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11.24.09

Confirmed: Murdoch Waves Goodbye to Google in Order to Please Ballmer

Posted in FUD, Google, Microsoft at 11:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rupert Murdoch

Picture by Zil

Summary: Microsoft and Murdoch are said to be engaging in talks while Murdoch is badmouthing Google using ridiculous claims

MURDOCH’S LATEST mischiefs with Microsoft are a subject that we covered in:

What ever happened to the “new Microsoft”? Are Microsoft’s critics just irrational “Microsoft haters”, or is it possible that there is something inherently wrong with Microsoft’s behaviour? We wrote about this question last week [1, 2].

To present some of the latest news and developments, here is confirmation that Microsoft and Murdoch are talking.

The push by News International to get Mainstream media to de-list from Google is the latest and most public salvo in this war but it won’t be the last. The Mainstream media is hurting badly, and – given the alternatives are pretty bleak – one option is to force Google to hand some of the surplus back by taking away their bat and ball elsewhere, reducing Google to search the “Long Tail of Crap” that is the rest of the Web (as far as the mainstream market is concerned, anyway). In fact, the latest twist in the tale, that Microsoft and News International are reaching a pact to delist from Google and go exclusively elsewhere, also illustrates the second trend…

John Dvorak calls it “an ugly rumor,” but he also dismisses Microsoft’s motives and method.

It’s an ugly rumor. There’s no way Microsoft would resort to bribing Web sites to get delisted from Google, is there? I mean, aside from the restraint of trade issues and the callback to the tribulations the company went through with its dirty Internet Explorer tricks, Microsoft has learned to compete fairly, right? Not so, according to the reports stemming from a Financial Times article, which highlights the company’s desire to team-up with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., in order to screw Google.

This whole thing began when Murdoch began to complain that Google was “stealing” News Corp. content. He demanded that the company pay a pittance or he would pull the plug, preventing Google from spidering its sites. Google searches provide between 25 and 50 percent of the page views of just about any site. This includes blogs, newspapers, everything. Would Murdoch throw away 25 to 50 percent of his sites’ revenue just to spite Google? Yeah, right.

The Guardian explains why Google’s service cannot be compared to “theft” or “stealing”.

The emancipatory potential of the free dissemination of intellectual property through infinite replication is overwhelming. Unlike private property that is subject to scarcity, supply and demand laws and other rigid determinations, immaterial property poses an explosive threat to our deeply rooted notions of proprietorship.

It is not only because there can be potentially infinite owners of property that the internet redefines our notion of it. It is also that people who participate in the exchange of immaterial works do not treat them as property. When they exchange music, books or movies, they are not merely transferring ownership from themselves to others; they simply do not recognise themselves as owners in the first place.

The BBC publicly rejects Murdoch’s stance and Glyn Moody adds: “oh, bad luck, Rupert [Murdoch], that’s your little plan scuppered…”

Moody also writes in a standalone post:

Poor Mr Murdoch, bless his cotton socks, is still thinking in terms of command and control – with him doing both; the Internet doesn’t quite work like that – despite the best efforts of repressive governments around the world (I’m looking at *you*, Gordon).

That’s a reference to Gordon Brown, the British Prime Minister.

Microsoft Sued for Deliberately Making Competitor’s Product “Become Incompatible”

Posted in Courtroom, Hardware, Law, Microsoft at 10:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“[P]ut a kind gentle message in setup. like an incompatible tsr message, but not everytime the user starts windows.”

Brad Silverberg, Microsoft manager

Summary: Microsoft kicks another company out of its own property, so it is taken to court

Last week we saw another Xbox 360 lawsuit materialising and there is probably another class action lawsuit to come.

As a potentially third (or more) simultaneous Xbox 360 lawsuit there is this new one. We wrote about what led to it [1, 2, 3] and here is a Microsoft-sponsored source talking about it:

Datel Design & Development, a maker of memory units for Microsoft’s Xbox 360, has filed an antitrust suit against Microsoft over its moves to prevent the U.K.-based company’s products from working with the game console. The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, says Microsoft is unfairly favoring its own Xbox 360 accessories by disabling the functionality of competing technologies.

The Register has more details and our reader Goblin wrote about this as well.

It is being reported on the net that Datel Design has filed an anti-trust lawsuit in San-Francisco federal court against Microsoft. The reason behind this move? Because its alleged that a recent update caused 3rd party memory packs (namely Datels) to become incompatible.

Microsoft is very skilled at making rival products “become incompatible”.

Novell Promotes Silverlight

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Windows at 10:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell as a toy

Summary: More evidence arrives showing that Novell is simply advancing Microsoft at the expense of GNU/Linux

AS the previous post put it, Microsoft and Apple want developers to make their products more attractive and the Mono project has been helpful to both. Mono helps .NET, Visual Studio, and in turn Windows also [1, 2, 3, 4]. Mono also helps the iPhone by driving developers towards it. In general, Mono is channeling valuable resources in the direction of proprietary platforms.

“Novell and Microsoft have some big Silverlight news in store and Novell’s vice president is obviously excited about it.”Our reader Oiaohm has just reminded us of Mono’s role in displacing the GIMP [1, 2, 3] “If they were dropping it for [the] likes of digiKam,” argues Oiaohm, that it would be okay, “but [not] something .NET.” Oiaohm links to this article from a longtime proponent of Mono.

