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Eye on Microsoft: Serenity Now, Security Later

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 11:24 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Direct link

Summary: Latest Microsoft insecurity news

MS honeypot research sheds light on brute-force hacks

Many of these brute force attacks were reckoned to originate from bonnet networks of compromised Windows PCs.

Holiday Season Microsoft Patch Tuesday

Yes, it’s almost time for Microsoft’s holiday edition of Patch Tuesday, December 8th. This is one set of gifts you shouldn’t wait to open and install. Microsoft announced that the patch presents would contain “six new security bulletins addressing 12 vulnerabilities in Windows, Internet Explorer and Microsoft Office products.” And, the important news is that three of them have the maximum severity rating of Critical.

For my money, the most important of these is Microsoft Security Advisory 977981. This is the latest IE (Internet Explorer) bug, which could, in theory, be used to take over your Windows PCs.


As for the rest of your December patch presents, Microsoft will be fixing both a Windows and Office problem that could be used to take your PC over with a remote code execution attack. You will need to re-boot your system after applying these patches.

So, if you’ve been good little Windows users, be sure to download and install these patches. If you haven’t been, well don’t be surprised if you get a lump of malware coal in your computers instead.

Martin Goetz Ridiculed for Starting and Harbouring Software Patents

Posted in Apple, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 11:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Martin Goetz

Summary: A defense of software patents backfires in the eyes of some; more news about the harms of intellectual monopolies

THE lead patent story today relates to a subject that we covered a few days ago [1, 2]. It is about someone special who has been benefiting/profiteering from software patents and now attempts to defend their existence. TechDirt says that his essay “actually raises questions about all computer patents” and adds:

Honestly, in reading through his arguments, what struck me is that there is no explanation for why even computer hardware should be patentable. It’s just taken for granted that computer hardware patents must be good, and since software is the equivalent of what’s done in hardware (not really true in many cases, but…), software patents must be good. But shouldn’t the original question be whether or not the hardware itself requires patents and whether or not that helps to “promote the progress of science and the useful arts”? Goetz never bothers to explain how any of these patents promote progress.

“Don’t let patents spoil a good film,” one might sarcastically argue, but it’s actually true that patents are now ruining film production too. [via TechDirt]

Can a science-fiction movie infringe a tech patent?

Imagine if NASA sued Stanley Kubrick for “2001: A Space Odyssey” claiming dominion over space travel. Or, better yet, fancy the patent-holding inventor of virtual environments going to court to claim James Cameron’s “Avatar” is a rip-off. Sound far-fetched?

Guess who else has just been sued? That would be Apple, the company which borrows existing technology, carves an Apple logo around it, and then sticks a hefty price tag on it. Marketing goes a long way, by selling people the illusion of a lifestyle.

APPLE HAS BEEN SLAPPED with another lack of originality lawsuit, this time over its QuickTime movie player.

Emblaze, which is a group of technology companies, claims that it owns a patent that describes a system for streaming media and that Quicktime infringes it.

The article above is titled “Apple sued for lack of originality” and the same can be said about Microsoft, which faces over 50 patent lawsuits at the moment.

“Microsoft has innovated nothing. The thing I find most contemptible is Bill’s lying, this thing about innovating. It makes me want to puke. That’s innovation a la Rockefeller, not innovation a la Edison.”

Oracle Corp Chairman Larry Ellison

Microsoft Contradicts the BSA While the BSA Attacks Users of Proprietary Software

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 10:40 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”

Bill Gates (2007)

Summary: Microsoft again argues that counterfeiting is not a real problem and the BSA turns people against their peers/neighbours who use proprietary (non-Free) software

THE crying crocodile called Microsoft is again openly admitting that “Piracy no longer poses a threat to us” [to Microsoft].

Yes, Microsoft admits the obvious, but it uses an old excuse and spin (one that we last saw a month ago):

Microsoft: ‘Piracy no longer poses a threat to us’


As this article is published, Microsoft has unfortunately not answered to our repeated email requests for a statement on this issue. In the news business that’s called a solid “no comment.”

Here is TechDirt’s take on it and more wonderful news from the BSA, which is cracking down on users of proprietary software and hopefully driving them away to Free software.

Here in the UK, the Business Software Alliance is running its annual paid informant “Nail Your Boss” program, in which they give big cash rewards to people who fink out their employers for running pirate software. This happens every year, but it reminded me of one of the funniest incidents in my life as a copyfighter:

I was guest-lecturing for a week at a master class on issues related to international copyright to grad students at Budapest’s Central European University. The speaker following me was the lawyer who ran the Hungarian division of the Business Software Alliance. He described the many means by which the BSA tried to combat piracy, and then he mentioned this paid informant program.

