Links 01/12/2009: New Qt, Rails 2.3.5 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 10:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Top five business technologies of the ’00s

    1. Linux. If you were going to name the ’00s after any single technology, you might as well call it the Linux decade. The first Linux kernel was released in 1991, but mainstream enterprise adoption of Linux was decidedly a ’00s thing. Not only did Linux open up a whole new role for x86 hardware, it changed the economics and development model of the software business forever.

  • Server

    • IBM buys database security start-up Guardium

      The software is intended to help deal with regulatory requirements under legislation such as the European Data Protection Directive and the US federal government’s NIST 800-53 standard. In addition, it targets industry mandates, such as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).

    • IBM hoists Tivoli Monitoring onto Amazon cloud

      The 32-bit IBM Tivoli Monitoring AMI is running on Linux and available for production use.

  • Google

    • A Google-eyed view of the world wide web

      Based on Linux, the Chrome OS turns the basic concept of an operating system on its head. The main interface of the system will the browser, with applications incorporated like web pages in a tab strip. Of course, Google will retain the Chrome browser’s minimalist interface, and are said to be working towards security nuts and bolts in such a way as to make viruses and other malware history.

  • Instructionals

    • Linux Documentation From A User’s Viewpoint

      I’d like to put in my two cents’ worth on the matter of documentation. I’m not an expert like Carla Schroder or Bruce Byfield, the two who brought up the topic, but I’m the very sort of person who needs it most, still pretty much of a newbie, but one who learns best by reading. It’s a good thing reading is my preferred mode of learning, because as it happens I’ve not personally met a real live human who is a Linux expert, one who could give me over-the-shoulder instructions as I muddle through.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Droid Nears Its Million-Device Target

          Motorola and Verizon’s $100 million marketing push seems to be paying off: The much-ballyhooed Droid smartphone made by Motorola and powered by Google’s Android 2.0 OS is inching toward its goal of a million devices sold during the fourth quarter of 2009. The two companies have thus far sold between 700,000 and 800,000 Droids, according to data collected by RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Sue.

        • HD-ready smartphone supports Linux and Android

          ZiiLabs announced a mid-range smartphone development platform supporting its Android and Linux-based “Plaszma” stacks. The Zii Trinity is based on ZiiLabs’ dual ARM9-core “ZMS-05″ SoC, and provides 1080p video output, OpenGL graphics, HSDPA, WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, and a 3.1-inch, 800 x 480 OLED touchscreen, says the Creative Technology subsidiary.

        • Optus deliberately blocking Android paid apps

          Optus is blocking owners of Android mobile phones from buying paid apps from the Android store, while locking users into long service contracts.

        • Android Market On Archos 5 Internet Tablet

          Issues be gone! The folks at ArchosFans.com have figured out a way for owners of the Archos 5 to get Android Market and all of the Google Apps like Maps, Talk Calendar and more onto the the device!

      • Nokia

        • Qt adds multi-touch, supports Maemo and Symbian

          Nokia’s QT Software has upgraded its “Qt” cross-platform application and UI framework, now featuring multi-touch and gesture support. Qt 4.6 adds support for Nokia’s Symbian and Maemo platforms, and provides enhancements including new animation and state-machine frameworks, an updated Qt Creator IDE, and new OpenGL and WebKit engines.

        • Cross-platform strategy will be next step in Nokia’s transformation

          This began with the 2007 acquisition of Trolltech, which gave Nokia a cross-platform developer toolkit and serious Linux expertise. It became explicit with the launch of the most significant Nokia device for years, the N900, which propelled the Linux-based Maemo OS to center stage from its niche in enterprise mobile tablets. And the next step will be to make key Nokia weapons -Series 60, Trolltech’s tools, and the Ovi services themselves – cross-platform, to extend their reach over the whole industry. That will start with a dual Symbian/Maemo approach, mirroring Google’s for Android/Chrome, but like Google, Nokia will be aiming to see its tools and services on third party systems too.

        • Nokia To Release Linux-Based Phone Next Year

          Finnish cell phone maker Nokia is reportedly planning development of a single new Linux-based smartphone next year.

          A source told Reuters on Monday that Nokia has plans to unveil a new smartphone that would run on the Linux Maemo mobile operating system. The announcement may be troubling to some analysts who expected the firm to launch several Linux smartphones in an effort to outshine the competitors in Apple’s iPhone and Research In Motion’s Blackberry.