Novell and Microsoft have some big Silverlight news in store and Novell’s vice president is obviously excited about it [1, 2]. Over at The Source, Jason writes a sequel about “The Future of Moonlight”. From the his brand new essay:

It seems like just yesterday that Miguel de Icaza took such umbrage at being called a Microsoft apologist. Strange then, that he has now taken up the robes of a Microsoft evangelist, suggesting that it is at-long-last finally time to “start a movement to create a suite of Silverlight-based desktop applications”

As I pointed out earlier, Mr. de Icaza has abandonded even the pretense of promoting an Open Source development platform and seems perfectly content to promote Microsoft Silverlight as the new desktop “revolution”.

[...]

Let’s not dwell on the foolish and transparent attempt to deflect valid criticism as hate, but instead let’s look closer at his specific defense. Mr. de Icaza says he brought up about MonoTorrent, a GTK#-based application, but he also says he wants Silverlight to replace GTK#, and that he simply wants to re-implement MonoTorrent in Silverlight.

That’s a major problem with Mr. de Icaza. He doesn’t just want to build on top of what exists, he wants to replace what exists; replace with closed-source, proprietary, non-standard technology!

Later came this post from Jason, titled “de Icaza drools.”

So there you have it, folks. Mr. de Icaza speaks for Team Mono in direct support of the Microsoft Silverlight “Revolution” – encouraging development with Closed Source, Proprietary Software. People have been constantly raising flags that Novell / Mr. de Icaza / Team Mono have lost sight of Free Software as they grow ever closer to Microsoft, and this is a startlingly black mark proving warnings come true.

In sharing these two bits of news about Silverlight not being cross-platform (we warned about this almost 2 years ago), one of our readers said that it “could be interesting.”

It is indeed. It is interesting that a Novell vice president promotes Windows lock-in at the expense of Free software, but then again this vice president has a conflict of interests because he also works for Microsoft. Some of Novell’s top management (including members of the board whom we wrote about before) are connected to Microsoft, so for those who have not gotten the message yet, parts of Novell are in essence an extension of Microsoft. The guys in Nuremberg help hide this because they actually do great work (on GNU/Linux).

“Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft”

LinuxToday Managing Editor

Apple Likely to Lose Developers, Microsoft Wants Free Software Developers (for Windows)

Posted in Apple, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 9:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Apple headphones

Summary: Developers slowly realise that they are being bamboozled and exploited by Apple; Microsoft treats developers similarly, but it incentivises for defection away from GNU/Linux

SEVERAL days ago we wrote about the growing developer backlash against Apple. Paul Graham, who is highly regarded in his field, argues that this has caused great harm to Apple’s reputation among developers.

I don’t think Apple realizes how badly the App Store approval process is broken. Or rather, I don’t think they realize how much it matters that it’s broken.

The way Apple runs the App Store has harmed their reputation with programmers more than anything else they’ve ever done. Their reputation with programmers used to be great. It used to be the most common complaint you heard about Apple was that their fans admired them too uncritically. The App Store has changed that. Now a lot of programmers have started to see Apple as evil.

Microsoft is currently trying to capture Free software developers, using stunts and money. Apache is a recent example of this [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18].

“I notice the effect [that] Microsoft is having on Apache,” rants one of our readers. “Apache can’t even be bothered to stream in open formats.”

Microsoft Paid Caldera $280,000,000 and Made Incriminating Evidence Go “Poof!”

Posted in Courtroom, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, Office Suites, SCO, UNIX at 9:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

File cabinet

Summary: Details about the Caldera settlement surface in Microsoft/Novell papers

ONE YEAR ago we wrote about Microsoft turning out the lights on the Caldera case using a secret settlement [1, 2]. Comes vs Microsoft ended with a similar type of settlement, but we do not know how much Microsoft paid. We are fortunate that Grouchy had acquired a copy of all the evidence before it unexpectedly went “poof” as part of the settlement.

Groklaw has just discovered how much Microsoft paid Caldera. Here is the crucial part from an article about Novell vs Microsoft (WordPerfect).

I’m so glad you answered my question with a resounding Yes as to whether you wanted to get all the exhibits attached to Microsoft’s Memorandum of Law [PDF] in support of Microsoft’s cross motion for summary judgment in the Novell v. Microsoft antitrust litigation. We finally find out what Microsoft paid Caldera to settle the DrDOS litigation back in 2000: $280 million. We even get to read the settlement agreement. It’s attached as an exhibit. Can you imagine? I’m so surprised.

The settlement terms were sealed for all these years, but lo and behold, now that mystery is solved. There are many more goodies on the list of exhibits.

We also find out what Caldera/Canopy then paid Novell from that $280 million: $35.5 million at first, and then after Novell successfully sued Canopy in 2004, Caldera’s successor-in-interest on this matter, an additional $17.7 million, according to page 16 of the Memorandum.

No doubt these numbers will come in handy in the future.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: November 24th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:42 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Links 24/11/2009: KDE Icon on TV, Ubuntu Netbook Remix Reviewed

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

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Google

    • Installing Google Chrome OS

      Google Chrome OS is based on Ubuntu, now Ubuntu by default has a lot of extra not-really-needed packages, so I’m guessing they just hadn’t got around to removing them.

      If I install a base install of Debian, X-Window system and desktop manager I can get it in about the same amount of space (500mb or so).

    • Would You Accept Google’s Free Netbook?

      So, if Google offered you a fast, light, compact netbook for nothing, in exchange for a few ads appearing here and there as you work, would you accept? Or do you think the price you would pay in terms of the company knowing even more about what you do on an hour-by-hour basis would be just too high?

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Konqueror Icon Setting TV’s Ablaze

      KDE software has previously been spotted on “24″ (FOX), “Alias” (ABC), “Dexter” (Showtime), “Heroes” (NBC), “House, M.D.” (FOX) and “Shark” (also on CBS). If you’ve seen it anywhere else, chime in below!

