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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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! █
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.
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.
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.
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:
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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”
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. ]]
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.”
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).
“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 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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
But more, I’d love a web analytics package that understood what Avinash Kaushik talks about: outcomes. Metrics are good in that they allow me to measure performance indirectly, but they don’t correlate to my business, because they don’t answer the questions that I need answers to. Who is reading? What are they reading? What are they asking? And so on.
Bangalore: Open source firm WSO2 has built multi-tenant versions of its products to make them available as software as a service. It has launched what it calls its WSO2 Cloud Platform, according to Information Week.
Alfresco Software, the leader in open source enterprise content management (ECM), today announced details of the first open source software stack to pass the rigorous U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) 5015.02 standard certification.
Get a brief overview of the various Drupals (the project, the websites, and the association) and what they mean to you. You’ll also see some examples of Drupal in action and get an overall look at how Drupal works.
Dries Buytaert: Any time a large, high traffic website launches on Drupal, it validates the choice that thousands of other organizations have made when incorporating Drupal into their Web strategy. The biggest questions for any CMS–whether it’s open source or not–include the following: Is it hard to deploy? Does it meet the functional requirements? Will it scale? Is it secure? Will it help the organization meet its objectives for the Web? The launch of the White House website is another in a long line of proof points that demonstrate the success of Drupal as a web technology platform and a successful open source project.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.