        • New Beta of Palm OS Emulator for Nokia Internet Tablets Released

          The most recent beta of the Palm OS emulator for Nokia Internet Tablets was set to expire, but Access Co. Ltd. has released a new one. This has no new other features, however.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Sun

    • Oracle-Sun: Statements and observations

      We know they revolve around the open source MySQL database, the European Commission has said that much. But the Statement of Objections weighs in at 155 pages, and even those that have read it admit to being confused by it. Meanwhile some of the most vocal parties in the public debate have vested interests in encouraging opinions for or against the deal.

    • What if Oracle’s buyout of Sun falls through?

      With Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems stalled by European Union deliberations, industry dignitaries offered mixed perspectives recently on the ultimate fate of the deal and what it could mean for Sun technologies if the deal falls through.

  • Mozilla

    • Extend Firefox 3.5 Winners

      Extend Firefox 3.5 has wrapped up and we’re very excited to announce the winners! With so many great entries, choosing winners was difficult- and these add-ons represent some of the best thinking in add-ons today.

    • Open-Xchange Offers New Connector Tool for Thunderbird

      The Community OXtender for Thunderbird is available in two versions. The stable version contains the features mentioned above, and any necessary bugfixes. The unstable version (for Thunderbird 3 and Lightning 1.0pre only) contains additional features that are still under development and not yet fully integrated.

  • CMS

    • Drupal 6.14, Introduction and Installation

      With all the great Open Source CMSes out there, it’s getting hard to make a choice as to which one to use for your site. After looking into many such CMSes, I decided to make Drupal the primary CMS for developing websites for my clients. Drupal is open-source software that is distributed under the GPL (“GNU General Public License”) and has a developer community comprised of thousands of users and developers.

  • Programming

    • Rails 2.3.5 Unofficial Release Notes

      Rails 2.3.5 is out but the official release notes have not yet appeared. So I thought it might be useful to share my own notes on what’s new in this version. This list is only the highlights, but it should give you an overview.

    • Rails upgrade fixes security issues, Ruby 1.9 compatibility

      Ruby on Rails 2.3.5, featuring security boosts and compatibility improvements for version 1.9 of the Ruby language, was released over the weekend, according to a blog post on the Ruby on Rails Web site.

    • Announcing the Winners of ADC 2

      Back in May at Google I/O, we announced ADC 2 — the second Android Developer Challenge — to encourage the development of cool apps that delight mobile users. We received many interesting and high-quality applications — everything from exciting arcade games to nifty productivity utilities. We also saw apps that took advantage of openness of Android to enhance system behavior at a deep level to provide users with a greater degree of customization and utility. We were particularly pleased to see submissions from many smaller and independent developers.


  • Scientology Charged With Slavery, Human Trafficking
  • Ozark Officer Who Used Taser on Girl Fired

    Ozark – The mayor of a small Arkansas town says the police officer who used a Taser on an unruly 10-year-old girl has been fired for not using the camera attached to the stun gun.

  • Finance

    • No Accountability, No Bernanke

      The Federal Reserve loaned out over $1.2 trillion and they still won’t say who got it. Here’s Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) asking about some of the unaccounted-for money:

      GRAYSON: So who got the money?

      BERNANKE: Financial institutions in Europe and other countries.

      GRAYSON: Which ones?

      BERNANKE: I don’t know.

      GRAYSON: Half-a-trillion dollars and you don’t know who got the money

    • Tough Talk Is Not Enough on Loan Modifications

      As double digit unemployment becomes the major driver of foreclosures and as the vast majority of adjustable rate mortgages have yet to trigger, the White House is finally getting the message that news footage of families being tossed to the curb during the holiday season will not help Democrats going into the 2010 election cycle.

      Tough talk is certainly welcome, but the Obama team doesn’t seem to understand that banks can’t be talked into or even shamed into doing the right thing. The majority simply don’t want to modify loans, and they will not unless they are ordered to do so by a judge.

  • AstroTurf

    • Another Brick in Boral’s Wall

      A major Australian building products company, Boral, has been forced to publish a full-page apology for its role in an astroturf campaign against BGC, which was seeking government approval for a new brickworks.

    • A Little Less Work for Lobbyists

      A White House policy of encouraging U.S. government agencies to exclude registered lobbyists from sitting on government advisory boards has irked some business lobby groups. In late September, Norm Eisen, the special counsel to the president for ethics and government reform, announced the administration’s aim of ensuring that “federally-registered lobbyists not be appointed to agency advisory boards and commissions.”

    • Lobbyists pushed off advisory panels
  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Music library disaster? How to rip songs from your iPod

      Admit it: you or someone you know has had at least one disaster in which you have lost your entire music library, didn’t have backups, and needed to rip it back off of your iPod.