Microsoft and the BSA are very close [1, 2] and they are both lying about the scale of counterfeiting, not just the “damages” [1, 2, 3]. Hasn’t Microsoft just publicly acknowledged that counterfeiting does not pose a threat to Microsoft? Oops!

Microsoft Gets Rid of Many More Employees

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Search at 10:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Fisher ship

Summary: Microsoft is selling parts of FAST pretty fast, letting go of many more employees

IT has only been one month since Microsoft's latest announcement of layoffs and a few months before that, Microsoft had gotten rid of over 2,000 jobs (when it sold Razorfish). The past year has been full of Microsoft layoffs news.

Microsoft is now dumping part of FAST, which is a company that Microsoft bought along with its fraud. Here are some details:

Today, there’s word that Microsoft’s sold some things it picked up while acquiring Fast Search & Transfer in early 2008.

That’s a large-scale departure of many employees. One of our regular contributors, Ryan, claims that Microsoft is “cannibalizing their less important divisions to finance new ones.”

“Business fails often because they just assume that everyone will rush to give them all their money,” he added.

Mary Jo Foley adds some numbers to this picture:

Rocket, according to the FAQ, Rocket is a 750-employee enterprise-infrastructure software vendor, headquartered in Newton, Mass., that has a “long history of acquiring strong product lines.” Rocket is taking over sales and support for the Folio and NXT products.

As we pointed out before, Microsoft seems to be selling itself in parts. It could certainly use the cash now that it's borrowing money. No wonder the Chief Financial Officer has just quit the company.

Microsoft About Anti-Google “Bribes”: Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Search at 9:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Microsoft and News Corp temporarily (and hopefully permanently) backtrack from another “plot to kill Google”

“Murdoch” is not “Madoff”, but Murdoch too has his share of borderline-criminal activities. To give recent examples of a much darker side:

i. Murdoch papers paid £1m to gag phone-hacking victims

Rupert Murdoch’s News Group News­papers has paid out more than £1m to settle legal cases that threatened to reveal evidence of his journalists’ repeated involvement in the use of criminal methods to get stories.

ii. Times Online denies knowledge of link spam campaign

Piotr Wyspianski, a manager at Sitelynx, was revealed on the Waxy.org blog to have waged a one-man campaign to game web aggregation communities such as Digg, Metafilter and StumbleUpon with over a thousand links to Times Online stories. Before working for Sitelynx, he had form for a similar astroturfing effort for his own online jewellery store.

Predictably, the Waxy.org story has hit the front page of Digg and some Diggers have piled in to condemn Times Online, blaming a conspiracy by the original Digger himself.

iii. Hacker testifies News Corp unit hired him

The trial could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in damage awards.

NDS, which provides security technology to a global satellite network that includes satellite TV service DirecTV, denies the claims, saying it was only engaged in reverse engineering — looking at a technology product to determine how it works, a standard in the electronics industry.

More recently we wrote about Rupert Murdoch’s attack on Google. See:

Microsoft has already tried several dirty (and potentially illegal) tricks to elevate its Google competitor. It seems like Microsoft is again misusing the term “open” to promote Bong [sic], by attacking Web standards and a cross-platform Web (XAML trouble). Responsible for this utter deception is Microsoft’s main booster at The Register, Gavin Clarke.

On the other hand, The Register also has this new article regarding Microsoft’s second thoughts about more bribery as a business model against Google.

Or at least, Microsoft is not prepared to go exclusive with the hard-nosed Aussie and other media moguls. Not this week, anyway.

Reports last week said that the two firms – who share a common interest in slapping Google – were working on a deal that would lead to News Corp’s content only being available through Microsoft’s Bing search engine. In exchange for some Microsoft cash, of course.

The story told a day ago by a pro-Microsoft site is that Microsoft is not “focused” on these anti-Google agreements (this does not rule them out, either). One reader wrote to us about “what would happen if Bill and Rupurt got control of the Internet.” He points to this new article [via Slashdot] as a lesson, quoting: “In this context, it should come as no surprise that the nation’s telegraph system quickly fell into the hands of one of the most notorious schemers of the Gilded Age…”

Later in the day The Register wrote some more about what it had labeled “bribes” against Google.

