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12.07.09

Eye on Microsoft: Patch Tuesday, Bitlocker Decrypted, Avast Deletes (Parts of) Windows

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 8:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hard disk

Summary: Some assorted links about Microsoft and security

Why fear the cloud? Microsoft patches more Windows exploits.

Bitlocker Encryption Not 100% Secure After All

Earlier this year a method to get access to date encrypted with the Open Source software True Crypt was published by security researchers which involved physical access to the protected computer system. Back then many commenters and so called security experts mentioned that this was one of the main differences to Microsoft’s Bitlocker encryption.

Dodgy Avast update classifies multiple legit files as malign

Legitimate products were wrongly classified as harbouring the Dell-MZG Trojan or other strains of malware and whisked off to quarantine following the publication of a dodgy update. Avast has published a new update that eliminates the wrongful classification glitch. However, that still leaves users who applied the earlier update with borked systems.

Links 07/12/2009: Red Hat’s Real-Time Linux, OLPC/Sugar Update

Posted in News Roundup at 8:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • What Chrome OS has on Windows that Linux doesn’t

    Chrome OS faces the same applications challenge as any other operating system, but it’s rising to that challenge in a different way. It includes the Chrome browser running on a stripped-down version of Linux, but the applications won’t run on Linux, they’ll run on the Internet. Chrome is the conduit to the Web applications, and Chrome OS is the vehicle by which Google will get the browser installed on Netbooks starting in the second half of 2010, the company promises.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat revs real-time MRG Linux to 1.2

        Commercial Linux distributor Red Hat today kicked out the 1.2 release of its Enterprise MRG Linux variant for real-time, messaging, and grid computing.

      • Red Hat Tunes Up Real-Time OS

        Red Hat is aiming for lowered latency and improved performance with the second update of the year to its real-time Linux platform.

        The Linux vendor’s new MRG 1.2 (short for Messaging, Real-Time, Grid) release includes new tools and improved technology designed to better enhance the OS’s value for customers who rely on real-time performance.

      • Independent Study Highlights Significant Opportunities for Cost Savings and Benefits with JBoss Enterprise Middleware

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced the release of a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Red Hat detailing significant cost savings and benefits achieved by one Red Hat customer, a major telecommunications provider, after migrating from proprietary middleware to JBoss Enterprise Middleware.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • CrunchPad partner plans media event

      Rathakrishnan, who had earlier promised via an email to the San Francisco Business Times that a statement would be forthcoming, “just wants to be able to share his side of the story and he’s going to be showing the device very briefly as well,” Alpers said.

    • Phones

      • Majority of new HTC phones will run Android

        A leaked HTC roadmap for 2010 has revealed that the majority of the company’s smartphones for the first half of 2010 will run Google Android, not Windows Mobile.

      • Why Carriers Love Open-source/Openness

        The first thing Nokia did when they decided that they wanted to work with the Maemo community to offer the operating system, was to tie up the loose ends that would not suit a commercial playground in the long run. For instance, Nokia’s own Canola Media Player app is not an open-source application. It’s got components licensed under GPL/LGPL, meaning that it’s a commercial application at the end of the day. In other words, commercial app developers, manufacturers and carriers can protect their Maemo offerings just as easily as on any other platform.

    • OLPC

      • Fedora devs keeping OLPC sweet with Sugar

        Developer Sebastian Dzialias (who was also in the OLPC session), said that a new version of Sugar on a Stick was coming this Tuesday – codenamed Blueberry. It’s a good thing too, the promise of the XO and its desktop, deserves better than to end up in a landfill.

      • OLPC’s Netbook Impact on Laptop PC Industry

        I will list the ways in which OLPC has influenced the target market which probably defines the interest of most readers of OLPC News, the angle from which most bloggers and industry commentators have been talking about the OLPC project for the past 4 years, which is how OLPC technology may affect the rich Western country’s PC/Laptop industry.

        [...]

        5. Google is now planning the Chrome OS. Educated from the netbooks, the demand from the mass consumer market has now definitely shifted from performance and bloat, towards just asking to have the bare minimum. Google is seeing the convergence of market trends and are as a result building a very optimized OS to boot in 5 seconds and run on $50 ARM powered laptops.

        OLPC has thus influenced the mass consumer and geek markets of rich countries in all these ways. But I do think OLPC has still a long way to go in the coming months to influence the industry even more.

Free Software/Open Source

  • What’s Coming for Open Source in 2010

    With the end of the year quickly approaching, it’s time for a few 2010 predictions. This past year was a big one for open source. Just think, back in March, it wasn’t clear whether Google’s open source Android platform had any future at all, but now it’s absolutely flourishing. Oracle’s proposed acquisition of Sun was a huge story this year, and it’s still making headlines as the deal sits stalled by European regulators. There were lots of other notable stories. In this post, you’ll find many predictions for open source in 2010, and the reasons for them.

  • Lower Enterprise Storage Costs: Open Source

    Two data storage vendors have released new products that they claim can save users a bundle over more traditional storage systems.

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

  • Releases

    • Open source NAC system PacketFence 1.8.6 released

      PacketFence is a free and open source network access control (NAC) system. It can be used to effectively secure networks – from small to very large heterogeneous networks. PacketFence has been deployed in production environments where thousands of users are involved – on wired and wireless networks.

  • Licensing

    • Open Source In A Parallel Universe

      More than anything else I have read recently, the phrase “parallel universes” sums up so much of what open source’s fiercest advocates seem to be aiming for. The GPL makes it all too easy not just for software to exist in dual incarnations, but for the entirety of IT to follow suit — the software, the hardware, the licensing, the whole thing.

    • Palm Sued Over PDF Technology Dispute
    • Press Releases

      San Francisco, CA (December 02, 2009) Artifex Software Inc. today announced that it has filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against Palm, Inc., based on Palm’s unauthorized copying and distribution of one of Artifex’s registered technologies. Artifex is the developer and copyright owner of muPDF, a high-performance PDF rendering engine.