      Though gtkpod doesn’t officially support the iPhone or iPod touch, it’s one of the simplest solutions available for Linux users. The most recent version, V0.99.14, supports classic iPods (including the iPod nano, iPod shuffle, iPod mini, and iPod video models) and makes use of the shared libgpod library in order to access the iPod’s music database. (iPhone and iPod touch are experimentally supported, but only if they are jailbroken first.)

  • Google

    • Shooting victim Michael Trkulja sues Google

      Michael Trkulja claims that a person putting his name into Google’s search engine will be directed to websites where his name and photograph are mixed with underworld figures and crime identities.

    • Google to limit free news access

      Newspaper publishers will now be able to set a limit on the number of free news articles people can read through Google, the company has announced.

    • Huffington: News Corp.’s Google-Free Ploy ‘Ain’t Gonna Happen’

      Count Arianna Huffington among those who doubt that Rupert Murdoch will pull News Corp’s articles from Google’s search index in favor of giving Bing exclusive access.

      “I’ll gladly wager my share of The Huffington Post that this ain’t gonna happen,” she said this morning at the Federal Trade Commission workshop “How Will Journalism Survive the Internet Age.”

    • Rupert Murdoch: Feds Should Stay Out Of News Business, Except, Of Course To Smack Down Google For Sending Me Traffic

      Rupert Murdoch stopped by at an FTC workshop on the future of journalism to say that the federal government should “stay out” of regulating the journalism business. Except, in the same speech he said exactly the opposite. What he meant was that he didn’t want the government to get in the business of funding journalism. Yet, in the very same speech he does say that the government shouldn’t allow Google to link to his news stories, calling it “theft” yet again.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Michael Shaw, community reporter for Assigment Zero 09 (2007)

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

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 1st, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

User Logins

Posted in Site News at 8:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Problems with account login probably resolved now

SOME regulars have complained in recent weeks that they could not log in/access their account. We also received two such reports today and decided to investigate (tedious process taking well over an hour). It turns out that excessive cashing was probably the culprit, so to all those who could not create an account or log into one, please retry now. We apologise for the inconvenience caused and appreciate having such problems reported.

The vast majority of Boycott Novell communication actually takes place in the public IRC channel, but comments are important too. Boycott Novell attracts about 7,500 unique IPs per day, but comments are few.

As a side note, the GIMP petition has been filled with abusive forgeries (three fake ones bearing my name for example). One might suspect that Mono/Novell/Microsoft fans are trying to deface or at least discredit/delegitimise the petition, which was not in any way created by this Web site (we were alerted about it after it had been created and asked to spread the word). The same goes for the protests in India.

Boycott Novell in India
India Boycott Novell protests, 2008

ACTA is on Europe’s Agenda (Next Monday) as Patent Devils Lurk

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 5:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Drift doll

Summary: Attempts to exorcise software patents are met with resistance through secret trade agreements like ACTA

According to a new European document which was leaked, ACTA contains bad news for opposers of intellectual monopolies (patents).

The president of the FFII has taken a look at the document and he also found out that the “ACTA Internet chapter [is] on the agenda on next Monday 7 December…”

Several days ago we mentioned a court victory for Virgin, which was actually bad news to proponents of intellectual monopolies, but Rovi has just issued a statement saying it will appeal, so just as we warned some days ago, this preliminary verdict was bound not to be final.

Rovi on Monday issued a statement–attributed to its SVP of worldwide patent licensing, Samir Armaly–making clear that it plans to appeal the court’s decision: “While we are pleased that the court found all of the patents to be infringed by Virgin, we strongly disagree with the court’s ruling on the validity issues, and intend to appeal the decision,” the statement read. “We also intend to continue to pursue Virgin and other unlicensed companies for their infringement of our intellectual property, to join the numerous companies who have already taken licenses to our patents issued throughout the world.”

Europe in general is under attack by intellectual monopolies. As we mentioned the other day, the very same people who benefit from software patents are lobbying for them and advocating them (for their wallets). This obvious conflict of interests did not prevent Slashdot from putting it in the front page, which led to angry responses, including this one from a FFII person.