Microsoft has firmly ruled out the notion of paying news publishers to de-index their content from Google. But you knew that already. Speaking at the unveiling of new Bing features in San Francisco yesterday, senior online services VP Satya Nadella said that Microsoft was not focused on getting exclusive content, and that “there is no real intent here that is focused on getting a whole bunch of content that is de-indexed from Google”.

How kind of them.

Quick Mention: Novell’s Losses Grow, Despite Layoffs

Posted in Finance, Novell at 9:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Nice graph

Summary: Quick report on the results Novell has just announced

ACCORDING to MarketWatch, “Novell fourth-quarter loss widens to $255.7 mln”

Novell Inc. said late Thursday that its fiscal fourth-quarter loss widened to $255.7 million, or 74 cents a share, from $16.3 million, or 5 cents a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding one-time items, the IT management software company said it would have reported earnings of 11 cents a share.

The Wall Street Journal tells a similar story and Novell is down before market close (currently up slightly, in afterhours at least).

In late trading, NOVL is down 7 cents, or 1.7%, to $3.97.

More from the Murdoch-tainted press:

Without those charges, the IT management software firm earned 11 cents a share. A year ago, Novell lost $16.3 million, or 5 cents a share.

A detailed report will come on Saturday when we come to consider a lot more coverage and analysis.

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 3rd, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Links 03/12/2009: New Linux, X Server 1.7.3 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 6:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • 10 Linux features Windows should have by default

    No matter how clean Aero gets, I am not a fan of the flat, single-workspace desktop of Windows 7. Yes, it has come a long way, but it’s not nearly the modern desktop that Compiz offers. Of course, many would argue that Compiz is nothing more than eye candy. I, on the other hand, would argue that many of the features Compiz offers are just as much about usability as they are eye candy. Having a 3D desktop that offers you quick access (via key combinations) to multiple workspaces is handy. Window switchers can’t be beaten for ease of use. And the eye candy is just a bonus. Having Compiz on top of Windows would certainly take the experience to a level few Windows users have experienced.

  • The Back Page

    Dear readers… we need your input, in more than one way and for a number of reasons. We need to hear your voices – and firing off an email right now, as you’re reading this, would not be taken amiss – to know that we have an active readership that wants LG to continue.

  • Server

    • A Linux answer to Windows SBS: ClearOS

      Linux is used as a server all the time. From branch-offices using Linux and Samba to Google running, well everything, on Linux, it’s the operating system for choice for most businesses. Except that is, for small offices. There, Microsoft’s SBS (Small Business Server) is the server of choice. The Clear Foundation wants to change that with their ClearOS 5.1 small business server distribution.

      Why has Linux not done well here? It’s an odd story. In some ways, Linux has historically done quite well for small businesses. Back in the late 1990s, the Cobalt appliance line did quite well in the market. Sun, in one of their less than bright moments, however, bought Cobalt for about $2 billion in 2000. By neglect, Sun had killed off Cobalt, and small business server Linux, by 2004.


      Note, we didn’t say ‘Linux’ server. ClearOS, formerly known as ClarkConnect, doesn’t ask for its users to become expert Linux administrators. Indeed, its interface hides all of Linux’s complexity away. While it’s built solidly on Linux and other open-source programs, a non-technical user could use ClearOS and never know what was his server’s hood.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 2.6.32

      This release _feels_ long overdue due to two empty weeks for me (kernel summit and thanksgiving week vacation), but it’s actually less than three months since 2.6.31, so I guess it’s actually not that far off the normal schedule.

      I’ve been merging a few things that were pending while I was offline, but it really seems to have been pretty quiet. The biggest thing since -rc8 is the horribly timed stability fixes for fscache, which caused some hickups and I really wish it hadn’t happened that way, but apart from that it’s mainly small updates (and mainly drivers).

    • Linux kernel 2.6.32 released
    • What’s new in Linux 2.6.32

      3D support for newer Radeon graphics chips, better use of power saving features offered by the latest hardware and numerous enhancements to KVM and Btrfs are some of the outstanding items among the many thousands of changes undertaken for the latest kernel version. Various other improvements should also make Linux 2.6.32 more reactive and as a result, feel faster.

    • Jim Zemlin speaks

      The Linux Foundation, in that world, provides a role in educating consumer electronics vendors on how to participate in the Linux kernel development process and how to get their device supported in that world. I’ll be in Korea and Japan next week to educate people there on the benefits of this very participation. We’ve been swimmingly successful in bringing people into these efforts. The community has been excellent at getting that support.