  • Programming

    • Localization pros offer a Translation Toolkit

      Most of the Translate Toolkit’s infrastructure is provided by SourceForge.net – version control, mailing lists, file releases, and web site – but the project also uses locamotion.org for hosting the official Pootle server as a showcase, testing experimental features of Pootle, and for managing its own UI translations. It also uses Bugzilla for bug reporting, with infrastructure hosted by the Junta de Extremadura in Spain.

    • Forget Perfection, Release Your App to the World

      Most developers are probably familiar with Linux founder Linus Torvalds’ motto: “release early, release often.” The reason is quite simple: Shipping something useful is better than withholding that usefulness until it’s reached perfection.

Leftovers

  • TSA can’t redact documents properly, releases s00per s33kr1t operations manual

    The TSA has published a “redacted” version of their s00per s33kr1t screening procedure guidelines (Want to know whether to frisk a CIA operative at the checkpoint? Now you can!). Unfortunately, the security geniuses at the DHS don’t know that drawing black blocks over the words you want to eliminate from your PDF doesn’t actually make the words go away, and can be defeated by nefarious al Qaeda operatives through a complex technique known as ctrl-a/ctrl-c/ctrl-v.

  • HSBC exposed sensitive bankruptcy data

    In notification letters made public Thursday, the bank said it had redacted sensitive information in Chapter 13 bankruptcy proof-of-claim forms that were filed electronically, but that the information turned out to be viewable “as a result of the deficiency in the software used to save imaged documents.”

  • Latest lame UK gov’t excuse for supressing drug policy report: “if we release it, it will be hard to manage the news”

    The British government has reached new heights of absurdity in stonewalling the release of a report on the efficacy of drug prohibition. The report was commissioned from independent academic researchers, and various activist and citizen groups have spent years filing four separate Freedom of Information requests for it. The government has manufactured excuse after excuse, going out on such bizarre limbs that even the Economist has taken notice.

  • Shoddy phones becoming the norm

    With mobiles becoming increasingly capable of being upgraded automatically once they are connected to a computer, or even directly over-the-air, McHugh argues that this is leading to sub-par devices being rushed out the door, with manufacturers sitting safe in the knowledge that they can correct mistakes as complaints arise from users.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • So, Verizon, about those doubled early termination fees…’

      The FCC wants a “more complete understanding” of why Verizon Wireless recently doubled its early termination fees on smartphones. Is it really just about recouping costs? And if so, why would people on a two-year contract still owe $120 after 23 months?

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • US Trade Rep weasels and squirms when cornered on an airplane and questioned about secret copyright treaty

      Read this account of James Love’s conversation with Ambassador Ron Kirk, the head US Trade Representative, on the question of why the Draconian Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is taking place in secret. Love cornered Kirk on a United Airlines flight from Geneva to DC following a WTO Ministerial meeting. Love asks Kirk why the treaty isn’t public, and Kirk’s answers are — at best — total weaselling and at worst fabrications.

    • Artists To National Gallery Of Canada: ‘Pay Us Again And Again And Again!’

      Rose M. Welch writes in to point to the latest example of entitlement culture gone wrong. Apparently, two groups representing artists in Canada, The Canadian Artists’ Representation, known as CARFAC, and the Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Quebec (RAAV), have filed a complaint against the National Gallery in Canada. The National Gallery already pays artists an exhibition fee to display their art. But, CARFAC and RAAV think that the National Gallery needs to pay them multiple times for the same artworks, because the Gallery also uses some of the artwork it displays in brochures, catalogs and other offerings.

    • SOCAN Wants To Charge Buskers Performance Fees

      Remember how one collection society wanted to charge a woman because she put on music for her horses? Or how about the woman who worked in a grocery store, who was told to stop singing while stock the shelves, or the store would have to pay a performance fee. And, of course, we had ASCAP trying to claim that ringtones were performances, and mobile operators needed to pay up — beyond the license fee that was already paid on the recording.

      SOCAN, up in Canada, has been no exception, pushing for drastically increased rates that cover new places as well. But the most ridiculous may be the one sent in by a few people (Jesse was the first) about how SOCAN is trying to get buskers — street musicians — to pay a performance fee if they perform in SkyTrain stations in Vancouver. SOCAN is claiming that TransLink, the transit authority for the trains in Vancouver should be paying up to $40,000 in performance fees for all the buskers singing in stations, and TransLink’s response is to pass those fees on to the buskers.

    • Sherman Alexie – A Study in Misunderstanding

      Piracy didn’t destroy the music industry. There has yet to be a study which shows piracy had any more of an impact on the music industry than the following: 9/11, the rise of the video game as a cultural phenomenon, the transition towards HDTV, the rise of MySpace, or the iPod. Each of these items are tied together in a way much more convoluted than the music industry would like to admit.

      The major labels were first through the door when it came to the digital transition, and they came in still fat from the profits of the shift from LP and cassette to compact disc. They stumbled and fell, and file-sharing (often used in analog settings to build an artists career) became the boogie man of the digital switch.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Stormy Peters, HP open source strategist 01 (2004)


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

I Want GNU Systems…

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, GNU/Linux at 6:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Short response to a lot of recent FUD about the viability of Free software in demanding systems

Uncle Sam wants GNU

“The continuous and broad peer-review enabled by publicly available source code supports software reliability and security efforts through the identification and elimination of defects that might otherwise go unrecognized by a more limited core development team.”

CIO David Wennergren, Department of Defense (October 2009)

Links 07/12/2009: Chrome OS Adds 64-bit and VM Support, Linux Graphics Survey Results Analysed

Posted in News Roundup at 3:09 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • KELLNER: Thanks for year’s best technologies

    Ubuntu, one of the top Linux “distros,” is up to version 9.10, aka “Karmic Koala” — and I’m not making that nickname up. The open systems promise of Linux is catching up to reality, and that’s also a good thing.