“Software patents have been nothing but trouble for innovation. We the software engineers know this, yet we actually have full-blown posters in our break-room showcasing the individual engineers who came up with something we were able to push through the USPTO. Individually, we pretty much all consider the software-patent showcase poster to be a colossal joke.” —Kelledin, PLI: State Street Overruled… PERIOD

Pressure Mounts on Bill and Steve to Repay Stolen Money

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Fraud, Law, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 5:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Howdy said the meerkat

Summary: Microsoft is weaseling out of financial obligations, so the public is as mad as Hell and won’t take this anymore

A former Microsoft employee (probably disgruntled) is spilling the beans on the company he once served and he points the finger at Bill, Steve, and Brad (Smith), who are being labeled “the perpetrators”. We wrote about this a month ago and it’s all over the Internet right now. Here is BoingBoing’s summary:

Last week, Microsoft told Seattle’s KUOW: ‘We pay all our tax obligations everywhere we are, properly.’ Today, Microsoft Tax Dodge, a new website focused on the company’s royalty tax dodge, challenged CEO Steve Ballmer today to live up to his spoken commitment to transparent business practices: ‘At this point, I think it’s reasonable to ask Microsoft to back up that claim with a public explanation of the company’s licensing operations. In that spirit, will you tell the public how it is that Microsoft has avoided paying Washington State’s B&O Royalty Tax for the past 12 years?’ Washington State currently faces a projected $2.6 billion deficit. In addition to the ethical and public relations issues that crumbling bridges and overcrowded schools (Seattle recently considered making D a passing grade) present to the state’s most profitable company, the company also faces deeper scrutiny of the legality of its tax practice.

Interestingly enough, the ones who are being labeled “perpetrators” are exactly the same top people who shrewdly bribed president Obama. Steve Ballmer even blackmailed Obama earlier this year.

“Recall Charles Pancerzewski, who blew the whistle on Microsoft’s financial fraud. Microsoft paid him $4 million to keep quiet.”This case of whistleblowing (if it qualifies as whistleblowing) would not be the first one that we cover. Recall Charles Pancerzewski, who blew the whistle on Microsoft’s financial fraud. Microsoft paid him $4 million to keep quiet [1, 2].

One subject that we raised here before is that Bill Gates uses his investments foundation to escape tax, so it is not just his practices at Microsoft Corporation that count as tax dodging or even tax evasion (Microsoft was found guilty of that).

Gates Keepers, a Web site that keeps track of the Gates Foundation, is currently raising the following criticism: “Save the Children calls on the Gates Foundation supported GAVI to be more accountable”

It is good to see people calling GAVI to account. What a treat to have the usually conservative, big business-linked and Gates Foundation-funded Save the Children make this call.

Follow the money. Just don’t expect this money to be taxed, just laundered. Tax is for the lower and middle classes to pay, not the super-rich with the super-tricks. They know the loopholes in this system because it is them who usually make and pass the laws. The next post will cover ACTA.

“My background is finance and accounting. As a socially conscious venture capitalist and philanthropist, I have a very good understanding of wealth management and philanthropy. I started my career in 1967 with the IRS as a specialist in taxation covering many areas of the tax law including the so-called legal loopholes to charitable giving. […] However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same. […] The only difference is that the accumulation of wealth by these two will be much more massive because they will no longer have to pay any taxes.”

The Gates and Buffet Foundation Shell Game

Vista 7 Hit by Black Screens of Death, Bill Gates Subpoenaed over Red Rings of Death

Posted in Bill Gates, Courtroom, Hardware, Law, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 4:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Another large-scale failure for Microsoft’s latest variant of Vista (and predecessors); Bill Gates called to court over the RRoD fiasco

Microsoft has a real black eye and a whole load of black screens of death in its hands. It is not the same as last year's black screens of death epidemic in Asia (Microsoft got sued multiple times over it), but this latest incident we have mentioned twice before this week [1, 2]. Finally, it’s all over the news, with various Microsoft blogs playing the Microsoft defense, joined by others that say “Microsoft investigates”.

PC SOFTWARE FLOGGER Microsoft has said it is looking into reports that its recent security updates are causing “black screen of death” problems.

It is interesting that Vista 7 is affected, but it is not surprising. From Gizmodo:

Microsoft says it’s investigating reports that its latest release of security updates are causing some Windows (7, Vista and XP) machines to freeze after starting, and display a black screen with a single My Computer Explorer window.

Microsoft is quickly accumulating Xbox lawsuits in November [1, 2, 3, 4] ( amongst other types) and this latest Xbox lawsuit has Bill Gates subpoenaed over the Red Ring of Death (RRoD) fiasco which Microsoft knew about and was hiding for years, putting people's lives at risk.