    • Graphics Stack

      • X Server 1.7.3 Released

        X Server 1.7.3 corrects a break in the build system and the second bug is an ABI compatibility problem. X Server 1.7.4 will then end up being what 1.7.3 was supposed to be, about five weeks from now.

      • The X.Org Plans For Moving Away From HAL

        To address the questions that have been coming up frequently regarding the X.Org Server and the plans to stop using HAL, Sun’s Alan Coopersmith has created a new Wiki page called XorgHAL.

      • Radeon DRM Driver Gets New Branches

        David Airlie, the Linux kernel DRM maintainer and the Red Hat employee responsible for a good portion of the open-source ATI Linux driver work, has announced changes in how he will be handling his DRM kernel branches and the addition of some new branches for ATI customers wishing to experiment with the latest Radeon driver code.

      • DeviceKit-disks Renames Itself To UDisks

        While a project name change alone isn’t too important, they are also changing the API, libraries, D-Bus addresses, and everything to reflect the new “udisks” name. Yes, everything.

      • qemu vmware + vmwgfx

        So just as an aside to radeon stuff, I spent an hour or two today on a break playing with qemu’s vmware gfx + VMware’s new vmwgfx kms driver.

      • NVIDIA 64-bit FreeBSD Graphics Driver Found

        NVIDIA’s announcement just makes note of the 32-bit FreeBSD driver but does not mention any 64-bit *BSD support. NVIDIA though has told us they will deliver a 64-bit FreeBSD driver before year’s end. NVIDIA is only able to finally deliver a 64-bit FreeBSD driver now thanks to mmap() extension improvements in FreeBSD 8.0.

  • Applications

  • KDE

    • KOffice Meeting Day Two

      New day, new KOffice work. The team met for lunch at 8 and arrived in the office around 9. After Inge opened the day again everybody took a while to check mail and news. Then it was time for work.

    • KDE 4.3.4 Available for Kubuntu 9.10 Users

      Last evening, the KDE community proudly launched the fourth maintenance version of the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC) 4.3. Dubbed Cold, the brand-new KDE 4.3.4 software suite brings a couple of improvements to the Okular, Marble and KGpg applications, and bug fixes to packages such as Okteta, KTuberling, JuK and KAlarm

    • KDE Plasma netbook interface demoed on Asus Eee 1005Ha

      At times I’ve felt like KDE 4 is a little bit on the sluggish side on my desktop PCs. On a netbook’s Atom processor? I wouldn’t even have considered switching from Gnome if I hadn’t seen this video on YouTube.
      We’ve known

    • 7 Instances of KDE Appearances On The Silver Screen

      I don’t know about you, but when ever a computer screen appears in a movie or series I instantly focus on the interface, trying to glean what they have installed on the device. Even better, when possible, I pause and try to analyze and read the damn thing. We dugg up 7 instances of KDE appearances on the silver screen. Two of which are very recent: “The Big Bang Theory” and “Lie To Me”

    • The Lightman Group is working with KDE / Fox Series “Lie to me”
    • Home [ade] cookies

      All that said, that part of KDE SC 4.3.77 that I’ve gotten up and running is really nice; I’ve said it before, but the stuff integrates really well, including the GNOME network manager and notifications done by the pkgbuild tools when I’m building new stuff and the device manager; there’s still plenty to work on as well, but on the whole it pebbles (a small way to rock). Now if only I could start konqueror or dolphin from the menu or krunner — must be some weird crash going on behind the scenes when there’s no tty output. [[ And as a final shot, I should add that Konqueror is almost infinitely better with WordPress now than it was in 4.3.0. ]]

    • kde-testing overlay *renamed* – qt and kde status in gentoo
    • Qt: More, More, More

      On the speed side, Nokia claims 4.6 “challenges the conventional development notion that advanced UI capabilities normally come with a significant performance cost.” An OpenGL paint engine has been added, as well as OpenVG-based 2D vector graphics, DirectFB support, and Webkit. The GraphicsView rendering algorithm has also been rewritten and “highly optimized,” a combination the company says will offer “the best possible performance while enabling developers to deliver the “wow” effect that is demanded by users.”

  • Distributions

    • Deepin 9.12 Beta 1 Screenshots
    • Modify Mandriva Bootsplash

      When your Mandriva booting with grub loader, there is a nice background picture on it. But, maybe we not always comfortable with that picture. As a simple human being, is a normal situation when we not satisfied with something that was not going like what we want (actually, we never satisfied about everything).