  • Distributions

    • Dell Shows Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Some Love

      As Canonical prepares to launch Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) in April 2010, there are signs Dell will show considerable love to the Long Term Support (LTS) release. Here are some preliminary details about Dell’s look at Ubuntu 10.04.

    • Ubuntu Netbook Remix review

      Although it’s based on the popular Linux distro, Ubuntu Netbook Remix (UNR) is not a pruned down version of Ubuntu. Instead, its developers discarded old, legacy code not relevant to netbook systems.

      [...]

      Ubuntu Netbook Remix has a tightly integrated and speedy feel to it, and an easy on the eyes design. We found UNR’s quick launch UI not only attractive but so convenient and quick to navigate that we preferred it to the usual desktop interface. Even if your netbook runs Windows XP or 7, you should give Ubuntu Netbook Remix a try.

    • Google Chrome OS benched against Moblin & Ubuntu Netbook Remix

      Interestingly, Ubuntu Netbook Remix 9.10 came out on top, having the best battery life and lowest CPU/memory usage. The desktop distro OpenSUSE 11.2, was second, whilst Moblin 2.1 came third. Chromium OS was bottom of the pile, although considering very early source code has been released this is not entirely surprising.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • 5 open source VoIP softphones to watch

    The steady rise in people using IP telephony to communicate — for personal and business reasons — has led to the development of a number of different VoIP “softphones” that can be used on a PC or notebook.

  • Nmap 5.10BETA1 released

    Hi folks. I’m happy to announce our first post-5.00 release! It contains the results of a full five months of work, since the 5.00 release candidate was branched off in June. Good work, everybody!

  • Students line up for new free software master at open universities

    Two of Europe’s open universities, the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya in Spain and Open Universiteit in the Netherlands, are about to start the first courses of what will become a Master programme on free and open source software and open standards, The Free Technology Academy (FTA). The program could prove popular, the number of early registrations shows.

  • Episode 0x1B: Jeremy Allison of the Samba Team

    Bradley and Karen interview Jeremy Allison of the the Samba Team.

    This show was released on Thursday 19 November 2009; its running time is 00:55:38.

  • ES: CIO Extremadura ‘open source key to development’

    The use of open source software is fundamental to a sustainable and technologically independent development, says Rafael Martín Espada, Director General of ICT, regional government of Extremadura.

  • Openness

    • Spacehack: Open Source Astronomy for All

      After all the hullabaloo over Balloon Boy, it’s reassuring to learn that some Americans look up for reasons other than media pranks. In fact, whole communities of amateur astronomers and citizen scientists look to the skies for discovery, education, and inspiration. Aiding them in those pursuits is Spacehack, an online directory of and for people who want to participate in space exploration.

    • Making Open Source Communities (and Open Cities) More Efficient

      My friend Diederik and I are starting to work more closely with some open source projects about how to help “open” communities (be they software projects or cities) become more efficient.

    • Promoting Open Source Science

      Open Source Science is a collaborative and transparent approach to science. To me, it means four things:

      1. Open Source: the use of open and freely accessible software tools for scientific research and collaboration.
      2. Open Notebook: transparency in experimental design and data management.
      3. Open Data: public accessibility of scientific data, which allows for distribution, reuse and derived works.
      4. Open Access: public access to scholarly literature.

Leftovers

  • Hacking: who does what to whom?

    A couple of days ago, Jesse Sheidlower wrote to me about the recent climate-scientist email controversy. Since Jesse is a lexicographer, he wasn’t writing about whether this is the blue-dress moment for anthropogenic climate change, or a nontroversy based on the shocking discovery that scientists are not always scrupulously fair-minded in private. Rather, Jesse was concerned about the argument structure of the verb hack.

    [...]

    So it doesn’t surprise me to find that “…hack [into] A for B” turns into things like “How to hack money from the Godfather in Mafia Wars”, or “They hacked the [credit card] numbers from 9 major retailers”, or “Many people used to hack CSS files from the web”.]

  • Volunteers Log Off as Wikipedia Ages

    Wikipedia.org is the fifth-most-popular Web site in the world, with roughly 325 million monthly visitors. But unprecedented numbers of the millions of online volunteers who write, edit and police it are quitting.

  • Of Credibility, Openness and Scientific Tribalism

    It looks like the greatest enemy to climate change science comes not from the denialists – be they fools or knaves – but from narrow-minded tribalists within the scientific community itself who cannot see the bigger picture. Perhaps we should be grateful for the ugly fissures that the CRU incident seems to reveal, since it gives the people concerned a chance to heal them before they lead to irreversible fractures.

  • Explaining ClimateGate: A history of distrust

    It should go without saying that writing an e-mail that includes Freedom of Information in the subject line and advises other people to delete e-mails is an act of amazing boneheadedness. At the very least, it stinks to high heaven. Of all the hacked e-mails I’ve been able to review so far, this one strikes me as the most damning, coming, as it does, in the context of others that make it clear that Jones was dead set on resisting Freedom of Information requests.

  • Unwritten Stories Reveal New Climate Scandal!

    But a much bigger scandal is just waiting to break.

    That scandal?

    1) Climate change is real, it’s here, we’re causing it, and it’s worse than we thought it was.

    2) There is no “debate” about #1; the completely massively overwhelming majority of all the scientists studying this issue, from nearly every angle, agree. Indeed, they agree in such a total majority that we might as well say all scientists agree that climate change is real, is here, is caused by people and is worse than we thought it was.

  • Police State

    • Once Again, If The Gov’t Has Data, It Will Be Abused

      The latest example, found via Michael Scott is the news that a police chief in Iowa has been suspended after he supposedly revealed data that he never should have had in the first place, supposedly handing out information on someone’s driving record and criminal history, despite having no legal reason to even have that info, let alone distribute it to anyone.

