm said that China, France, Israel, Russia and the United States were among countries that have developed “cyber weapons.”

Most security products not up to scratch

For example, anti-virus products often failed to prevent malware infection at the first attempt, while firewalls or IPS (intrusion prevention) products failed to make the grade in blocking attack traffic.

Hackers target world’s leading climate research unit

E-mails reportedly from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU), including personal exchanges, appeared on the internet on Thursday.

A university spokesman confirmed the email system had been hacked and that information was taken and published without permission.

Microsoft’s Hosted Payroll Closes Down

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 6:59 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kiwi money

Excerpt: Is Microsoft too big to fail or too big to bail?

Microsoft Office Accounting is to shut down, but to many businesses’ surprise, there is another blow coming.

Microsoft scraps payroll service just before Xmas

MICROSOFT IS PLANNING to leave thousands of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the lurch when it closes down its hosted payroll service just 10 days before Christmas.

As Robert Pogson puts it, “With “partners” like this, who needs enemies?”

Links 20/11/2009: EVO Game Console is Out, Firefox 3.6 Beta 3

Posted in News Roundup at 3:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Old Computers

    • Computers get second life at BBA hardware lab

      The software is designed to be easily added to by developers from anywhere. In addition to the fact that Linux software is adaptable, efficient and unencumbered by the multiple lines of computer code characteristic of the better known Microsoft programs, it is also free.


      “People who write viruses won’t write in Linux because it’s not a challenge – it’s too easy,” he said.

    • Computer Institute under $5000

      I assembled 4 computers with a help of my trusted friend. I installed Ubuntu in it. This roughly cost me around $2500 (Rs 1 lakh plus). Then the other expenses cost me the other half ($2500). I was lucky that my garage did turn out to be a excellent place for my new business. Without free software this task would have been impossible.

      All who learn computers in my garage really do like GNU/Linux. I haven’t heard a single complaint from them that its tough and not Windowish. Unlike windows, programs are arranged neatly in menus like Accessories, Internet etc. I find students learn very easily.

  • Proprietary High-End

  • Server

    • Penguin Computing Launches its Most Powerful Personal Supercomputer and a New ‘Green’ Linux Server

      Penguin Computing, experts in high performance computing solutions, today announced that it has added two new systems – the powerful Niveus 4200 personal supercomputer and the innovative “green” server Relion 700 — to its expanding line-up of high performance Linux platforms. The Niveus 4200 represents the new top model of Penguin’s personal supercomputing and technical workstation line, while the Relion 700 is an energy efficient rackmountable server for large server farm and cloud deployments.

    • Tweak this router

      Netgear’s latest WNR3500L wireless-N router supports Linux-based firmware such as DD-WRT, OpenWRT and Tomato which already have a pool of software created by open-source developers.

    • Hosting Controller Offers HC Linux Panel for Free
  • Google

    • Liveblog: Google Chrome operating system arrives
    • Ubuntu’s Canonical and Google partner to create Chrome

      Sources at Canonical tell me that Canonical’s Ubuntu developers have been working with Google’s Chrome team since before Google announced its netbook operating system plan in July 2009. The company decided to go public with its involvement after Google announced today that they were open-sourcing the Chrome operating system.

    • Google Chrome OS and Canonical

      Congratulations to Google on the open sourcing of Google Chrome OS

      When Chrome OS was announced in June we saw this as a positive development, bringing choice to the consumer. We considered how open source development is as much about co-operation as it is about competition. Google have made it clear that they are keen to develop Chrome OS openly and we have had the pleasure of hosting a number of the Google team at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Dallas over the last few days where we have been able to see that openness in action.

    • Ubuntu in truffle shuffle with Chrome OS
    • Google Chrome OS: Should Ubuntu and Canonical Worry?

      Back in July 2009, my initial blog entry about Google Chrome OS suggested that Google may wind up stealing Ubuntu’s thunder in selected market niches. Fellow WorksWithU Blogger Christopher Tozzi took the opposite stance, insisting that Google Chrome OS will help Ubuntu. But by August, I had changed my stance a bit telling readers that Google was both a rival and a friend to Ubuntu. I stand by that statement.

    • Google shows Chrome OS, promises 2010 launch

      Google has unveiled its Chrome OS. In a webcast launch at the company’s California headquarters on Thursday, Sundar Pichai, vice president of product management, said the Linux-based operating system was fully open, ran applications only in its browser and stored all data in the cloud.