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat innovation flows from Westford

        “I have major products going on in the Czech Republic and China and Australia and some on the West Coast, but this is the central place for all that,” Cormier said.

        Those products are all based on Red Hat’s Fedora flavor of the open source Linux operating system, and the game-changer version for corporations, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or RHEL. But selling an open source OS to big business was just a dream at Red Hat when Cormier came on board in 2000.

      • Red Hat is the open source company of the decade

        Red Hat has about 1,500 developers, a division run out of Massachusetts, meaning it can evaluate changes enterprises make to the system, incorporate what works best, keep the code base stable, and provide enterprise-grade support.

    • Debian Family

      • Accelerate OEM Development with Debian Linux Quick Start Package for Intel® Z5xx Atom(TM) SBC

        The package is based on the popular Debian Linux 5.0.2 (Lenny/Stable) product running Linux kernel 2.6.30-3.

      • Windows 7 vs Ubuntu 9.10

        I was musing to my coworkers that if it had the following, I could switch from Linux:

        1) A decent software packaging system.
        2) Built-in Virtual Desktops.
        3) Middle-button paste.

      • Ubuntu 9.10: The Karmic Koala Benchmarked And Reviewed

        Canonical releases a new version of its Linux distribution, Ubuntu, every six months. Sometimes new versions, like 9.04 “Jaunty Jackalope” are definitely worth the time investment, while others, like 8.10 “Intrepid Ibex” should be avoided. So, where does version 9.10 stand? Is the free download worth your time and bandwidth, or should you stick with the (still) cutting-edge 9.04, or even the rock-solid 8.04 LTS release? We’ve had a month to really get to know the Karmic Koala. We’ve put it through the paces and now have our final verdict.

      • Getting the most from bug mail
      • Ubuntu Spelunkers Return to Redmond Cave
      • Resources – 12 Indispensable Web Design Apps for Ubuntu

        The reason that millions of users worldwide choose to use Ubuntu over other operating system is its ease of use. The clue is in the name, with ‘Ubuntu’ meaning ‘humanity towards others’ and also the name of a South African ideology. It was designed to be user-friendly, and there are a whole range of apps available, often to download for free, which make it even more so. You can tailor Ubuntu to suit your web development and design needs, but there are hundreds and hundreds of apps to choose from, many of which prove services difficult to differentiate between. So, like a web development app filter, we’ve saved you some time and selected the best 12 Ubuntu apps out there.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Development kit targets Android STBs

      The Viosoft Arriba IDE/Debugger for the Android on MIPS platform is based on Viosoft’s mature Arriba Linux debug and profiling technologies, which was made available last month as part of an Arriba for Android Porting Kit (APK) co-developed with MIPS Technologies. The APK, which also includes MIPS’ System Navigator EJTAG probe, was originally announced in June, when MIPS followed up on Embedded Alley’s Android to MIPS port by announcing hardware and software partners for MIPS/Android implementations. (Embedded Alley was since acquired by Mentor Graphics.)

    • CompuLab Launches fit-PC2i

      The CompuLab fit-PC2i will be available shortly from CompuLab, and prices start at $359 for the Linux version, up to $499 for the Windows 7 Professional version.

    • VIDEOR expands distribution portfolio with NVRs from NUUO

      VIDEOR is expanding its range with the NVRmini, a Linux-based network video recorder manufactured by NUUO.

    • Phones

      • Global Smartphone Market: Linux on a Roll

        The comprehensive report covers the global market for smartphones. It provides detailed analysis of mobile operating systems, including Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, LiMo, Symbian, Windows Mobile, webOS, and Garnet/Palm OS. The report provides seven-year sales forecasts for smartphones as well as handsets. The report breaks down smartphone forecasts by operating system. The report provides sales breakdown for smartphones and handsets by major geographic regions. The report provides market share of major vendors for both smartphones and handsets. The high-value 124-page report contains 27 figures and 19 tables.

      • Nokia

        • Nokia making mobiles more simple to use

          He also said that in the second half of next year we’ll be seeing the first Maemo 6 ‘mobile computer’ (which is another way of saying chunky smartphone in Nokiaspeak), backing up the rumours that there will only be one Linux-based device from Nokia next year.