  • Evading the Microsoft tax

    I’m running Archlinux on it, installed with the Chakra live distribution (the latest Archlinux live USB stick image isn’t recent enough for a confortable installation on this hardware), but I removed the stable (and awesome) KDEmod packages to replace them with packages from a KDE SC 4.4 snapshot repo. Hardware support under GNU/Linux is great, aside from the wired ethernet adapter which required some tweaking but it works now. Battery life is incredible. I had no trouble getting used to the keyboard, which is quite good, but the touchpad buttons are hard and they make middle-clicking difficult. The Atom N280 based system feels reasonably fast.

    I want to take this chance to thank Frank Karlitschek for his hosting of the OCS contest and his help and cooperation.

    Thumbs down Dell for actively refusing to do business like any decent internet store in the EU, and thumbs up Amazon.co.uk for cooperating with me in exercising the rights that the Windows EULA grants me.

  • Google

    • Google To Launch Chrome Extensions Within Days

      Google seems all geared up to woo the internet surfers by pushing the previously announced Chrome Extensions website online next week.

    • Chrome OS goes 64-bit

      Google’s Chrome OS has been the darling of open source developers for a while, and now it just got a bit more serious.

      ChromeiumOS64 is a new Chrome project with 64-bit support and it should offer a bit more potential for more serious use on proper, 64-bit CPUs. In addition to 64-bit support, ChromeiumOS64 also features Xen hypervisor! and allows users to run virtual machines on Linux or even Windows.

    • Chrome OS goes 64bit; adds a hypervisor
  • Kernel Space

    • Phoronix publishes Linux Graphics Survey results

      Just over two thirds of respondents said that they were using some sort of compositing window manager for 3D effects on their desktops. Approximately 37 per cent of users chose Compiz and 22 per cent preferred KDE’s KWin window manager.

    • 2009 Linux Graphics Survey Results

      Next up we found out which video adapter / graphics card brand(s) were being used by our survey participants. NVIDIA was the most common brand at just over 7,325 votes followed by ATI at 6,010, and then Intel at 4,543. VIA was just at 243 while SiS / XGI was halved at 105 and Matrox managed to come in at 109. Of those that participated in the survey, 68 were using some other brand. These results show NVIDIA commanding about 40% of the Linux systems followed by ATI/AMD at 33% and Intel at 25%. Compared to last year’s numbers, NVDIA lost a point or two of its market-share while ATI/AMD remained roughly the same and Intel had gained about 4%.

    • What Kind Of People Use X.Org’s VESA Driver?
    • Deduplication for the masses

      What about the rest of us? Smaller businesses will have to wait. There’s a lot of voices calling for a Linux-based deduping file system – there’s even one, lessfs, under development but it’s still in beta, and I wouldn’t trust my backups to a beta-level file system – would you?

      But the signs are that Linux will sprout at least one such add-on and may eventually include such functionality in the kernel. The problem is that enterprise-level data is hugely expensive because it meeds to be surrounded by management software, by redundant components and by other subsystems that ensure that not a single bit is lost. That makes deduping, rather than buying more storage, economically viable.

    • 2.6.32 is Out! But a Word of Caution Around CFQ

      In the 2.6.32 kernel there was a change to the CFQ default behavior to help improve interactiveness which is typically important for desktops and laptops or anything where something like media playback is important. However, this can have an impact on IO throughput performance. The author of CFQ, Jens Axboe, has a good discussion of the changes in an article on lwn.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • A Complete Guide To Customize Gnome Panel
    • KDE

      • Is Tabbed Windows Going To Be The Next Big Thing?

        With the release of KDE SC 4.4 Beta 1, tabbed windows is now available through its windows manager KWin. This raises the question, is tabbed windows going to be the next big thing after tabbed browsing?

        Tabs as a means of cleaning up the UI is by no means a new concept. It dates back to 1997 when NetCaptor, the first browser supporting tabed browsing was released. However, the concept really took off when Mozilla Firefox introduced it.

      • Hands-on: Plasma, KWin improve in KDE SC 4.4 beta 1

        There are a number of more sophisticated KWin changes that are under active development but probably won’t arrive in KDE SC 4.4. I’m particularly enthusiastic about a project that was undertaken by developer Nikhil Marathe which will ultimately add dynamic window tiling, so that KWin can be used like Ion and other keyboard-oriented tiling window managers. It’s still at an early stage of development, but it shows considerable promise.

        Several new applications will debut in 4.4, including a new blogging tool called Blogilo. The tool, formerly known as Bilbo, is designed to give users a way to manage and post content to blogs that use the Metaweblog API, including WordPress, MovableType, and Blogger. Its built-in content editor has optional WYSIWYG support and spellchecking. Due to its broad assortment of capabilities, Blogilo is arguably the most feature-rich native blogging tool on the Linux platform. It’s a particularly useful tool for users who write multiple blogs and want to manage them through a single interface.

      • KDE 4.3.4 now available for PCLinuxOS

        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.

      • KDE 4.4 Solid Auto Mount Enhancements
  • Distributions

    • Upgrading Elive Compiz to latest Elive

      Today was a day that offered me a few good surprises. On my editing schedule I have an assignment to cover virtual machines using KVM. But since KVM only works with CPUs that contain the necessary instructions, I knew my only chance was on my main desktop (and not any of my testing machines). My main desktop has been running a rather outdated version of Elive Compiz for some time now. I have been hesitant to upgrade for two reasons: 1) I am very busy and 2) My desktop was running smoothly. But the installation of KVM was giving me a bit of an obstacle I couldn’t get around – dependencies. So I knew I was going to have to bite the bullet and upgrade.

    • StressLinux

      • StressLinux – the linux distribution for high load stress testing sees new release

        StressLinux, a unique and handy linux distribution that provides a means of performing high load stress testing on systems, has seen a new release.

      • StressLinux 0.4.136 – Review and Commentary

        StressLinux.org just recently announced a new release and we thought we would take a quick look at the system to see what it’s made of.

        StressLinux is a pretty basic linux distribution that is quite small in size. At the time of testing, the ISO which is distributed in compressed bz2 format weighed in at about 141 megs.