Erik Estavillo — otherwise referred to as a “professional plantiff” by GamePolitics for his laundry list of legal claims — has subpoenaed Microsoft’s Bill Gates in his suit targeting the company for his run in with the Red Ring of Death. According to court documents filed in a U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the subpoena demands Gates hand over paperwork that reveal the “true and relative number of actual Xbox 360 units that have been fixed by Microsoft over the past 3 years.” Estavillo also seeks data pertaining to the number of broken Xbox 360 consoles and the amount of people banned from Xbox Live for “piracy” between November 28, 2008 and 2009.

This could get interesting.

Links 01/12/2009: KDE Software Compilation 4.3.4 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 1:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • It is no longer about the Killer Application

    Moving to Linux is not about the killer application, it is about the choice of operating platforms to do what you need it to do. Linux is ready. Are you?

  • SCALE University Returns for SCALE 8X

    The SCaLE University training program continues for SCALE 8X. It is presented by the League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA) in partnership with SCALE. The classes give a more intense and personal learning experience than a 45-minute seminar.

    We are offering four half-day classes for system administrators of all skill and experience levels. The SCaLE University Pass includes a full day of training (two classes of your choice) and full access to all three days of SCaLE. To register, select the “SCALE 8X Full Access Pass” and then the “SCALE University Pass” which will include a $60 discount on your total charge. The SCALE University classes will be held on Friday, February 19th. 2010.

  • Google

    • Android And Chrome OS: Google Vs. Google?

      The end user, on the other hand, ought to be benefit. Most people are not going to be forced to choose between an Android phone and a Chrome OS netbook — they could very well have both, since they’re provided through different markets and satisfy different needs.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Nice collection of themes for Gnome and ubuntu Dec I
    • KDE

      • KDE Software Compilation 4.3.4 Release Announcement

        Today, KDE has released a new version of the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC). This month’s edition of KDE SC is a bugfix and translation update to KDE SC 4.3. KDE SC 4.3.4 is a recommended upgrade for everyone running KDE 4.3.3 or earlier versions. As the release only contains bugfixes and translation updates, it will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone. Users around the world will appreciate that KDE SC 4.3.4 is more completely translated. KDE 4 is already translated into more than 50 languages, with more to come.

      • A brief notification

        So, what it is? sometimes notifications pop up when the pc is unattended, sometimes is something not important at all and if it gets lost in oblivion who cares, sometimes it could be quite important, for instace somebody on IM attempted to contact you and now he is offline, maybe it’s the case to write him/her an email uh?

        Now notifications, while they behave exactly as before, being displayed for a short time and then disappearing, they are also “archived” for a short time (varying depending if the pc is used or not) and they are separed by application, so it’s easy to look inside all the old notifications of kopete for instace.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • rPath heaves Javelin at Red Hat

        rPath is a little bit closer to its Proect Javelin dreams.

        Founded by a bunch of ex-Red Hatters that created a homegrown Linux operating system and a version control system for appliances based on that Linux, rPath has been expanding out to other Linuxes and trying to position itself as a kind of version control system for deployed enterprise applications through its rPath Builder tools and repository. Today, the company has come full circle in a way, announcing support for Red Hat’s variant of Linux.

      • Fedora Linux 12

        Product: Fedora 12 Linux
        Web Site: http://fedoraproject.org/
        Price: Free
        Pros: Fast install, better webcam support, KDE & Gnome updates, and a faster boot time.
        Cons: Doesn’t include OpenOffice.org or GIMP by default.
        Suitable For: Beginner, intermediate or advanced desktop Linux users.
        Summary: This release includes a faster install, updates to KDE and Gnome, faster boot time, update to Grub with ext4 support, and better webcam support.
        Rating: 4/5

      • Red Hat to Support Meals on Wheels this Holiday Season
    • Debian Family

      • Introducing Lernid

        Last week, while at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Dallas I mentioned in one of the roundtables about how wicked-cool it would be to have a desktop client for Ubuntu Open Week, Ubuntu Developer Week and other online tuition events that we run.

        One of the challenges we face every time we run these events is helping new community members figure out how IRC works. Ideally this should be as simple as running a program, selecting an event and connecting.

      • Linux Mint 8 – Review and Commentary

        We couldn’t be more happier with this release. The menu system is excellent, the software manager is outstanding and very well thought out and gives Mint the edge it needs to be the best and most convenient Linux distribution on the market today.

      • Ubuntu 10.4 (Lucid) boot experience changing from using usplash to plymouth

        This specification details the foundation team plans for the technology for the Lucid Lynx boot experience, changing from using usplash to plymouth to provide the graphical splash screen while waiting for the boot to complete. The “look” and “theme” components are not covered here.