        • Nokia to overhaul Symbian UI, invest in Maemo

          Handset giant Nokia is planning an overhaul of its Symbian user interface in 2010, and will also bring out a flagship device powered by the Maemo Linux-based operating system the same year.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Wistron N900z Smartbook: sub-$200 ARM netbook

        Wistron’s most endearing Smartbook machine may be the compact VAIO P-lookalike that has been floating around tradeshows for a few months now, but it’s not their only offering with ARM under the hood. Freescale Semiconductors are showing the Wistron N900z at their Computex 2009 stand, a more traditionally designed 10-inch netbook, and LaptopMag shot some hands-on video.

      • Intel sees rush to Netbook app store

        Though most applications are expected to be written for the Linux operating system–Intel’s version is called Moblin–Apeland claims that the program has a wide target.

      • Intel launches Atom SDK

        Interestingly, the company has not only covered Windows in the SDK: the beta is also available for application development aimed at Moblin, Intel’s own Linux distribution which aims to bring sub-five-second boot times and ease of use to Atom-based netbooks.

      • Acer: We’ll have the first Chrome OS Netbook

        The world’s second-largest PC maker has designs on being the first to offer a Chrome OS Netbook.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Metasploit, NeXpose Integrate for Enterprise Security Testing

    While NeXpose is not open source, Thomas added that open source is a great way to build software in conjunction with a community.

  • Prey 0.3.3 review

    Prey is an open-source notebook tracking service which supports Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Not only does Prey look good and work well, it’s in steady development by an active community.

  • Sun

    • Sun’s VirtualBox Revs, Perhaps for the Last Time

      VirtualBox will not be Oracle’s first virtualization offering. Back in May the company acquired Virtual Iron, and we all saw how well that turned out for customers.

      As in, it didn’t. Technology was kept and rolled into Oracle VM; development efforts were dumped. Move along Virtual Iron users, nothing to look at here.

    • Oracle/Sun behemoth makes customer negotiations tricky

      “Believe it or not, Oracle would become the most powerful open source vendor in the market today, bar none,” analyst George Weiss told audience members at this week’s Gartner Data Center Conference in Las Vegas.

  • Audio

    • FLOSS Weekly 97: FLOSS Weekly 97: eXist-db

      eXist-db, the Open Source Native XML database featuring index-based XPath query processing and more.

    • Linux Journal Insider January 2010

      This is the maiden voyage of the Linux Journal Insider podcast, and we start the new year of Linux Journal off with a bang. Or more precisely with a HAM. HAM radio that is. If you’re not a subscriber to the magazine, pick up this latest issue on newsstands mid-December, or buy a single copy in our on-line store. Both digital and print copies are available.

    • Linux Outlaws 124 – Coughffice

      In this episode, Dan and Fab discuss the KDE rebranding, Android being on track to dominate the smartphone world, Silverlight 4, Allianz saving a lot of money with Linux and much more..

  • Mozilla

  • Databases

    • Is Open Source as a Model for Business Really That Elusive?

      Data is the next great revenue frontier, in my view. And I’ve long argued that open source is intrinsically differentiated in its ability to generate data, given its distribution and adoption advantages. Some will undoubtedly argue that privacy concerns will prohibit this practice: I am not one of those people. First because open source projects are already collecting data (Debian, Eclipse, NetBeans, Ubuntu, etc), but more because the data has value – potentially immense value – to users.

  • Fog Computing/Web

  • Releases

    • KnowledgeTree Releases Version 3.7 of Its Document Management Software

      KnowledgeTree today announced the release of version 3.7 of its commercial edition, version 1.1 of its Microsoft(r) Office Add-in, and an alpha release of KnowledgeTree Explorer CP (cross platform). KnowledgeTree 3.7, deployed on Zend Server, features improved performance. It also introduces the first iteration of KnowledgeTree’s new Content Management Interoperability Services (CMIS) interface, which is compliant with the 0.61 draft of the specification. KnowledgeTree Explorer CP is a cross-platform version of the popular desktop tool that allows drag and drop functionality to the repository. With cross-platform capabilities, users can enjoy this feature from Linux and Mac desktops.

    • GCC 4.5 Steps Closer To Release

      Novell’s Richard Guenther has issued a GCC 4.5 status report this morning as yesterday this next major version of the GNU Compiler Collection had left “Stage 3″ and is now entering a period in which only regression fixes and documentation work will take place.

    • ICEfaces Releases An Enterprise Edition Of Its Popular Ajax / JSF Open Source Project

      ICEsoft Technologies Inc., a leading provider of standards-compliant, Ajax-based solutions for developing and deploying Java EE, rich Internet applications (RIA), recently announced the availability of ICEfaces® EE (Enterprise Edition). The new commercially-licensed version of the award-winning open-source product provides additional features and benefits targeted at robust and scalable enterprise application deployments.