        Built with SUSE Studio, this distribution isn’t for the feint of heart and if you aren’t familiar with the console or have never used applications like stress or hddtemp before, you may find it a bit confusing.

    • New Releases

      • Calculate Linux 10.0 released

        Calculate Linux has advanced server support and is published from Russia. It has some unique features that make it stand out from other distributions of Linux. Some of its features include support for a large range of file systems, offers a variety of installation types, and has multiple language implementations.

      • Savoring Flavors of Linux: PuppyLinux

        There are plenty of reasons to ‘wow’ this distro. One is the footprint size. The live CD ISO file is has a size of just 110MB and downloaded in a jiffy. As advertised all over the web, it can be used on older PCs with small .drives and memory.

        Having said that, I have had some problems trying to revive some older PCs with Puppy. It runs well, however on a P3 Dell (T.800) . Another word of caution is that if you plan to do some heavy weight development on Linux, Puppy may not be the one you want.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Debian Squeeze freeze and Ubuntu Dev Syncing

        The Debian GNU/Linux project is looking at a development freeze in March next year for its next release, Squeeze, the project leader Steve McIntyre says.

        A freeze means that no new features are incorporated and only bug fixes are done. The release does not take place until all RC (release critical) bugs are squashed.

      • Ubuntu 10.04 Will Have “Simple Scan”

        Robert Ancell is working on making scanning on Ubuntu “just work”. Currently scanning is performed using the default installed Xsane. Xsane has many options, has a style that does not integrate into the current Ubuntu desktop and does not allow scanning from within applications. In Karmic it was proposed to peplaced Xsane with the application Gnome-Scan, but Gnome-Scan was not found to be stable enough.

      • Trouble Free Karmic Koala

        The last time I blogged about Ubuntu Desktop, either I didn’t explain the problems I was having sufficiently, or people just don’t get it and react. I try to make what I write clear enough for those new to Linux, but that may make it seem like I’m not very experienced with Linux, even though I have been actively abusing it since 1995. I have decided to just keep on writing and let the chips fall where they may.

        [...]

        Not being an LTS version of Ubuntu, this version has worked very well.

      • Linux Mint 8-Helena

        Running a Linux Mint 8 Live CD, I boot into an adorable Linux Mint logo that’s animated! Then the splash screen really grabs my attention. I understand Zwopper of the Mint community is to “blame” for this beautiful background. Nice Job!

      • Best 4 Antivirus Software for Your Ubuntu OS

        Reasons include:

        * You have a dual-boot computer (Windows/Ubuntu) and you want to scan Windows drives,
        * You have Windows computers on your network, which you want to scan,
        * You are operating an e-mail gateway with Linux and want to check incoming/outgoing e-mails,
        * You want to scan Windows drives/shares etc.,
        * You are exchanging files with Windows users and you don’t want to pass on potentially infected files,
        * You are sending/forwarding e-mails to Windows users and you don’t want them to get infected with the attachments.

      • Things I like in Ubuntu

        Though I haven’t used (and won’t use) Ubuntu, it has a few things I appreciate (as far as I know them):

        Ubuntu One: I wish we could have something similar for Debian users (ideally, it should be extended so that we could sync our calendars, contacts, liferea data etc.).

      • Linux: I’m Lovin’ Ubuntu 9.10!

        Anyway, this is the happiest I’ve been with Linux in a long time :)

      • Ubuntu Sun Theme Gets Official Release
      • Android Theme for Ubuntu Linux
      • Day of Ubuntu Wallpapers
      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter #171

        In this issue we cover:

        * Renewed call for nominees – IRC Council
        * 2009 Ubuntu Server Edition user survey
        * UDS Lucid – Kernel Summary
        * An interview with Daniel Holbach

  • Devices/Embedded

    • OpenRisc simulator runs Linux

      OpenCores is an organization owned by ORSoc that invests in open source hardware. Their site hosts many hardware projects that ship the source code (Hardware Description Language in this case) with the GNU Lesser General Public Licence. This allows the adoption of free Intellectual Properties (hardware blocks) in any hardware design, being it proprietary (closed-source) or not. One of the most exciting project is the OpenRisc, a 32bit micro-controller that competes with professional cores.

    • Palm

    • Nokia

      • Nokia N900 Linux smartphone

        Some may find the size a concern, but it’s mainly a consequence of accommodating slide-out keyboard. In use, the keyboard, despite its compact layout, works very well and the camera is head and shoulders above what you’ll find on the iPhone. Overall, the Nokia N900 is a joy to use and full of good things that we liked very much, though it still feels like something of a work in progress. The Maemo 5 OS is very promising on this evidence – fast and useable, once we’d got our heads around the basic set-up, and bound to be much more versatile in a few months’ time as more apps and features are added.

      • Nokia N900 to be released in SA

        Nokia South Africa has announced today that the company has opted to release the N900 device locally, adding that it will be available in the second quarter of 2010.

    • Android

      • Droid: Easy, Breezy, Friendly, but a Little Fat

        Google’s intuitive operating system coupled with some top-shelf Motorola hardware and Verizon’s spritely 3G network make the Droid an attractive package for mobile users who want a smartphone they don’t need a degree in geek to use.

      • Discretix joins ARM Solution Center for Android

        Discretix, the leading provider of embedded security and DRM solutions for mobile devices and a member of the ARM® Connected Community™, today announced it is participating in the ARM Solution Center for Android, a collaborative resource for designers and developers of ARM technology-based products running on Android, the open source platform from the Open Handset Alliance TM. As part of this initiative, Discretix’ suite of mobile content protection solutions for Andriod™ have been optimized for the ARM architecture.

      • Wind River Launches Commercial Android Platform

        Wind River today announced the immediate availability of its commercial version of open source Android optimized on the OMAP™ 3 platform from Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI). The Wind River Platform for Android is a validated, fully compliant software platform based on the latest versions of the Android software development kit (SDK), available with pre-integrated software from initial partners Adobe, PacketVideo and Red Bend Software; and global support by Wind River.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Android-x86 – run Google Android on a netbook

        Although Google Android is an operating system designed to run on smartphones, it’s also possible to run it on netbooks. Earlier this year somebody already managed to install it onto an Eee PC 701. This wasn’t easy though, but now the Android-x86 project provides an easy way to install it onto your netbook.