    • Google Chrome OS – Built on Linux!

      Lets remember what Mr Ballmer CEO of Microsoft had to say about Google (allegedly)

      Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.

      Source: Techcrunch

      Try not to be too hard on him though. His “teacher” (IMO) Bill Gates said in the 90’s:

      The Internet? We are not interested in it

      and another alleged comment that Bill Gates made (which may ring some bells with Windows users)

      If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good.

    • 6 Killer Google Chrome Extensions for Social Media Addicts
  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • StarNet releases X Server for Macintosh platform

      Allows users to display desktops and applications running on remote Unix and Linux servers

    • Save for Web GIMP Plugin
    • Mastering Grub 2 The Easy Way

      If you’re running Linux, there’s a good chance your distro of choice uses Grub as the default bootloader. Grub has served well for many years, but it’s beginning to show its age. As with all software, it doesn’t take long before the latest-and-greatest becomes old-and-haggard. Features have been piling up in Grub without much thought going into revamping the core program. Eventually, this lead to a messy patchwork that no one really wanted to maintain. At this point, Grub2 was born. It’s a complete rewrite from the ground up using a completely redesigned structure. This new Grub gives us powerful features like conditional statements (if/then, etc), intelligent upgrades, and some greatly improved graphics.

  • Games

    • EVO Game Console Goes Live

      Today the Envizions Computer Entertainment Corporation announced it will be broadcasting its first annual live coverage of the official EVO open source game console, called EVO, on Nov. 20, 2009. The broadcast will be streamed on the company Web site at EnvizionsCorp.com (http://www.envizionscorp.com), at Facebook and at Ustream.

    • Easy Fix to Prevent Microsoft From Bricking Xbox 360s HDDs Arrives

      Microsoft opposes modding because it claims that the modding community is promoting piracy. It also opposes the installation of third-party operating systems (such as Linux) on the Xbox 360, a popular mod.

    • Vendetta Online 5th Anniversary

      Guild Software, the developers of Vendetta Online, has released a HD trailer to celebrate the Linux-native massive multiplayer space combat game’s five years of operation.

    • PrBoom+

      Version of the DOOM source port PrBoom+ was released last week…

  • Desktop Environments

    • Camp KDE “Be Free” Contest Now Open

      Do you have a special story about how you or your organization has used KDE to break free from proprietary software? If so, enter the Camp KDE “Be Free” Contest and tell us your story!

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Bluewhite64 Linux 13.0 LiveDVD is released!

        I’m happy to announce a new version of the Bluewhite64 Linux 13.0 LiveDVD is ready for download. This new version brings the possibility to boot the DVD in KDE (4.3.2), Xfce (4.6.1) or to the command line interface from the beginning.

      • Parted Magic 4.6

        Parted Magic 4.6 is a mostly a bug fix release with some usability improvements.

      • Absolute 13.0.4 released

        Several security updates, updated libs and beginnnings of internationalizing the custom scripts and apps that are part of Absolute (thanks to GALPon MiniNo Developers Team.) In addition a new utility to change language/keymap from a GUI utility.

        Avidemux now in base install, epdfview replaces xpdf, AbiWord now comes with collaboration plugin with proper support to create online accounts.

      • Momonga 6.1
      • NuTyX 2009.1
      • Owl 20091117
    • Fedora Family

      • Cooperative Bug Isolation for Fedora 12

        The Cooperative Bug Isolation Project (CBI) is now available for Fedora 12. CBI (http://www.cs.wisc.edu/cbi/) is an ongoing research effort to find and fix bugs in the real world. We distribute specially modified versions of popular open source software packages.

      • Saving the “Best” for Last – Fedora 12 (Constantine)

        So, of the four “major” distributions over the past month (Ubuntu 9.10, Mandriva 2010, openSuSE 11.2 and Fedora 12), the only one that didn’t crash, hang or otherwise misbehave on at least one of my laptop/netbook/nettop systems was Fedora.

        Of course, there is plenty more fun to come yet. New releases of Linux Mint and SimplyMEPIS are already on the horizon, and I don’t think it will be long before there is another PCLinuxOS release, too. The fun never stops in the Linux world!

      • Installing Fedora 12
      • Major improvements with Fedora 12

        This is just a taste of what Fedora 12 is brining to the Linux table. There is a veritable plethora of new features available with Fedora 12. For a complete list, take a look at this Wiki page for an all encompassing look at the feature list.