      • 14 XSplash Themes For Ubuntu Karmic Koala
      • Ubuntu 9.10

        I have an old Mac Mini that I wasn’t using, so being bored I decided to install Ubuntu on it. Ubuntu is a well know distribution (distro) of Linux. The latest distribution is 9.10 also known as Karmic Koala, (all Ubuntu distribution are named after animals.). The first thing I did was I downloaded the latest distribution of Ubuntu as an ISO. An ISO is simply a single image of all files needed to install an application, in this case Ubuntu. I then burned the ISO to a CD using the burn option available in Disk Utility on the Mac. I did burn it at a lower speed then normal, which is recommended. I then placed the CD in the Macmini and restarted it, while holding down the C key when the chime rang. The first screen that came up asked me if I wanted to run Ubuntu without installing, install Ubuntu, check disk for error, or start from first hard disk. I decided that I wanted to do a full install, so I made that choice. (If you make that choice remember that you are erasing all data on the partition that you install it on.) The next choice I had was whether I wanted to use the full hard drive or a partition. I chose to use the full hard drive, hit the continue button and the installation ran without any problem. Once the installation is finished I set up my login name and password. I removed the CD and restarted the computer, Ubuntu started up without any problem.

      • Five Years of Ubuntu

        If there is any one word that could sum up Ubuntu, it would be Community. Even the definition of the word “Ubuntu” makes reference to community, and how the betterment of the individual and community are interconnected. Nearly everyone I’ve met through Ubuntu in the last five years cites the community as the single major reason for their use. In many aspects, Ubuntu is technically equal to its competitors, but nowhere else will you find the same level of community support. Nowhere else will you find the same level of friendship and positive atmosphere.

      • Could Ubuntu get enterprises to finally embrace the cloud?

        The Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud (UEC) allows you to build your own private cloud on existing hardware platforms that already run (or can run) Ubuntu Server, which is pretty much most of the Intel-based servers you have on hand. UEC is really just an implantation of the Eucalyptus cloud computing architecture, which is interface-level compatible with Amazon.com’s cloud. This means that most who understand and deal with AWS will find UEC to be an on-premise extension of that technology, generally speaking.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Review: Motorola DROID from VzWireless

        The DROID is undeniably fast—both at running apps and at using the Internet—but speed isn’t everything. Our DROID exhibited an unfortunate tendency to become unresponsive, distracted by who knows what for anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds, several times a day. Every so often, some apps closed unexpectedly—not just downloaded apps, but Navigation and Email. The DROID is a brand new phone, running a brand new OS version, so some growing pains are expected. However, we hope to see these kinks resolved quickly by Motorola/VzWireless updates.

        In the long run, we would like to see the DROID deliver stronger out-of-the-box business apps, including a more feature-rich Exchange mail client, standard file attachment readers, and an integrated personal/business calendar app.

        Combining such enhancements with the DROID’s already-strong voice-driven apps and embedded navigation would make this phone a stronger enterprise contender. Until then, we don’t see the DROID delivering a knock-out punch to the iPhone. We do, however, find the DROID worthy of serious consideration by anyone shopping for an “App Phone” this holiday season.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Explosive Netbook Growth Expected to Slow

        According to a new report from research firm Research and Markets, netbook shipments will end the year with a bang, shipping twice as many units as 2008. That’s pretty impressive, and with prices continuing to fall, it seems netbooks are destined to keep selling like hot cakes. Or are they?

      • Why the CrunchPad mattered

        Michael wanted to make a CrunchPad. It very nearly happened. This marks a sea change in what our media can accomplish as well as a testament to the good will it has engendered in its readership. In the end, a harsh accident intruded. This is an important distinction because from where I sit this clearly wasn’t a case of harsh reality striking down this project but something far stranger.

Free Software/Open Source

  • 10 Reasons Why ZFS Rocks

    Sun’s (NASDAQ: JAVA) open-source ZFS file system has some amazing features. It was originally designed for Solaris and unveiled in 2005, but you’ll also find it in OpenSolaris and related distributions. In the future it may well become a popular file system to run with Linux and BSD as well.


    In today’s world, we have a “digital divide,” wherein some people have the means and tools to exploit technology and others do not. In most developing countries, people still pirate software because they cannot afford to pay for it. Since the software they pirate is typically closed source, they cannot change it to meet their needs.