      • Ubuntu Remix vs Chrome OS

        I like to use Ubuntu Remix more than Chrome OS in a netbook environment. No Doubts, Chrome OS is much faster than Ubuntu Remix, even Ubuntu Remix is already optimised for Intel Atom. I like it, because that is a OS with full features. In some situations, for example, I am on a travel in the rural area, or in a hotel room with a daily internet over $20 per day, I do not prefer to have a netbook always online.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Funding

    • Interview with Brian Kissel, JanRain

      About three or four years ago, a number of individuals in the open source community said–the concept of single sign-on is compelling, we ought to do something to get lots of companies to participate–and that was the genesis of OpenID.

  • BSD

    • First look at FreeBSD 8.0

      In the past, I’ve referred to FreeBSD as both stable and powerful and this release confirms that reputation. After spending a week installing, configuring and using the latest version of FreeBSD, I’d like to add that it’s a very mature and polished operating system too. On the surface, the system looks complex and arcane, but great lengths have been taken to make each step of each task smooth for the administrator.

  • Releases

    • Matriux Live CD has been released

      Matriux – The Open Source Security Distribution for Ethical Hackers and Penetration Testers The Matriux is a phenomenon that was waiting to happen. It is a fully featured security distribution consisting of a bunch of powerful, open source and free tools that can be used for various purposes including, but not limited to, penetration testing, ethical hacking, system and network administration, cyber forensics investigations, security testing, vulnerability analysis, and much more.

    • EtherPad to become open source as Google changes plans

      Google recently acquired AppJet, operator and developer of the online real time collaboration service EtherPad, and announced that it was closing down EtherPad and that the developers were moving to the Google Wave development team.

  • Openness

    • Infosys partnering CSIR for TB project

      New Delhi: Software giant Infosys Technologies Ltd is partnering the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for its open source drug discovery project (OSDD). The project, launched last year, is a novel attempt at fashioning an efficient way to look for tuberculosis (TB) drugs.

    • New Open Source Track-and-Trace Software Can Help Small Companies

      Small companies prepared to share commercially sensitive information can add value and develop new services for their customers, using a distributed track-and-trace software solution.

    • Transparency, Open Government and Climate Change
    • Local Governments Offer Data to Miners

      “The timing now with the open data movement is really critical because there are a lot of open-source tools that really make that data usable,” Mr. Gundersen said. These include the mapping tool he used to build Stumble Safely and also a site for the United States Agency for International Development that maps public health clinics.

    • Feds open to computer reboot

      It’s one example of what taxpayers could reap if federal institutions embraced what is known as open-source software, according to the paper.

    • Stage was set for drama at Whistler film summit

      When panel members talked about new ways of getting content out to the public, including Cross’s method of “open source” filmmaking where the consumer actually creates part of the movie, Safford did not over-react. In fact, he got off the best line of the day.

    • NNDA gives ‘open source’ economic development system a try

      Mike Skaggs, who heads the Nevada Commission on Economic Development staff, has dubbed NNDA’s approach as “open-source economic development.”

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Finance

    • Easy money: Goldman Sachs execs pocket $55 million in insider sale

      Goldman Sachs was directly responsible for creating, marketing, and trading many of the toxic financial instruments behind the mortgage crisis and resulting recession. The bank’s irresponsible behavior nearly caused its collapse, and taxpayers had to bail it out. Public funds saved Goldman Sachs, which this year is minting money and watching its stock soar.

      Last month, two Goldman vice chairmen quietly sold $55 million worth of company stock and pocketed the cash.

    • Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) Claims Didn’t Need Government Bailout

      The government and lawmakers are under fire for the outrageous bailouts and what they have cost taxpayers, along with the extraordinary deficits being run up, which will ultimately savage us all with high inflation.

    • Geithner Rejects Goldman Sachs Assertion It Didn’t Need U.S. Help

      Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner disputed claims by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executives that the bank could have survived the financial crisis without government help and said it and other Wall Street firms should show some restraint in handing out bonuses this year.

    • What’s Behind Geithner’s Populist Response to Goldman Sachs?

      Why, oh why, won’t anyone ask Geithner how he can, out of one side of his mouth, speak in such apocalyptic tones about the state of the financial system during the time of the AIG (AIG) and Lehman (LEHMQ.PK) collapses, and out of the other side of his mouth, tell the SIGTARP that the financial condition of AIG’s counterparties was not a relevant consideration in the decision to proceed with the AIG bailout? How is it possible for these two things to be true? I’ll answer my own question: It’s not. He’s lying.

    • JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs: One of Ten Member Banks of The Federal Reserve

      I have also believed that The Federal Reserve – a privately owned company – rules our country by virtue of Rothschild’s saying quoted above. There was a book written by Eustice Mullins many years ago, The Secrets of the Federal Reserve, in which he exposes the Rothschild’s, their connections to JP Morgan, the Bush (as in former Presidents) family, the Rockefeller’s and others of our wealthy elite.

    • Former Managing Director of Goldman Sachs: Accounting Fraud of the Too Big to Fails May Be Worse Than Enron

      Indeed, financial writers (like Reggie Middleton, Mike Shedlock, Tyler Durden, Karl Denninger and others) who have dug deep and analyzed the underlying data say that the giant banks are totally insolvent. This wouldn’t be the first time that the biggest banks went bust and then covered it up over a period of many years.

    • Windfall tax on Goldman Sachs: Hey, it rhymes!

      Steven Davidoff, the Deal Professor, the one writing for Dealbook, hits the nail right on the head when he says:
      After this windfall tax is paid, and it should be imposed on pre-compensation profits, Goldman and the rest of the financial institutions should be free to pay whatever bonuses it wants. If Goldman wants to pay bonuses on amounts that the federal government has deemed unearned by the firm’s cohorts, then Goldman can bargain with its shareholders over that issue. That is a discussion I would love to see. In the meantime, Goldman is now bargaining with its shareholders over paying bonuses that were not earned and is money attributable to the federal government’s efforts.