    • UK jails schizophrenic for refusal to decrypt files

      The first person jailed under draconian UK police powers that Ministers said were vital to battle terrorism and serious crime has been identified by The Register as a schizophrenic science hobbyist with no previous criminal record.

      His crime was a persistent refusal to give counter-terrorism police the keys to decrypt his computer files.

    • Manchester united against ID cards, ID minister finds

      Sir Joseph Pilling told the Home Affairs committee that 538 people were now on the database – one of them foreign the rest Brits. Pilling is the UK ID czar and is described as “an independent voice… safeguarding the public’s privacy and identity rights”, although he’s been a Home Office Sir Humphrey since 1966.

    • Leaked documents reveal No 10 cover-up over Iraq invasion

      Military commanders are expected to tell the inquiry into the Iraq war, which opens on Tuesday, that the invasion was ill-conceived and that preparations were sabotaged by Tony Blair’s government’s attempts to mislead the public.

      They were so shocked by the lack of preparation for the aftermath of the invasion that they believe members of the British and US governments at the time could be prosecuted for war crimes by breaching the duty outlined in the Geneva convention to safeguard civilians in a conflict, the Guardian has been told.

      The lengths the Blair government took to conceal the invasion plan and the extent of military commanders’ anger at what they call the government’s “appalling” failures emerged as Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry’s chairman, promised to produce a “full and insightful” account of how Britain was drawn into the conflict.

    • Graham Allen says it as it is

      Graham Allen MP has tried harder, with more patience and less thanks, to get Labour to embrace genuine democratic reform than perhaps any other member of his Party, not to speak of his fellow MPs. Now, as yet another Committee reports on how the Commons could be reformed, ePolitix has just published his stark, bitter reflection, asking whether we need (or deserve) a parliament at all. Here it is in full:

      Parliament is sick and decaying – and neither the government nor the media want it to recover.

      A strong parliament would challenge their current duopoly of political power.

    • UK role in torture of British citizens in Pakistan condemned

      Britain’s role in the torture of its own citizens in Pakistan is condemned today by one of the world’s leading human rights organisations as being cruel, counter-productive and in clear breach of international law.

  • Finance

    • Capitalism’s Fundamental Flaw

      Also, in the recent financial crisis, we’ve seen the government intervene on a massive scale, including putting billions into dead or dying companies such as General Motors. Thankfully, however, the government did not continue to do so, and GM entered bankruptcy as it very well deserved. No matter how stupidly Michael Moore’s new film, Capitalism: A Love Story, argues that GM owed its plight to management not respecting the unions, most intelligent people acknowledge that it was the union-enforced inflexibility that brought about the outcome. Here too, capitalism is doing its job of self-correcting.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Opera web browser ‘censors’ Chinese content

      Previously traffic ran over Opera servers bypassing the so-called Great Firewall of China, making the browser popular with Chinese users.

      Opera confirmed that it had started directing users of the international version of the mobile browser to the Chinese version on 20 November.

    • Protests grow over digital bill

      The Digital Economy bill has sparked a wave of protest among consumers and rights groups.

      Soon after the bill began its journey through Parliament on 19 November, many expressed worries about parts of it.

    • Setting the record straight on Net neutrality and infrastructure investment

      A new report by the U.S advocacy group Free Press provides clear evidence that, despite the claims of some Internet Serivce Providers, Net neutrality will not harm network investment. On the contrary, the report shows that legal protections in favor of an open Internet will have a positive impact on investment in both the network and applications markets.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Fox calls for US to join France

      MOVIE MONGER Fox Studios is lobbying the US government to pass an anti-piracy law modelled on the one that is being introduced in France.

      The chief executive of Fox Filmed Entertainment said Monday the US should join France in cutting off the Internet connections of users who repeatedly download copyright protected films.

    • Britain’s new Internet law — as bad as everyone’s been saying, and worse. Much, much worse.

      The British government has brought down its long-awaited Digital Economy Bill, and it’s perfectly useless and terrible. It consists almost entirely of penalties for people who do things that upset the entertainment industry (including the “three-strikes” rule that allows your entire family to be cut off from the net if anyone who lives in your house is accused of copyright infringement, without proof or evidence or trial), as well as a plan to beat the hell out of the video-game industry with a new, even dumber rating system (why is it acceptable for the government to declare that some forms of artwork have to be mandatorily labelled as to their suitability for kids? And why is it only some media? Why not paintings? Why not novels? Why not modern dance or ballet or opera?).

    • European MPs votes on new telecoms law

      It comes amid controversial laws being introduced in France and the UK to cut off persistent illegal downloaders.

    • EU Telecom Package To Enter Into Force In December

      The European Parliament today formally approved an update to European telecommunications rules aimed at enforcing consumer rights and supporting a single European market. But the change might also leave the door open for legislation restricting the internet in member countries and potentially questionable traffic management practice by internet service providers, according to a consumer group.

    • UK and 12 Other Member States issue Statement on Telecoms Reform Package [UPDATED]

      Almost two weeks ago I was sent a draft copy of a statement the UK had sent to the Council of Europe which it wanted the Council to publish on behalf of all member states. The statement was based on how the UK would like the Telecoms Reform Package to be interpreted by Member States (MS) and contained a few paragraphs twisting the intent of ammendments to Article 5(3) of Directive 2002/58/EC with regards to informed consent.

      [...]

      My source goes on to explain that from a legal standpoint the statement is “without value” as all member states are required to change their national laws to reflect the revised text of Article 5(3) and also enforce those laws.