      • How to create a Fedora 12 Constantine Live USB boot disk?

        Now that Fedora 12 Constantine is available, we will tell you how to create a Live USB boot disk so that you can install Fedora 12 on your computer without wasting a CD (read: burning the iso on to the CD). You can use this USB boot disk both as a Live Fedora 12 system and also to install Fedora 12 on your computer.

      • What’s new in Fedora 12

        The twelfth version of Fedora is equipped with a current and comprehensive selection of software packages that offer a whole range of technological advancements. Several of the new features, which include extended hardware support for kernel-based mode setting (KMS), 3D support for recent Radeon graphics cards, and the emerging KSM (Kernel Samepage Merging), are also likely to turn up in other Linux distributions in the near future.

      • Fedora : PackageKit change

        Not a lot of people seem aware of this. This is from the announce list.

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu 10.04 LTS Lucid may include a backup tool by default

        As everybody knows ubuntu 10.04LTS Lycid is planned for the month of 29 april 2010, the developers actually are working on softwares that will be included by default in the future ubuntu10.04 Lucid , one of the news is that a backup tool will be included by default to the next release.

      • What Applications Should be in the Standard Installation?
      • Is Ubuntu Too Big for Its Own Good?

        What would the process of moving towards more streamlined look like? First, there would be no more mass import from Debian Unstable. Ubuntu would be responsible for the basic application and drivers necessary to run the various projects. MOTUs should be encouraged to move as quickly as possible to PPAs. AptURL should have the prohibition on PPAs removed for Launchpad.net. Finally, the Software Center needs to be reworked into a front-end for Launchpad PPAs. Backports will be responsible only for core applications (and likely only for LTS releases).

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Security adapters ship with Linux SDK

      Cavium announced a new line of Nitrox network security adapters that ship with a Linux SDK. The Nitrox XL CN16XX-NFBE family offers a FIPS 140-2-certified hardware security nodule (HSM) with PCI Express Gen2 connectivity and integrated Network Interface Card (NIC) functionality, says Cavium.

    • Phones

      • Nokia Focuses on Linux-based Maemo for High-end Smartphones

        The talk of the town is Android. Nobody is talking about Symbian anymore. Symbian, of course, still holds majority (50 percent of global sales) of the mobile market share, but its slowly declining. Maybe that’s why Nokia, Symbian’s primary contributor, is trying to fight back – by dropping the mobile OS from its high-end phones.

      • Nokia N900 Review Roundup

        You only have to read a few reviews of the Nokia N900 to realise that it is a resounding success – people like the functionality, the open source nature of its OS, the memory, the possibilities for development, and the little features on it. Techradar disagreed with Nokia on one thing: they don’t believe that the Nokia N900 is a computer. Instead, they said, “it’s a smartphone and a very good one at that.” In addition, they were also impressed with the overall performance of the OS.

        Similarly, T3 were highly impressed with the overall functionality of the Nokia N900, saying it was “better than any Nokia handset we’ve seen in along time.”

        They added: “In terms of browsing and sheer multitasking capability, it’s also superior to other smartphone rivals.”

      • Maemo Edges Out Symbian in Nokia’s N900 Smartphone

        Maemo is an open source platform based on Debian GNU/Linux. It draws most of its GUI (graphical user interface), frameworks and libraries from the GNOME project. Maemo uses the Matchbox window manager and the GTK-based Hildon as its GUI and application framework.

      • Nokia won’t demote Symbian, but Linux OSs rule in north America

        While Symbian still rules in Europe and Japan, the US smartphone market is increasingly crazy for Linux, and this is likely to prompt Nokia – hopeful of ending its woeful run of poor performance in north America in 2010 – to give its Linux-based Maemo platform a bigger role in its strategy from next year. However, persistent speculation that Nokia is making an either/or decision and will actually back away from Symbian remains several leaps too far, and the firm came out with an official denial that it had any plans to demote Symbian from its position as lead smartphone OS.

      • Hands on With the Dell Mini 3i Smartphone

        The smartphone is one of the first Ophones in the world, a brand promoted by China Mobile to make sure consumers know it uses the Linux-based Open Mobile System (OMS) developed by the company. OMS is very similar to Android, the reason Dell will release the handset elsewhere with Google’s popular mobile phone OS inside.

    • Android

    • Sub-notebooks

      • SugarLabs: Sugar-sweet or Sugar-coated?