  • Seven Observations On Software Maintenance And FOSS

    The piece got me thinking about FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and “continuous upgrading”. Here are seven observations on FOSS software maintenance that occurred to me as I reflected on the CACM article:

    1. FOSS projects “continuously” apply bug fixes and feature enhancements at no additional cost to their users. By applying these improvements “continuously”, the user reaps a steady stream of “interest payments” providing ever-improving security, performance, and functionality.
    2. Since FOSS incurs no licensing or license management costs, upgrading FOSS is not hindered by capital expenses.

  • Death of a FreeBSD contributor: John Birrell

    John Birrell was a Unix developer since 1988 and a FreeBSD user since version 1.0.5. He had a Bachelor Degree in Engineering (Electrical, First Class Honours, 1981) from Monash University in Australia.

    Over the years he developed with various commercial Unix variants such as SysVR2/3, Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, OSF/1 and SCO and several embedded operatings systems like VxWorks, LynxOS and Microware’s OS9.

    In the open source world he was once a user of NetBSD and OpenBSD in addition to FreeBSD. Afterwards, he preferred just to use FreeBSD.

  • An Open Source Tool for Every Task

    For the last several years, I’ve organized sessions on open source software (OSS) at ed-tech conferences. But this year was markedly different, with an awareness of these tools among educators that I’d never seen—a result, perhaps, of restrictive school budgets (there are no licensing fees with OSS). There may also be a growing understanding of the concept of open source, in which contributors, who do not expect compensation for their efforts, write software for which the actual programming code is “open” and freely available. Personally, I think that Wikipedia has made a big difference. While the online reference isn’t software, but rather “open content,” Wikipedia demonstrates the potential of volunteer contributors to create a serious project for the benefit of all.

  • Don’t need groupware? Organize your life with Osmo

    Everyone needs a way to organize both their work and personal life, but not everyone needs the same solution. For something fast and lightweight that covers all the basics, Vincent Danen recommends Osmo.

  • Government


  • Privacy fears prompt Fry to quit Plaxo

    Stephen Fry has quit Plaxo after he became annoyed that the social networking site was revealing what he sees as too many personal details with anyone visiting the site – as opposed to designated contacts.

    Plaxo, which was co-founded by Napster co-creator Sean Parker, maintains an online address book and social networking service. The service has fully configurable privacy settings, but Fry believes the default settings are sharing rather more information than he’s comfortable with.

  • Will no one stop politicians consorting with conmen?

    Political corruption greased the wheels of many of the great disasters of capitalist history. In 1721, after the collapse of the South Sea Company had ruined Georgian Britain, the Commons established the useful precedent of sending the chancellor of the exchequer to the Tower for taking bribes from the promoters of the company’s shares. The rampers of the maniacal Japanese stock and real estate bubbles of the late 1980s also took care to pay off the politicians who might have saved their country by regulating the market.

  • Gordon Brown urged to lift Iraq inquiry secrecy

    Gordon Brown is facing demands to change the rules of the Iraq inquiry this weekend amid fears that the most explosive documents explaining why Britain went to war will not be made public.

  • Iraq inquiry’s game-changing evidence

    Or did we know all that already? Ever since the war, there has been a massive gulf between what various leaked documents have shown and the official version. Previous inquiries have failed to close that gap. Now Meyer, who was the UK ambassador to Washington at the time, has done exactly that.

  • Bang for the Buck

    With the new year right around the corner, it’s worth thinking about where you can get the biggest bang for your buck–quite literally. In a lot of organizations, budgeting is a funny exercise that requires you to “use it or lose it” at the end of the year while also having surprisingly detailed plans for next year’s money.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • East, west coast cities mull pro-net neutrality resolutions

      San Francisco considered its measure at a hearing just before Thanksgiving. The resolution urges the FCC to “to codify strong network neutrality principles in order to ensure that the Internet will continue to foster innovation, increase competition, and spur economic growth as well as making the Internet faster and more affordable for all.”

    • The Imperfect is the Enemy of the Good: Anticircumvention Versus Open Innovation

      Digital Rights Management, law-backed technological control of usage of copyrighted works, is clearly imperfect: It often fails to stop piracy and frequently blocks non-infringing uses. Yet the drive to correct these imperfections masks a deeper conflict, between the DRM system of anticircumvention and open development in the entire surrounding media environment. This conflict, at the heart of the DRM schema, will only deepen, even if other aspects of DRM can be improved. This paper takes a systemic look at the legal, technical, and business environment of DRM to highlight this openness conflict and its effects.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Should There Be Punishment For Bogus ‘Pre-Settlement’ Letters?