    • Digital economy bill: A punishing future

      The digital economy bill is misnamed. A more honest title for the legislation, recently introduced in the Lords, would be the copyright protection and punishment bill. It is less about creating the digital businesses of the 21st century than protecting the particular 20th century business models used in music and film.

    • Here comes a pan-European copyright regime?

      Viviane Reding, accepting an award in Barcelona this morning, flagged her intention to try to extend Brussels’ powers to legislate for copyright in the wake of the Lisbon Treaty.

    • Mandy and Me: some thoughts on the Digital Economy Bill

      ISPs hold an unfortunate piggy-in-the-middle position in all this, forced by the threat of a fine of up to £250,000 to co-operate with rightsholders, even though they gain nothing from the process but overheads and customer ill-will. I have said elsewhere that I do not think it is just or sensible to enrol ISPs as “copyright cops”, but if they are to be, they need strong protection from liability, ideally in the form of an indemnity from the rightsholders who actually plan to benefit from this whole stramash. ISPs face potential liability for sending out libellous allegations to subscribers, and again for disconnecting the wrong person on erroneous evidence, and in breach of contract, However currently all ISPs get by way of protection is the feather-light provision that an indemnity may – not must – be provided by the Code to be drafted (again, no further details now– see new s 124J(4)(b). If I were an ISP, I’d be going out now to price a shedload of legal liability insurance J – or to check out moving offshore.

    • Mandelson’s ‘three strikes’ rule in jeopardy

      The European Parliament tried hard to change the directive in question and proposed Amendment 138, which read: ‘No restriction may be imposed on the fundamental rights and freedoms of end users without a prior ruling by the judicial authorities, notably in accordance with Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union on freedom of expression and information.’

    • EMI Finds Music Sales Actually Growing, Despite Terra’s Troubles

      Terra Firma may have written off 90 percent of its investment in the label after Citigroup refused to ignore about half the debt it provided for the deal, but – slowly, slowly – EMI Group is turning a corner.

    • Radioactive assumptions in the Digital Economy Bill

      Alarmist conspiracy theory? Perhaps. But with the strange business of ACTA — the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, negotiated in high secrecy but reputed to impose draconian rules on over a billion people to match or exceed those proposed in the bill — it’s hard to argue that these issues are receiving proper public debate.

Links 24/11/2009: New GNOME Journal, Free Software in Estonian Government

Posted in News Roundup at 9:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Review: Kahel OS

    I would look forward to see Kahel OS further incorporate Arch Linux’s flexibility into the installer and yet maintaining Its simplicity. Like giving users an option to choose a group like full/light desktop or desktop with multimedia needs during the installation proccess. A gui installer would also be an good addition for Kahel OS.

  • CERN’s LHC pioneers quantum leap in cloud computing

    Born from the collaborative efforts of more than 80 people in 12 different academic and industrial research centres as part of the EGEE Project, gLite provides an open-source framework for building grid applications tapping into the power of distributed computing and storage resources across the Internet.

    [...]

    It is expected that these sorts of open source middleware solutions emerging in the academic realm will increasingly inform the development of applications in the corporate environment running on Linux and other platforms in the future.

  • Google

    • Chromium OS – Digging deeper into the open source Chrome OS

      With the arrival of the first code of Chrome OS, also known as Chromium OS in its open source form, the H takes a deeper look at the browser-centric operating system.

    • Chrome OS packaged for virtual run-throughs

      Hackers have compiled bootable images of the code released by Google’s Chrome OS project. We tested out one of the images on VirtualBox, and despite the limitations of the early code, we found a flexible, extensible web browsing environment that runs well in as little as 256MB of RAM.

  • Kernel Space

    • Advisory Against WiFi Drivers in Linux Staging Tree

      Williams recommends working with the drivers “with a future,” which use the kernel’s mac80211 stack (such as the rtx00 drivers), and leave the old drivers alone. There are just too few developers, he says, and priorities must be set. In the former case developers might have to wait six months to get a decent wireless driver, but then will get great software, with power-saving, background scanning and other modern functions.

    • PulseAudio 0.9.21 Arrives With Device Manager

      It was less than two weeks ago that PulseAudio 0.9.20 was released as a bug-fix release, but PulseAudio 0.9.21 was pushed out today to offer up more bug-fixes. Besides carrying eight bug fixes to this software package that is loved by some and hated by others, PulseAudio 0.9.21 also integrates the device-manager module.

  • Games

    • Alien Arena 2009 – Dark, morbid and a whole lot of fun

      Alien Arena 2009 is a big improvement over the earlier releases. But even when you judge it from its own perspective, the latest Alien Arena 2009 is a good game. It may not appeal to everyone, especially people who prefer brightly lit or open First Person Shooters. But for Doom-lovers, it’s ideal.

      The game setting is morbid, dark, with lots of fizzling-green-bubbly-radiation symbols that characterized the early age of atomic/space research. I dare hazard to say that it may not be suitable for younger people. On the other hand, for those sane of mind and soul, Alien Arena is great fun. Lots of colorful maps and weapons, good music, fast, brutal, uncompromising action. Everything you need after a long, hard day at work.

    • Quake 4 Bot that actually works
  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • Wikis to open drug development sharing

      Taking the open concept a step further is the Bioinformatics Organization, an open source practitioner that uses wiki software to let researchers post their models, questions, experiments and discoveries.

      [...]

      The Bioinformatics Internet site currently notes the release of BioPuppy 2.0, a minimal Linux operating system and workbench for bioinformatics and computational biology. Version 2.0 is based on the current Linux kernel version on Puppy Linux 4.2.1.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Cash in on tech buying binge

        One strategy is to look for potential acquisition targets. Red Hat Inc. (RHT/NYSE) is a leader in open source software and enterprise computing based on the Linux operating system. It could make a tempting acquisition for a company like IBM. Conservative investors won’t like Red Hat’s price-to-earnings ratio of 62, but they’ll be impressed by the firm’s track record in tripling its revenue over the past four years.