        It’s engineering goals call for a (Linux) OS and hardware-agnostic platform, with transparent, free and readily accessible and modifiable code that can be also easily shared among users. The normal user has absolute control over the Sugar part but the core system remains secure from malicious activities.

      • Jolicloud Steps Up Its Game As Pre-Launch Excitement For Chrome OS Builds

        In a couple of hours, Google is going to share more details about its upcoming operating system Chrome OS at an event in Mountain View that will most likely be covered from start to finish by TechCrunch writers (and then some) as well as a slew of other media outlets. Jolicloud, that other OS for netbooks that is completely built for people who live and work on the Web from the ground up, has in the meantime been running fine on my own netbook for the past couple of months.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Storage Vendors Cut Costs With Open Source

    Two data storage vendors are out with new products this week that they claim can save users a bundle over more traditional storage systems.

    Nexenta and ParaScale both use open source software and commodity hardware to lower storage costs for enterprises.

  • Open Source Science: A Revolution From Within

    It worked for software, so why not science? The open source science movement has been gaining momentum, and it’s shaping the future of scientific research and discovery. Everyone — scientists, the general public, and even taxpayers — stands to benefit from a new scientific model, says John Wilbanks, vice president of Science Commons.

  • Response to Sam Tuke’s Response to “Is free software major league or minor?”

    Playing well and seeking excellence is a goal in itself. Free software developers have every right to pat themselves on the back for doing that — the existing free-licensed open source software production infrastructure is one of the most collaborative and constructive systems ever created in history.

  • WISE project keen to partner with Qatar

    Curriki, the innovative award-winning project of the first World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE), is keen on partnering with Qatar. Dr Barbara Bobbi Kurshan, Executive Director of Curriki told The Peninsula yesterday that they were working on the possibility of implementing the project in the country.

  • WaveMaker 6.0 Makes SaaS Simple

    WaveMaker today announced general availability of the first open source cloud development platform. WaveMaker 6.0 is available under the Apache open source license, providing organizations with the features and benefits found in proprietary cloud development platforms – such as Force.com and Azure – at a fraction of the cost.

  • Kaltura Grows a Longtail

    Kaltura’s platform has been integrated by more than 38,000 publishers to date, with hundreds joining every week. JW Player is used by over one million sites and streams billions of videos every month.

  • Open source software to be “almost compulsory” in schools

    As of 2010, education and training centres in Vietnam will have to use open-source software to cut cost and avoid software copyright infringement, according to a draft circular from the Education and Training Ministry (MoET).

  • Infobright and Talend Launch Open Source Solutions for Enhanced Data Warehousing
  • Mozilla

  • Databases

    • Exclusive: Former MySQL boss Marten Mickos talks open source

      The Commission has yet to give its official approval to the acquisition – a delay that Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said is costing Sun $100m every month it waits for a decision on the deal.

      And while he warned that “time is of the essence” for success with such high tech deals, the former MySQL boss believes the proposed acquisition could be a boon to the open source movement.

  • CMS

    • Drupal or Django? A Guide for Decision Makers

      There’s a large body of technical information out there about content management systems and frameworks, but not much written specifically for decision-makers. Programmers will always have preferences, but it’s the product managers and supervisors of the world who often make the final decision about what platform on which to deploy a sophisticated site. That’s tricky, because web platform decisions are more-or-less final — it’s very, very hard to change out the platform once the wheels are in motion. Meanwhile, the decision will ultimately be based on highly technical factors, while managers are often not highly technical people.

  • Business

    • About Open Source Value Creation and Consumption

      The relationship between open source communities and vendors keeps being a topic of debate these days. Simon Phipps at the South Tyrol Free Software Conference gave a talk about his “software freedom scorecard“, a method to indicate the approach vendors take to promote software freedom as part of their business strategies.


    • GRUB news

      This is being a busy month for GRUB. Quick catch-up of GRUB news:

      * We moved to GNU Bazaar as revision control system.
      * Pushed out a 1.97.1 bugfix release (whoops)

    • GNU Toolchain Update November 2009

      * A new GNU extension has been added to gcc to support “Named Address Spaces”. This feature is defined in the N1275 draft of the ISO/IEC DTR 18037 technical report[1]. Essentially it allows variables to be declared as being some special, target specific, method of access. Eg via a runtime library or special machine instructions.

    • GNU libtool 2.2.6b released
  • Government

    • EU governments consider open source for contracts

      The ministers will sign a declaration which sets out the goals for Europe-wide IT issues for the next five years.