    • NeL 0.7.0 Released!

      NeL is supports Windows, Linux and Mac OSX under the GNU General Public License on both 32bit and 64bit platforms.

  • Openness

    • How Mike Arrington can save the CrunchPad

      Let that software fly as GPL. TechCrunch and FusionGarage can spend their time in court and in the meantime the open source and shanzhai community can try to polish it up a bit.

    • The CrunchPad – the greatest tablet there never was?
    • Social OpenSim grids gain over 1,000 regions

      The largest social OpenSim-based grids have gained over 1,000 regions since our last count in early September, bringing the total regions on these grids to over 6,500.

      These are grids that allow anyone to register for free. In addition, social interaction is a significant aspect of the grid’s activity. In addition, many of the social grids are now accessible from other grids, via hypergrid teleport.

  • Programming

    • My Story of Mercurial and Subversion

      I’m really getting attached to using Mercurial. I’ve been a Subversion fan for years but when Ben Collins-Sussman (one of the authours of Subversion) mentioned he’s been using Mercurial, I took that as a pretty solid endorsement. I’m not saying I’m jumping ship but I definitely have found some of the things I can do with hg to be pretty convenient compared to the way I’ve been using Subversion. I’ve used the two for different types of projects though. My subversion repositories have held the code and resources for my websites for a long time. I’ve also worked on shared C/C++ applications with Jeff and stored our stuff on an SVN server. It’s really convenient since it works well across OSes and I have a central server that I can reach from pretty much wherever I want.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • No shocker: Google prefers HTML5 to Gears

      Word from the LA Times is that Google plans to phase out its Gears plug-in in favor of HTML5 when it comes to augmenting browser abilities. The precise details of its enthusiasm for the plug-in aren’t clear yet, but the general trajectory is no surprise.

    • Officeshots: making ODF truly interoperable

      Complex file formats, such as those used for office documents, inevitably lead to differences in interpretation by application developers. If a user sends a document to someone else who views it in a different application or version, chances are that the output shows some subtle differences or, by bad luck, that the formatting is completely munged. For people that give presentations regularly, this is a constant nightmare: they have to hope that the office application on the conference laptop is able to show the presentation without mangling the slides. These problems are not tied to proprietary file formats: open standards such as ODF (Open Document Format) also have interoperability issues.


  • Amy Goodman And Canada’s Olympic Paranoia

    What could possibly have led to this level of scrutiny? They cared little that she was there to discuss the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq or the state of health care. The critical concern of the Canadian Border authorities was that Ms. Goodman would be discussing the 2010 Winter Olympic games in Vancouver. This is not a joke.


    In Vancouver, dissent is now the only obstacle to an Olympic-sized theft. The games stand to cost Vancouver, in the analysis of the Vancouver Sun, “$6 billion and counting so far.” Local papers are starting to ask, “Could the Olympics bankrupt the City of Vancouver, or put it in a financial straitjacket for decades to come?”

    But it’s not just the economic theft.

  • Manchester journo gets first ID card – late

    Which suggests to us that the biometrics booth, as well as including photo, dabs and signature scanners also includes a state of the art human chipping device.

  • Study: Believers’ inferences about God’s beliefs are uniquely egocentric

    Religious people tend to use their own beliefs as a guide in thinking about what God believes, but are less constrained when reasoning about other people’s beliefs, according to new study published in the Nov. 30 early edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

  • (en) Anarchist El Libertario on Venezuela: Anti-police impunity activist assassinated

    El Libertario, the Venezuelan anarchist newspaper, denounce the assassination of Mijail Martinez as the latest chapter in the Chavez government’s attack against base-level, autonomous, revolutionary and dissident organisations.

  • Children who use technology are ‘better writers’

    Children who blog, text or use social networking websites have better writing skills than those who do not, according to the National Literacy Trust.

  • Environment

    • Sludge Fest: Center for Food Safety vs. San Francisco. It’s a battle that may be coming soon to a city near you

      Some offers are simply too good to be true. In late September, San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission once again offered “high-quality, nutrient-rich, organic” compost to any citizen who wanted it absolutely free. It’s a popular program. Bay-area residents sprinkle about 80 tons a year of the fertilizer on their lawns and gardens—even schoolyards.