    • Debian Family

      • PiTiVi – A brief overview.

        The next release of Ubuntu Linux, code named Lucid Lynx, will come with some new apps that will be making their first debut. If the rumors going round is correct, then one of the newbie apps will be the video editor PiTiVi. We also know that the very powerful but overly complex looking GIMP will be dropped but will of course remain in the repos for those that use it. So today, I’d like us to just take a brief look at PiTiVi, what it is, what it can do and more.

      • Nice Ubuntu 9.10 (Karmic) Wallpapers
      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 169

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #169 for the week November 15th – November 21st, 2009. In this issue we cover: Lucid Ubuntu Developer Summit Videos, New LoCo Council Members, America’s Membership Board Meeting: November 18th, 2009, Developer Membership Board public meeting, LoCo Contact Change: Wisconsin LoCo Team, Doctor Mo: Ice Skating at UDS, Matthew Helmke: Heading Home from UDS-L, Joe Baker: An Interview with Richard Johnson (nixternal), Martin Pitt: Nicer Launchpad upstream releases with lp-project-upload, and much, much more!

      • The Bizarre Cathedral – 60
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Four-bay SOHO NAS runs Linux

      Synology America Corp. is shipping a four-bay network-attached storage (NAS) device, offering up to 8TB sharable RAID storage for home and small business users. The Linux-based DS410j is equipped with an 800MHz processor, a gigabit Ethernet port, two USB ports, and version 2.2 of Synology’s DNLA-compliant Disk Station Manager software.

    • Cortex-A8 COM offers extended temperature support

      Italian embedded Linux firm Dave announced a CPU module based on Texas Instruments’ ARM Cortex-A8-based AM3505 and AM3517 system-on-chips (SoCs). The 2.7 x 2/0-inch “Lizard” module offers connectivity including CAN, I2C, Ethernet, and serial I/O, provides extended temperature support, and is available with a Linux-ready evaluation board.

    • Phones

      • Android Continues To Make Inroads

        Google’s Android is growing like a weed. Perhaps even a weed that’s been fertilized and watered as if it was a desirable flower. A new report from AdMob lays out some impressive usage statistics and hints that there’s much more to come.

      • Nokia N900 mobile phone

        The N900 drops the moniker of “internet tablet”, choosing to push forward with “mobile computer” as this model comes in to supplant the N810, released back in 2007. Two-years along and the landscape of internet-savvy mobile devices has changed greatly. Can this Nokia pocket computer trade blows with the best of them?

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Powerful Ideas in Sugar Learning Platform

        The Sugar software for the OLPC XO (and, with Sugar on a Stick, for almost any other recent computer with an x86 processor) is based in part on Seymour Papert’s educational classic, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas.

        [...]

        Another powerful idea is to replace printed textbooks with media and software under Free Licenses such as GPL (GNU Public License) or Creative Commons, as California has begun to do with PDFs of textbooks. But we can go further that that. We can use Sugar tools to create models in math and science. We can use the XO for data acquisition, using Measure and Record, the digital oscilloscope and camera, and we can use the math capabilities of Sugar software to analyze the data. We can help children explore the vast realms of art, music, and literature. But how do we get children to that level?

      • Showcase your free and open source projects

        OLPC NZ (One Laptop Per Child) will be there to entertain children with the new XO laptops. There will also be a number of talks scheduled during the LCA2010 Open Day, which will introduce you to FOSS software. The event is free for all to attend.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Roundcube: the world’s coolest Open Source webmail project?

    At Sirius we have recently started using and deploying Roundcube in favour of the tried and tested (but very old) Squirrelmail. Impressed by it’s beautiful front-end, ease of use and obvious extensibility, Tom Callway spoke to Till Klampaeckel and Thomas Bruederli, two of Roundcube’s core developers, to find out more about this exciting project.

  • Digium Expands Partner Program With New Level

    Digium is expanding its channel partner program — potentially engaging more resellers that want to embrace Asterisk, the open source IP PBX. Digium has been particularly active with channel partners in recent months. Here’s the scoop.

  • Free labour

    Jason Walsh is in favour of free software, so why does he have a problem with the worlds of open source and free content?

  • Open-source EMR opens doors to quality care

    Among the technologies Kanter is working with is OpenMRS, an open-source EMR platform developed in Kenya to be the foundation of self-sustaining health IT implementation in parts of the world stricken by HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other diseases that make the H1N1 virus look like the sniffles.

  • Semantics

    • The Success of “Open Source”

      You might not know it based on some current community commentary, but at its origin the term “Open Source” was intended to be a straight drop-in replacement for “Free Software”. There was no philosophical or conceptual difference; instead there was a linguistic concern (”free” has multiple meanings) and a marketing concern (”free” makes “corporate types nervous”).

      To a very large degree, the marketing angle has been a smashing success: “Open Source” is a fantastically popular buzzword, so popular in fact it is applied to home plans, literature, live rock concerts, embroidery, scientific research, mayoral elections, and a wide array of other non-Software happenings with varying degrees of accuracy in the labeling.

      There are two problems with this “success”:

      1. “Open Source” is distorted, stretched and co-opted for (im)pure marketing purposes; and
      2. “Open Source” is applied with only the vaguest understanding of what it actually means

    • Defining open mobile

      At least part of that perception problem, it turns out, is the many definitions for the word “open.” (See a sampling of definitions we collected for “open” scattered throughout this cover package.) There are open models for the distribution of content and apps, open-source operating systems and open-access policies pertaining to the network itself. An operator can be open in one sense but closed in another. For his part, Lowell McAdam, CEO of Verizon Wireless, refuses to get caught up in parsing definitions.