    • Goldman Sachs bankers on course for $19bn pay and bonuses

      Goldman Sachs will ignite a storm of controversy in the new year when it reveals that its bankers are on course to collect pay and bonuses worth $19bn (£11.4bn), despite 2009 being the worst year for the US economy in 30 years.

    • Goldman Sachs defends hefty compensation to star bankers

      Goldman Sachs (GS) has started to meet with its largest shareholders to defend the millions, and in some cases tens of millions, that it pays its management and star bankers.

    • Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) Meets with Investors to Stop Criticism over Record Compensation Packages
    • Goldman likely to pay annual bonus in stock: report

      Goldman Sachs Chief Lloyd Blankfein is weighing plans to increase the share of compensation paid out in equity to executives in a bid to quell public anger over the probability of large pay-outs, the Financial Times said.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Yahoo Issues Takedown Notice for Spying Price List

      Yahoo isn’t happy that a detailed menu of the spying services it provides law enforcement agencies has leaked onto the web.

      Shortly after Threat Level reported this week that Yahoo had blocked the FOIA release of its law enforcement and intelligence price list, someone provided a copy of the company’s spying guide to the whistleblower site Cryptome.

      The 17-page guide describes Yahoo’s data retention policies and the surveillance capabilities it can provide law enforcement, with a pricing list for these services. Cryptome also published lawful data-interception guides for Cox Communications, SBC, Cingular, Nextel, GTE and other telecoms and service providers.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • P2P Pre-Settlement Letters In Germany May Have Been Illegal; Lawyer Who Reveals This Threatened With Lawsuit

      There have been plenty of legal questions over the activities of a small group of companies in Europe, including law firm Davenport Lyons, ACS:Law, Logistep and Digiprotect among others — who all seem to work together to purposely put files online that they have licensed, and then send threat letters to the owner of any IP address that connects to them. This leads to a fair number of totally bogus demands for people to pay up to avoid getting sued. Apparently, the business is quite profitable, even as no actual lawsuits have been filed.

      [...]

      After a German lawyer, Thomas Stadler, reviewed all this and posted his analysis saying that the efforts in Germany were clearly illegal under German law (Google translation from the original) , the German lawyer who had sent the original document (the leaked one, detailing how these operations worked), Udo Kornmeier sent him a cease-and-desist letter (again, Google translation from the original), demanding he take down his blog post that showed the whole operation was illegal. Apparently, lawyers who may be breaking the law in Germany don’t like other lawyers exposing them…

Novell’s Zonker Slammed for Lying About Microsoft/Novell Deal

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Marketing, Microsoft, Novell at 10:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Open Microsoft with Zonker

Summary: Novell is lying about the treasonous patent deal (more than ever before) just 3 years after signing it

SOME days ago we wrote about Novell's "PR tourism" in London. Novell’s Joe Brockmeier acquired some free publicity when he told lies to Glyn Moody, Richard Hillesley, Jason Stamper, Cliff Saran, and Peter Judge. The Source has done a great job exposing the lies that Brockmeier had been telling. To quote some portions:

First, this paragraph implies that Eben Moglen supported the Microsoft/Novell deal – flatly untrue, but perhaps we can just chalk this up to the author’s word choice.

Second is the direct quote though that states Mr. Moglen approved of the Microsoft/Novell deal, which is a very strange word choice indeed for the man who co-authored the GPLv3 and positioned it explicitly as a method to “kill the Microsoft Novell deal“.

[...]

This is a clear distortion that Novell has constantly trotted out. They used the same sort of misdirection on the now-removed OpenSUSE Novell Microsoft FAQ, where they selectively quoted RMS…

This is a prime example of the dishonesty of Novell apologists and mouthpieces. There’s a lot more that could be said about this one bit, but let’s move on.

[...]

The implication of this quote – that Novell has somehow brought Microsoft to Jesus over Linux – is laughable in the extreme. Novell has done nothing but serve Microsoft’s best interests since the Microsoft/Novell deal.

Then again, this is Novell… a bunch of revisionists/liars, who always find ways of spinning and paying the right people to voice their spin rather than the truth. Novell is very much like Microsoft in that regard.

“It is in Novell’s interest – selfish interest, I will admit – to advance-remove whatever those inhibitors be to the advancement of Linux and open source.”

John Dragoon, Novell

Microsoft Sued Several More Times for Patent Infringement

Posted in America, Courtroom, Intellectual Monopoly, Microsoft, Patents at 10:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Business plan

Summary: Numerous new lawsuits are launched against Microsoft, which is accused of patent violations in different areas (Implicit Networks, NetView, and Eleven Engineering as plaintiffs)

TECHDIRT has this new post which it titled “Live By The Patent, Get Sued By The Patent”

Brian writes in to let us know that a patent holding firm, with a long history of suing a bunch of big name tech firms is now suing Microsoft as well, claiming that every copy of Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008 violate its patent 6629163 on “Demultiplexing a First Sequence of Packet Components to Identify Specific Components Wherein Subsequent Components are Processed without Re-Identifying Components.”

Microsoft knew what it was getting itself into. Groklaw has just found this recent article where Microsoft shows algorithms as mathematics (a fact they later deny when lobbying for software patents).

For 70 years, mathematicians have been stuck on the Halting Problem: Computers occasionally hang on one line of code and fail to move on to the next, and no one can reliably predict when that will happen. (The result is the unending hourglass or pinwheel of death.) But a few years ago, Microsoft researcher Byron Cook and his colleagues did the unthinkable — they hacked a fix. When Cook tried to describe the workaround, however, he found it impossible to explain with existing mathematical symbols.

Anyway, here is more information about Vista 7 violations which leave Microsoft vulnerable. Microsoft getting sued for software patents infringement was inevitable (there are over 50 patent infringement cases pending against Microsoft, which make up a large proportion of the whole). “Implicit Networks” is the plaintiff and it seems to be all about patents, not products.