    • Green or Mean? Questions Crop Up About “Organic” Toxic Sludge
    • Big freeze plunged Europe into ice age in months

      In the film, ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ the world enters the icy grip of a new glacial period within the space of just a few weeks. Now new research shows that this scenario may not be so far from the truth after all.

      William Patterson, from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, and his colleagues have shown that switching off the North Atlantic circulation can force the Northern hemisphere into a mini ‘ice age’ in a matter of months. Previous work has indicated that this process would take tens of years.

    • Roadmap to the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

      Next week, up to 20,000 people will descend on Copenhagen for the COP15 climate change conference, which aims to negotiate a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol. Aside from the thousands of members comprising the 192 national delegations, there will be thousands more lobbyists from numerous industry lobby groups.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Sens. Feinstein and Durbins attack on citizen journalism

      The Senate is currently considering a media shield law, pushed by media outfits that want federal protection for their journalists.

    • EFF sues feds for info on social-network surveillance

      The Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the CIA, the U.S. Department of Defense, Department of Justice, and three other government agencies on Tuesday for allegedly refusing to release information about how they are using social networks in surveillance and investigations.

      The nonprofit Internet rights watchdog group formally asked more than a dozen agencies or departments in early October to provide records about federal guidelines on the use of sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr for investigative or data gathering purposes, according to the lawsuit.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Europe’s ISPs object to secret copyright treaty talks

      Secret trade talks on counterfeiting and copyright threaten to undermine citizens’ rights without giving them a voice in negotiations, European internet service providers (ISPs) have warned.

      EuroISPA, a trade body representing 1,700 European ISPs, has called the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA) talks ‘heavy handed’ and says that they threaten to undermine the protection offered to ISPs under EU law.

    • Now you don’t see it, now you do …

      News from Australia (“Visual artists entitled to royalties”, by Susanna Dunkerley), is that visual artists will eventually receive a small share of the resale value of their artworks — though the legislature has dampened the provision’s immediate impact by providing that royalties will only accrue after the second resale (if there is one) takes place.


      If it is accepted that visual artists deserve a share of resale revenue, it is difficult to see how that entitlement applies only in respect of the second and subsequent sales.

    • Music industry pressuring gymnastics clubs to pay up

      SOCAN initially tried to get Gymnastics Canada to pay for a national licence. When Gymnastics Canada said no, SOCAN began a telephone and fax campaign at the provincial level.

    • Court Refuses To Order Shutdown of OpenBitTorrent

      Last month, the Swedish ISP Portlane was sued by several Hollywood movie studios for hosting OpenBitTorrent, claiming that the tracker is a re-branded copy of one previously operated by The Pirate Bay. Now the Stockholm District Court has rejected calls to order the shutdown of the tracker.

    • Web giants unite against Digital Britain copyright plan

      Facebook, Google, Yahoo and eBay object to a clause that they say could give government “unprecedented and sweeping powers” to amend copyright laws.

    • Mandelson’s law pasted by web giants

      LORD PETER Mandelson’s Digital Economy Bill has been slammed by some of the biggest names on the web.

      What has miffed the likes of Facebook, Google, Yahoo and Ebay is a clause which gives the government “unprecedented and sweeping powers” to amend copyright laws as it likes.

    • Yes, But Will Sergey Brin Take Peter Mandelson Out To Dinner At A Fancy Resort?

      I’m beginning to wonder if this particular clause is being used to draw away the fire from the “three strikes and we kick you off the internet” clause. With the big tech companies focused on this ridiculous power grab by the Business Secretary, not nearly as much attention is being paid to that “guilty based on accusations” clause.

    • Major Label Messes With the Wrong Guy

      Tim Quirk, a senior vice president at the digital music service Rhapsody, used to front a band that was signed to one of the major labels, Warner Bros.

      His experiences at Rhapsody taught him firsthand that it’s possible to build a big database that accounts for what each copyright holder is owed. However, he and others contend, major labels have no incentive to put such a transparent database in place — quite the opposite: They only stand to benefit by obfuscating the accounting process for middle- and long-tail bands and tracking their digital streams and downloads casually.

    • My $62.47 Royalty Statement: How Major Labels Cook the Books with Digital Downloads

      I got something in the mail last week I’d been wanting for years: a Too Much Joy royalty statement from Warner Brothers that finally included our digital earnings. Though our catalog has been out of print physically since the late-1990s, the three albums we released on Giant/WB have been available digitally for about five years. Yet the royalty statements I received every six months kept insisting we had zero income, and our unrecouped balance ($395,277.18!)* stubbornly remained the same.

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