      We’ve recently seen efforts to ramp up the system of “pre-settlement” letters as a way to “profit” off of file sharing. The scheme works by having a company that either holds the copyrights to certain works or has merely licensed them for this purpose put those files online and then see who is downloading them. That’s the simplest version (though, of questionable legality since if the copyright holder itself is putting the content online, you can raise questions about whether or not the sharing is really unauthorized). Some others in the space don’t actually put their content online themselves, but try to find IP addresses of those who are sharing the content, and then sending those users “pre-settlement” letters, in the hopes that many people just pay up, rather than fighting the letters (or, more likely, ignoring them).

    • Using faulty data to demand settlements from innocent surfers

      A Princeton researcher finds himself bombarded with demands to pay up after swapping adult movies online—but he didn’t do it. It appears to be another case of extremely-lazy IP “enforcement” using bad BitTorrent data collection.

    • Virgin Media Using Deep Packet Inspection To Spy On Your Internet Usage For Hollywood

      While this is just a test, and the information is being aggregated in a supposedly anonymous way just to judge the extent of the problem, there are a bunch of issues with such claims. First, there is no such thing as an anonomyzed dataset. Second, there are some pretty serious privacy questions raised by this. In the US, the use of Deep Packet Inspection for looking at what users do has been frowned upon, but in the UK it’s been deemed not so bad by the legal system (however, the wider EU doesn’t agree with the UK on this position). No matter how you look at it, it does seem quite extreme for your ISP to carefully look at everything you do online. In the end, of course, this will only serve to drive up the demand for encryption technology.

    • Inaccurate Copyright Enforcement: Questionable “best” practices and BitTorrent specification flaws

      In the past few weeks, Ed has been writing about targeted and inaccurate copyright enforcement. While it may be difficult to quantify the actual extent of inaccurate claims, we can at least try to understand whether copyright enforcement companies are making a “good faith” best effort to minimize any false positives. My short answer: not really.

    • Virgin Media and CView to rifle through your packets
    • If We Don’t Kick People Off The Internet For File Sharing, Football Will Die

      We’ve discussed in the past how the UK’s Premier League’s fear of the internet has been a case study in what not to do online. But it seems that the Premier League bosses still want to push forward with plans to make it more difficult and more annoying for fans to actually watch matches.

    • MPAA to FCC: critics of video blocking proposals are lying

      Hollywood is now resorting to calling critics of its analog stream-blocking proposal liars, while talking out of both sides of its mouth about DVD encryption and piracy. But the brunt of this accusation, Public Knowledge, still insists that shutting down the output to millions of HDTVs won’t benefit consumers.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Michael Shaw, community reporter for Assigment Zero 08 (2007)

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

Does “Tivoization” Also Mean Massively Suing All Competitors Using Software Patents?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Tivoization at 8:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: TiVo’s shift to a strategy of patent litigation is not paying off, patent trolling becomes common, Microsoft rides the wave

TiVo is known for pioneering the practice of “Tivoization”, which prevents running code on particular machines if that code is modified. Tivoization was one of the reasons for making the third version of the GPL. TiVo is a notable user of Linux, but just using the code does not make TiVo a friendly company. In fact, as we have shown many time before (e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]), TiVo is a patent aggressor.

According to this summary from TechDirt, TiVo’s strategy as a patent aggressor is not working out.

TiVo has been spending a lot of effort suing others for patent infringement, but apparently not very much on actually improving their own services and giving customers a reason to buy them over the competition. So while it may be winning some of its patent lawsuits, it hasn’t helped much for the business, which is rapidly bleeding customers and losing marketshare.

Incidentally, TechDirt has also just written about law practices that turn to patent trolling.

From an economic standpoint, this activity is a pure dead weight loss on economic activity. There is nothing good that comes from it. You basically have companies that have ignored a patent they got for whatever reason, suddenly rediscovering it and using it to go after totally unrelated companies who actually innovated and brought products to market (almost always with no knowledge whatsoever of the questionable patent in the first place). And suddenly the actual innovators have to pay up to a company that did absolutely nothing with the invention.

This is in complete contradiction to the goals of the patent office. And watch what Microsoft is doing right now, looking for a patent on Fog Computing.

Microsoft has filed a patent to lock-down a method for moving data between different “clouds.”

As we showed last week, “Microsoft seems to be patenting stuff like crazy.”

‘“Other than Bill Gates, I don’t know of any high tech CEO that sits down to review the company’s IP portfolio” —Marshall Phelps

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources




Samba logo

We support

End software patents


GNU project


EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com

Recent Posts