Implicit Networks launched a law suit against Microsoft in a California district court, alleging the software giant had breached a patent it owns.

There is another new patent lawsuit against Microsoft, this time from NetView Technologies which has real products.

Founded in 2000 by Robert Handsaker and Gregory Rasin, Belmont, Mass.-based NetView Technologies Inc. is a business-software maker whose flagship product is a product designed to manage employee incentives by tracking sales, sales quotas and compensation. The company’s software uses Microsoft’s widely popular Excel spreadsheet product.

More information can be found here:

A Belmont software company has filed suit today in U.S. District Court in Boston against Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), claiming the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant infringed its patent on a business method for extracting data from spreadsheets.

With over 50 patent cases (and growing) under its wing, Microsoft is likely to come under great pressure. Microsoft had to lay off many lawyers and lower the legal budget by a staggering 15%, so will it be able to keep up? It wanted software patents and Microsoft boosters like Alexander Wolfe defend the practice in relation to a Fog Computing patent, joined by other shills like Maureen O’Gara [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Gavin Clarke wrote about this patent last week and O’Gara cites colleagues from the Microsoft community. There is also Dan Lyons, who is cursing Microsoft’s competition this week, but that’s another story altogether.

A third new lawsuit dawns upon Microsoft, this time coming from Canada, just like i4i [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Microsoft will be one among three defendants though.

Bloomberg News and the San Jose Mercury News are reporting that Eleven Engineering Inc. [http://www.elevenengineering.com/home/], a maker of microprocessors for home entertainment systems, has claimed the controllers for the Xbox 360, Wii and PlayStation 3 game systems incorporate wireless features patented by the company, and that the three game companies are using the technology without permission.

Here is information about the claimant:

Eleven Engineering, based in Edmonton, Canada, said it is a global leader in digital wireless technologies – supplying component and semiconductors to electronics companies.

Other such lawsuits are threatening Linux devices (Nook) and a Canadian giant, RIM, is currently facing a BlackBerry embargo due to patents.

Research In Motion Ltd., the maker of the BlackBerry phone, is facing a patent-infringement complaint with a U.S. trade agency that may result in the devices being banned from the U.

How on Earth are all these lawsuits beneficial to the industry as a whole, including customers? They are not. The Against Monopoly Web site has this new essay decrying the obsession with intellectual monopolies. To quote just a portion. [via Jose X]

To cut a long thing short, the moment I realised that there is a conflict between rights to intellectual property and rights to physical property, I also realised that something is wrong about the whole thing. Such a contradiction usually means that something is wrong with the premises of the person facing the contradiction – me.

Restricting a person from giving physical shape to an idea he has in his mind is clearly a violation of his Liberty and Property Rights. However, this is precisely what implementation of IP means. IP proponents typically tent to retort saying that what I am calling “violation of Liberty and Property Rights” is actually implementation of the property rights of the owner of the idea/pattern that is the subject of the IP.

If it is true that in the name of protecting Intellectual Property Rights, one is actually violating the Liberty of some individuals, in effect one is also saying that the holders of Intellectual Property have an undefined lien on the Liberty of the individuals of the other part. Translated, this gives some individuals the right to enslave others by virtue of being holders of Intellectual Property rights. This made the notion all the more bizarre to me. It was in direct contradiction of the most basic principles of Objectivism that no man may claim the right to initiate force against another.

Even Microsoft knew that patents are detrimental, but that was before it became a monopoly in constant need for intellectual monopolies that cement its dominant position. Here is how it came about.

“If people had understood how patents would be granted when most of today’s ideas were invented, and had taken out patents, the industry would be at a complete standstill today.”

Bill Gates (when Microsoft was smaller)

Patent Imperialism Threatens Europe

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 9:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Roman soldier

Summary: The loophole which Microsoft front groups like ACT have been lobbying for is close to becoming a reality

FREE software is currently under legal attack in Europe [1, 2]. Glyn Moody, a Brit, writes: “EU moves towards common patent system – http://bit.ly/7JOHcY now watch them sneak in software patents…”

Here is the corresponding reference from the BBC:

European ministers say they have agreed on a plan to introduce a common EU-wide patent system that could save companies millions of euros.

Sweden’s foreign ministry says industry ministers reached a deal on the main elements of the EU patent and setting up a single European Patent Court.

Gemstar’s appalling patent strategy is one that we wrote about in [1, 2, 3, 4]. Gemstar has not been successful in the UK so far, but it is going to appeal. Any EU-wide patent system would possibly help Gemstar impose its patent abuse on British companies, even without a challenge in court. What has this system sunk to? Here is some more information about this “enhanced” system.

Today was the final day of the 2982nd Competitiveness (Internal market, Industry and Research) EU Council meeting and, as expected, some important political signal was sent out.

In particular, the EU Council has agreed on a number of conclusions on the main features of the European and EU Patents Court. On the EU patent they should form part of the overall final agreement on a package of measures for an Enhanced Patent System in Europe comprising the creation of a European and EU Patents Court (EEUPC), an EU patent, including the separate regulation on certain special translation arrangements, an Enhanced Partnership between the European Patent Office and central industrial property offices of Member States and, to the extent necessary, amendments to the European Patent Convention (EPC).

While it is marketed as a positive thing, the reality is very much the opposite. It’s a possibility for one country (or corporocracy) to expand ludicrous laws like DMCA to the rest of the world. ACTA has a similar effect [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13].

“Small Software companies cannot afford to go to court or pay damages. Who is this software patent system for?” —Marco Schulze, Nightlabs Gmbh

De Facto Microsoft Press Already Rewrites the Story of Microsoft’s Destruction of Yahoo!, Other Stories

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Servers at 9:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Temple

Summary: Distortion of the truth as seen coming from the people who always work on embellishing Microsoft’s history

REVISIONISM from Microsoft is a crucial ingredient and technique for improving the company’s image, especially after crimes are committed. We wrote about Microsoft revisionists many times before, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

The ‘Microsoft press’ is currently whitewashing, pretending for the second time in a week that Microsoft’s recent bullying scenarios do not exist and never happened.