      “The declaration, which has been negotiated by the Cabinet Office, includes commitments to putting open-source solutions on an equal footing when it comes to awarding government contracts, and to making non-personal government data publicly available for re-use,” said the Cabinet Office.

  • Openness

    • A Wiki in advertising

      That thought gave birth to Linux. We also can inspire ourselves by looking at Wikipedia, or for that matter with ThinkCycle, a company that develops collaborative industrial design. Today we have open source aeroplane design, cola recipes, film scripts and even beer!

    • Hands-On Gifts For Hackers, Makers And The DIY Obsessed

      You don’t need to buy many things either, since many of the kits and gadgets are “open source” — you can buy the parts, etch a circuit board, “breadboard” it or in some cases just build parts of them with what you may have at home by cannibalising a junk drawer of fail-gadgets.

    • Electronics Classes For Kids at Bug Labs in NYC

      Bug Labs is the maker of The Bug, a modular open source system for building devices. With different modules you can add GPS, motion detection or sound to your gadget. They are always releasing new modules to help build the widget you’ve always needed.

    • Rockwell Automation Sponsors Development of Open-Source Software Stack

      Rockwell Automation announced that it is supporting the release of a free, open-source EtherNet/IP software stack for I/O adapter devices developed by the Vienna University of Technology.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Every song of every word – introducing the Open Platform’s AS3 library

      Since its launch, the Open Platform has spawned a variety of interesting data visualizations. Works like Jer Thorpe’s word trend clock charts provide compelling examples of how rich patterns of information can be presented graphically. However, few of these pieces choose to open up our data to user interaction. Given the Flash platform is such a popular medium for creating interactive web content and the variety of free, open source tools available, we decided we ought to provide an AS3 library for our API.


  • IBM aims to simulate brain’s abilities with computer system

    An IBM Research-led cognitive computing team announced it achieved advances in large-scale cortical simulation and a new algorithm that synthesizes neurological data.

  • Fluendo Launches the Long Awaited DVD Player for Open Solaris

    Fluendo is an established leading provider of multimedia plug-ins for the GNU/Linux Market, and has succeeded in offering legal end-to-end solutions working with multiple formats and platforms.

  • EXCLUSIVE: CIA Secret ‘Torture’ Prison Found at Fancy Horseback Riding Academy

    Where affluent Lithuanians once rode show horses and sipped coffee at a café, the CIA installed a concrete structure where it could use harsh tactics to interrogate up to eight suspected al-Qaeda terrorists at a time.

    “The activities in that prison were illegal,” said human rights researcher John Sifton. “They included various forms of torture, including sleep deprivation, forced standing, painful stress positions.”

  • Iraq abuse was widespread, says convicted ex-soldier

    The only soldier convicted over the death of Iraqi hotel worker Baha Mousa today described widespread abuse of prisoners by British troops – including an officer.

  • SFPD cops from imaginary anti-dance-party squad steal laptops

    Autumn sez, “DJs at local underground parties have been losing their laptops to police raids – even when they’re not DJing. They’re being told that they’ll lose their laptops – and often their livelihood – for an indefinite period of time, with no information on when or how to get their property back. The EFF has taken on the defense of several local DJs, but this is having a huge effect already on the local dance scene.”

  • MCSO officer who took lawyer’s paperwork might go to jail

    A Maricopa County Sheriff’s detention officer has been found in contempt of court for walking up to an attorney’s desk in a Phoenix courtoom and removing a document from files sitting on the desk.

  • Army Eyes Missiles Filled With Flying Spy Bots

    That’s right. The military wants to shoot off loads of flying, spying robots, using missiles to make for faster surveillance and attack. “ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance) platforms delivered from missiles can potentially provide battlefield information that is only seconds old when transmitted from long ranges,” the Army explains in a request for research proposals. “This information is particularly valuable since it is so current. It provides the potential for striking a very mobile enemy before he has time to alter his position.”

  • Environment

  • Finance

    • Emergency $85bn bailout of insurer AIG was botched, says report

      The US government executed an emergency bailout of troubled AIG without sufficient planning, botching its initial $85bn (£50bn) effort to rescue the ailing business and further weakening the multinational insurer’s financial position, according to a critical official report into last year’s near collapse of the company.