  • Google

    • Google reveals Chrome OS – Google and it’s love of Open Source Continues

      Google announced that Chrome OS will include a unique security mechanism. After reading Google’s announcement, Google has decided to return to the basics by entirely revamping the underlying security structure of the OS. This will mark Google’s attempt to combat the ever so present viruses, malware and all too common security patches.

    • Google goes all-in with an open source cloud

      Google quietly announced last week that its cloud will run nothing but open source software.

      This is a big deal, but let’s first admit why Google did it.

  • Sun

    • Oracle May Remove Competitor in Sun Purchase, EU Says

      Oracle would have “total control” of MySQL’s source code and intellectual property, the European Commission said in a document obtained by Bloomberg News. Oracle could change the terms of MySQL’s open-source licenses, restricting the ability of other companies to develop competing products.

    • Oracle gets more time to defend Sun buy

      The European Commission (EC) has granted Oracle extra time to respond to its anti-trust concerns over the US$7.4bn ($8.1bn) acquisition of Sun Microsystems.

    • Nexenta Systems pushes NexentaStor forward with open storage and ZFS

      Nexenta Systems Inc. is sticking with Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Zettabyte File System (ZFS) despite uncertainty around the open-source file format, and recently upgraded its NexentaStor unified storage software based on ZFS and Sun’s OpenSolaris.

  • CMS

    • Linux Journal using Drupal and Mollom

      Linux Journal is a monthly magazine focused specifically on Linux. Linux Journal switched to Drupal in 2005, and hasn’t looked back since. Last year in October of 2008 Linux Journal decided to turn to Mollom to protect their site against spammers.

    • Joomla! investment in devs paying off

      Elin Waring, the president of Open Source Matters , the non-profit that administers the project, said in a post on the Joomla! community portal that targeted fund-raising had enabled the project to pay Louis Landry and Andrew Eddie to each spend one to two days working on Joomla! over the last two months.

    • Momentum Builds for Open Content Management Standard

      Open-source CMS vendor Alfresco is also a backer. The company said Monday it has included support in the 3.2 version of its platform for CMIS 1.0, which is now in a public review period scheduled to end Dec. 22. CMIS’ inclusion in Alfresco 3.2 will enable users to get a hands-on look during the review period, the company said.

    • UMS portal may not cost students

      Gregory said one of the vendors that presented at a Sept. 30 meeting of the visioning committee is Unicon, a software consulting services firm that focuses on software portals for universities. It is unknown if Unicon is the vendor that offered the $20 per student fee estimate. Unicon presented two products to the committee: uPortal and Liferay, both open-source options.

      Redonnett said the four options Caruso and the IT directors are considering are an open-source program from a vendor, joining a consortium of universities that use an open-source option, a portal developed by a vendor around a set of requirements defined by the system and a pre-developed solution from a company. She said about 70 percent of colleges and universities have software portals like the one proposed for the system or are currently working to create one.

  • Business

    • Enterprise integrator launches open source solution

      Systems integrator, Object Consulting, has struck an enterprise software partnership with open source vendor, Ingres.

    • Give and take

      So, why then have so many players turned their back on their moral obligation to repay the value open source has brought into their lives with an equal or reciprocal effort?

      The only answer I can think of is greed.

      Uninformed hardware vendors (who are feeling the pain of the economic downturn worse than the other players in the IT market) are some of the biggest culprits, bundling freely downloadable versions of Linux and products that aren’t backed by any form of support infrastructure on their desktops, notebooks and servers – and claiming that they support open source.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU

    • FSF works with PayPal to the benefit of the free software community

      The Free Software Foundation thanks PayPal for responding to its concerns and making its terms more free software friendly.

    • Bona fide open source

      Has open source become a victim of its own success as businesses identify as it just to look good?

      [...]

      The Free Software movement emerged from Richard Stallman’s project to create a a UNIX-like free operating system in September 1983.

      ‘Open Source’ emerged much later, in 1998, after Linux and free software had begun to amass a substantial following among users and developers and had made significant inroads into the computer industry.

      Some saw ‘open source’ as a radical departure from the objectives of free software, but many saw it as a rebranding which made it easier to sell free software to a business audience, shorn of the political trimmings that gave the free software movment its edginess.

      The Open Source Definition took its substance from the Debian Free Software Guidelines.

      “Open source is a development methodology; free software is a social movement,” wrote Stallman.

  • Government

  • Programming

    • Ruby shining on Java, Windows, and Mac OS

      Future plans for JRuby include cleaning up performance issues, offering a new optimizing compiler and JVM integration parity with other languages, such as Groovy. Also planned is support of the Java 7 invokedynamic capability, to improve how Ruby does method calls. Code will run faster via this capability.

    • NYT: SAS facing stiff competition

      In a front-page article in Sunday’s business section, the New York Times takes a look at SAS and how it is increasingly facing competition from both proprietary and open-source alternatives.

      [...]

      But competition is coming from the other direction, too: open-source. The article specifically mentions R, which competes with SAS to offer high-end statistical and predictive analyses.

    • New open source language for developing digital signal processor

      The high-level language, called Feldspar (Functional Embedded Language for DSP and PARallelism, a language embedded into Haskell), will make DSP software development easier and more efficient, says András Vajda, senior specialist in Software Research and project coordinator at Ericsson for Feldspar.

Leftovers

  • Prosecutors Drop Plans to Appeal Lori Drew Case

    Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed a notice that they do not intend to pursue an appeal in the Lori Drew cyberbullying case, thus ending the controversial and lengthy case.