“Revisionism from Microsoft is a crucial ingredient and technique for improving the company’s image, especially after crimes are committed.”Recent examples include the predatory actions against Linux [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], against Yahoo!, and against Google (most recently the Murdoch plot [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]). Some articles still say that “Microsoft may pay newspapers to avoid Google” (there are more newspapers coming up), but Microsoft denies it.

The same ‘Microsoft press’ (which we last complained about last night) is using miserable measures to sell the illusions Microsoft is lusting. It is citing US-only figures from partners of Microsoft such as comScore [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

Microsoft’s PR placer, Ina Fried, is giving only Microsoft’s side of the Yahoo! story whilst others are daemonising those who try to restore some justice, notably the European Commission which blocked the deal [1, 2, 3, 4]. Microsoft Nick is among those who prod the party line of Microsoft. Scott M. Fulton, who actually supported/advocated oversight, has this to say:

While Almunia could carry out existing penalties imposed against Microsoft and Intel, it’s conceivable he could leave future penalty guidelines to the Court of First Instance to determine, or at least to the Commission itself to legislate in advance.

Microsoft apologists/revisionists can also be seen here, in an article which is feeding Microsoft Nick for some more PR. What fuels his revisionism are statements like:

Microsoft is nevertheless a very different company today – and the perception of it throughout the region’s technology hotbed has shifted dramatically too.

That’s utter nonsense. Microsoft is not a different company when it comes to its business practices. It’s just a tired talking point which they parrot endlessly. Right now, having fought Yahoo! (proxy battle), Microsoft wants people to believe it’s a mutual arrangement. But the real thinking goes like this: “we don’t want to spend much money on you, Yahoo, so just pass over all your visitors and customers.”

This type of bullying from Microsoft, which eventually hijacked Yahoo! and drove away the talent, is something that we covered here before [1, 2, 3]. The mainstream press totally avoids the reality and spins this as Yahoo! running to Microsoft rather than the other way around. With the one-sided deal likely to be finalised shortly (we explained the absurdity of this deal in [1, 2]), one reader of ours ponders the impact on Yahoo's BSD (and Free software) endeavours. He writes:

It looks like the hostile takeover of Yahoo’s board of directors has succeeded in shutting down Yahoo!

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Search-Engines/…

So now, Yahoo may become a fascade for Bling, which is a crappy front end for Wolfram Alpha. It would be a smarter move, if Yahoo’s engine is being gutted, to skip Bling. That would improve reliability and content:
http://www.itwire.com/content/view/29820/53/

One could cut out all the middlemen and just go straight to Wolfram Alpha:
http://www.wolframalpha.com/

Yahoo management has also recently been heavily infected with Microsoft staff. But none of the changes brought about by Microsoft activists, either on the board of directors or on Yahoo staff, are really about service or function, are they?

Now, since Yahoo! was a major developer and contributor to FreeBSD and PHP development, it would be very important to get out in daylight how these two valuable tools will be affected. With PHP, it probably means that a lot of web activity will move back to Perl or over to Python.

As our reader points out in the above, Microsoft has gotten into the business of ‘consuming’ other people’s services, which are typically running on GNU/Linux and Free software. Examples are given in this new article.

Rather than developing a direct rival to Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, Microsoft is working with those services to incorporate their features into its own products.

Microsoft is increasingly becoming dependent on GNU/Linux then. None of these services rely on Microsoft software (they persist with the LAMP stack).

Next, it brings us to Microsoft's search downtime (it uses Windows) — a predictable downtime which Mac sites are cheering and Microsoft PR folks like Ina Fried try to play down. Others from the Microsoft crowd and press ignore the simple truth and Microsoft Nick is playing along with the Microsoft talking point. Another Microsoft booster, Stuart Johnston, uses this downtimes as an excuse to promote Microsoft. What has ever happened to objective reporting? It is actually bound to get worse.

A few days ago we wrote about the Comcast/NBC situation, noting that Microsoft’s impact on the media is expanding. Now comes this update from a Microsoft-sponsored blog:

NBCU deal could bring Microsoft and Comcast back together again

[...]

I followed up with Microsoft this morning to find out the specific implications of the Comcast-GE announcement for msnbc.com, and the company referred me to an NBC Universal representative. I’ll update this post depending on the response.

Unless there’s an unexpected twist, the deal would put Microsoft and Comcast in business together, via msnbc.com — potentially giving new life to a corporate relationship that appeared to have fizzled out. Microsoft in January sold its remaining 7.3 percent stake in Comcast, ending a relationship that had started with the Redmond company’s landmark $1 billion investment in the cable company in 1997.

Last week we showed that MSNBC/MSN is still publishing Linux- and open source-hostile articles and now we find it recommending Microsoft’s stock. No conflict of interests here?

“Consumer Groups Cry Foul on Comcast’s NBC Play,” says the headline of this new article. It also mentions Microsoft.

Comcast and General Electric’s long-anticipated merger agreement — which would see see the cable giant take a controlling stake in NBC Universal — is already facing strident opposition from consumer groups, and concerns from lawmakers around the alliance of content with distribution.

To critics, the deal to create the nation’s biggest entertainment conglomerate invites a host of scenarios where Comcast could unfairly favor NBC programming through its television and Internet services.

“Antitrust regulators must ensure that all content providers are treated fairly on the Comcast platform, and that Comcast does not get undue advantages in gaining access to programming,” Sen. Herb Kohl, chairman of the Senate antitrust subcommittee, said in statement today, saying he planned to hold a hearing on the matter.

Microsoft is still focusing on commercials, despite complaints even from a parents group. “‘Family Guy’ content not so family oriented,” says this new article which covers the same subject. At Microsoft, it's all about spin/PR.

“Government attorneys accuse Microsoft of using its monopoly position to bully, bribe and attempt to collude with others in the industry, while illegally expanding and protecting its Windows franchise.”

The antitrust case: a timeline

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