    • Goldman was exposed to AIG losses – govt report

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) could have suffered dramatic losses if the federal government had not intervened to prop up American International Group Inc (AIG.N), according to a government report.

    • Goldman Sachs Would Have Been Damaged By AIG Failure: SIGTARP Report

      In total, Goldman had $22.1 billion in credit default swaps contracts with AIG.

    • Report Rebuts Goldman’s Claim on AIG

      For more than a year, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has maintained that it wouldn’t have suffered material losses had the government allowed one of its major trading partners, American International Group Inc., to collapse.

      A government report throws cold water on that claim.

    • Time’s up for Tim Geithner

      Want some more advice Tim? Better to go quietly. If you attempt to take down some of your former friends with you, it could end up very badly for you. Yeah, watch your back and go quietly. That’s always good advice to someone who is involved up to his neck in a criminal conspiracy that is about to be publicly exposed.

    • GS a short? And five reasons we hate Goldman Sachs

      1. The AIG bailout was a covert bailout of Goldman and we want our money back. Every dime of it. Goldman had been placing a bunch of bets against real estate derivatives at a casino called AIG. Goldman started to realize that AIG didn’t have enough money to pay all the bets they’d taken, so sucked some $6 billion out of AIG in the weeks before AIG went belly up (a cash drain which indeed helped caused AIG to go belly up). But Goldman still had $13 billion in profitable bets that they’d placed at the AIG casino and without the cash they were due from those bets, Goldman would be insolvent and be forced into bankruptcy.

    • Goldman Sachs makes 272 managing directors-source

      Goldman has faced public ridicule for setting aside nearly $17 billion for year-end bonuses after receiving a $10 billion taxpayer bailout. The bank has paid back the government money.

    • Goldman Sachs: Here’s Some Money, Poor People. Now Shut Up About Our Bonuses

      CEO Lloyd Blankfein has made yet another cursory PR gesture – a tiny fund for small businesses – designed to divert attention from $17bn in bonuses he’s paying to the bankers who helped drive the economy, Zeppelin-like, into the ground.

    • Goldman Sachs’s Drop In The Bucket

      It’s barely a fifth of the $2.3 billion the company has saved thanks to a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation guarantee to help banks raise money, according to a Wall Street Journal estimate. Goldman Sachs had $22.6 billion in outstanding debt issued through this program as of Sept. 30, according to its most recent regulatory filing.

    • Charity case: Goldman Sachs, Warren Buffett launch small-biz program

      In Tuesday’s announcement, Goldman Sachs said it has pledged to the small business project just over 3% — $500 million — of what it hopes to pay its bankers and traders in bonuses this year.

    • Goldman Sachs Apologizes, Pledges ‘Equivalent Of One Good Trading Day’ To Small Businesses

      For some perspective, Goldman has already set aside $17 billion for bonuses this year, which could climb to $23 billion by year’s end.

    • The Nation: Charitable Capitalism

      When John D. Rockefeller was feared and famous as the master monopolist of American industry, he used to hand out shiny new dimes to the urchins gathered around him on the street. Most Americans were not charmed by this philanthropic gesture. Rockefeller became a living symbol of miserly indifference. Nor will Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, win much public affection for his charitable capitalism.

    • Is Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein a Liar?

      Yesterday we learn the answer is most likely choice # 2. It appears that Lloyd Blankfein would like forgiveness for the aggressive posture it took with Uncle Sam in the process of settling its exposure with AIG. Recall that Blankfein has repeatedly asserted that whether AIG went down or not was not meaningful to Goldman Sachs because Goldman had secured collateral from AIG to cover its exposure.

    • Just How Sorry is Goldman Sachs?

      Answer the questions: What activities? How were they wrong? Why are you regretful? How much did you make from these wrong activities?

      The fact that you have the chutzpah to think you can issue a blanket, unspecified apology in an attempt to curry favor with the American public is the height of hubris and rings very shallow. I would go so far as to say your apology is mere words and talk. Talk is cheap.

    • Record numbers go hungry in the US

      More than a million children regularly go to bed hungry in the US, according to a government report that shows a startling increase in the number of families struggling to put food on the table.

  • AstroTurf

    • In House, Many Spoke With One Voice: Lobbyists’

      In the official record of the historic House debate on overhauling health care, the speeches of many lawmakers echo with similarities. Often, that was no accident.

      Statements by more than a dozen lawmakers were ghostwritten, in whole or in part, by Washington lobbyists working for Genentech, one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies.