  • Here’s a First: Man Arrested for Not Using Twitter

    Terrifying? Inevitable? Harbinger? In any case, it’s a first: Police in Long Island, New York, have arrested a man for not using Twitter.

    Someone named Justin Bieber, who apparently is a teenage singer, was supposed to appear at the Roosevelt Field mall on Friday, but stayed away because the crowd had become too unruly. Police asked a record label executive to help disperse the horde using the messaging service, and claim he didn’t cooperate.

  • Traffic cameras used to harass and limit movement of peaceful protestors

    Britain is full of license-plate cameras, cameras used to send you tickets if you’re caught speeding, or driving in the bus-lane, or entering London’s “congestion-charge zone” without paying the daily fee for driving in central London. And because of Chekhov’s first law of narrative (“a gun on the mantelpiece in act one will go off by act three”), the police have decided to also use these cameras as a surveillance tool, to “catch terrorists” (and other bad guys). So any police officer can add any license number to the database of “people of interest” and every time that license plate passes a camera, the local police force will receive an urgent alert, and can pull over the car, detain the driver, and search the car and its passengers under the Terrorism Act.

  • Dear PR People: If Your Exec Has A Comment, Our Comments Are Open

    I recently put a message on Twitter about this, saying that, for all the PR people who had someone “available for comment” on stories, the comments on Techdirt are enabled and open for them to comment on any story they feel is relevant. It got a really good response on Twitter, so I figured I’d expand on it into a post. If you are a PR person, and you represent someone who has “a comment” on a particular story, please point them to the site where they are free to comment away, along with everyone else, as a part of a conversation, not some PR effort. And, please don’t be offended if I just emailed you a link to this post in response to your offer to have some random exec “comment” on some unrelated story.

  • Finance

    • Goldman’s Non-Apology

      That is absurd. Goldman has repaid its initial $10 billion bailout allotment, but that is only a sliver of its taxpayer support. The firm was paid $12.9 billion, for example, in the bailout of American International Group, and a report by the bailout’s inspector general refutes Goldman’s claim that it did not need the money. Perhaps the biggest continuing prop is that the government clearly considers Goldman too big to fail, which means that taxpayers are on the hook if Goldman faces the abyss again.

    • I Retract My Apology and Call for More Regulation of Goldman Sachs

      Goldman’s status in the event of an AIG collapse would have been that of a credit default swap counterparty during a global crisis with very special circumstances. Goldman thought it would get to keep the billions in dollars it received from AIG, if AIG collapsed. That would normally be the case, but these would have been extraordinary circumstances inflamed by value-destroying CDOs over which Goldman had pricing power, and Goldman had underwritten some of the CDOs. Authorities charged with resolving a collapse of AIG may have clawed back a substantial portion of the collateral.

    • Goldman Sachs’s Tax Rate Drops to 1%, or $14 Million

      Goldman Sachs, which got $10 billion and debt guarantees from the U.S. gov’t in October, is on pace for the best year in the firm’s history but it is only paying 1 percent in taxes! Yahoo: Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanely are looking to give India $1 billion in IT outsourcing contracts. Hell of a way to thank American taxpayers and workers.

    • Citizen Action coming to Jersey City to demand Goldman Sachs donates bonus money

      Goldman Sachs still owes the government $53 billion in bailout money, yet the company is making record profits and paying out big bonuses while millions of citizens are losing their jobs, the group said.

    • Sorry just doesn’t cut it, Goldman-Sachs

      So Goldman-Sachs,

      * put many former employees in positions of government allowing unchecked derivatives to flourish (to the tune of hundreds of trillions of dollars) and removing regulation that may have prevented this asset bubble, in effect financialising our government,
      * fueled the sub-prime mortgage crisis through securitization and encouraging mortgage brokers to make the loans without proper due diligence,
      * paid rating agencies to get (triple) AAA ratings on junk bonds,
      * took the other side of their clients’ trades after they sold them the bad debt,
      * took insurance on the bad debt at AIG without telling any clients,
      * watched the markets collapse and millions of people get traumatized as they lost their jobs by the millions,
      * eliminated their competition (Lehman, Merrill and Bear Stearns) by way of Hank Paulson letting them fail,

    • Goldman’s Response to Questions About A.I.G.
    • Wall Street: Is It Good to Apologize for Greed?

      It happened during another turbulent era in finance: The 1901 takeover battle over the Northern Pacific railroad, perhaps the fiercest such contest in U.S. history. However, like so many struggles on Wall Street to this day, it was really a fight for power and dominance, of outsized ego and overheated rivalry.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Senators Sanders and Brown ask White House to make ACTA text public

      The letter says “the public has a right to monitor and express informed views on proposals of such magnitude.”

      Senators Sanders and Brown say the ACTA negotiations have not been conducted in a manner consistent with the President’s January 21, 2009 Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government.

    • Heads Of Major Movies Studios Claiming They Just Want To Help Poor Indie Films Harmed By Piracy

      It looks like the heads of the studios have all received their talking points from the same source (MPAA?) on this one. They’re going to talk up the supposed harm to indie films, even as the indie film market appears to be figuring stuff out on its own (in part due to smart indie film producers embracing file sharing as a better means of distribution and promotion). My guess is that the strategy is a response to the realization that those massive box office returns don’t look good when the major studios argue for more draconian copyright laws, so just as the RIAA makes up stories about “protecting the up-and-coming artist,” the major studios and the MPAA are now using a bogus PR strategy of “protecting the indie filmmaker,” when all they really want are more laws to offer additional protectionist policies for the next blockbuster.

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