    • The Lobbyists’ Ability To Control The Message

      But what is rather stunning about the NY Times story on how Genentech’s talking points were mentioned (with multiple Congressional reps using the exact same language) is how unconcerned everyone is about it. The lobbyists wrote up talking points for both sides of the aisle. It wasn’t about being in support or against the current healthcare bill, but just to get these Congressional Reps “on the record” in supporting key concepts, so that those same lobbyists can go back and point to such “bipartisan” support in the future, even if the Congressional reps themselves don’t even know what they’re talking about.

    • Medical Schools Quizzed on Ghostwriting

      Senator Charles E. Grassley wrote to 10 top medical schools Tuesday to ask what they are doing about professors who put their names on ghostwritten articles in medical journals — and why that practice was any different from plagiarism by students.

    • Senate Exploring Med School Profs Putting Names On Ghostwritten Journal Articles In Favor Of Drugs
  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • T-Mobile staff sold personal data

      Staff at mobile phone company T-Mobile passed on millions of records from thousands of customers to third party brokers, the firm has confirmed.

    • Filesharing laws to hit websites and newsgroups too

      The government is planning to award itself powers to change copyright law almost at will, in expectation that new anti-peer-to-peer laws will drive infringement to other services such as Rapidshare and newsgroups.

      The measure, which is the most severe contained in the Digital Economy Bill published today, will be interpreted as a major victory for rights holder organisations. It will grant the Business Secretary Lord Mandelson and his successors undprecedented control over civil enforcement of copyright.

    • Mandelson seeks to amend copyright law in new crackdown on filesharing

      Lord Mandelson is seeking to amend the laws on copyright to give the government sweeping new powers against people accused of illegal downloading.

    • Mandelson to get Nominet reform powers

      Ministers have revealed new legislation that will allow the government to take over and reform Nominet, following a boardroom battle over the .uk registry’s future.

      The reserve powers are included in the Digital Economy Bill, published today by Lord Mandelson’s Department for Business.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • The Pirate Bay Tracker Shuts Down for Good

      Today marks the end of an era, as The Pirate Bay team announces that the world’s largest BitTorrent tracker is shutting down for good. Although the site will remain operational for now, millions of BitTorrent users will lose the use of its tracker and will instead have to rely on DHT and alternative trackers to continue downloading.

    • Viacom’s General Counsel Lecture On Copyright Leaves Out Certain Facts

      Someone once told me that Viacom’s top lawyer, Michael Fricklas, has been known to read Techdirt on occasion. I have no idea if this is true, but it still is interesting to watch him give a lecture to some Yale law students where he offers a somewhat nuanced position on copyright issues (thanks to JJ for being the first of many to forward the video to us), but which repeatedly seems to leave out certain pertinent facts:

    • Ars responds to Big Cable: TV networks nothing like an iPod

      Opinion: The cable industry’s wants the ability to control analog outputs on your TV, in order to offer “high-value” content sooner. But television isn’t just one more gadget; it’s part our national public network, and selectable output control poses an eventual threat to this important resource. Ars responds to the NCTA’s editorial.

    • EFF analyzes the legal creepiness of ACTA, the secret copyright treaty

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s international policy crimefighting duo, Eddan Katz and Gwen Hinze, have published a scholarly article analyzing the secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement in light of US law and policy. Called “The Impact of ACTA on the Knowledge Economy,” it was recently published in the Yale Journal of International Law, and constitutes a fantastic, reference-heavy resource for understanding just how creepy it is that the Obama administration is sneaking around behind Congress’s back (not to mention the backs of the American public) to create a privacy-invading, internet-breaking trade agreement that the US will be bound to bring into its law.

    • Entertainment Industry Wants More People To Know About OpenBitTorrent Tracker

      Suing Napster made Napster into the service to use. Ditto with Kazaa and Grokster. The Pirate Bay wasn’t that big until Hollywood got Swedish authorities to raid the operations and confiscate the servers.

    • Intel Lawyers Again Go Too Far In Trademark Bullying

      Chip giant Intel has a bit of a reputation for being a trademark bully at times, threatening or suing many companies just for having “intel” in their name somewhere — including a travel agency and a jeans company. Now, before anyone brings it up, yes, as a trademark holder the law requires you to enforce your trademark against infringement, lest it become considered “generic” (such as xerox machines, kleenex tissues, aspirin and other brand names that became generic).

Dr. John Halamka Keynote

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