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Push-Polling Against the “G” in GNOME

Posted in Apple, GNOME, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft at 9:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Jobs

from JaBB

Summary: Richard Stallman and what seems like “Jobs’ mob”/Mono mob in a debate over GNOME’s views on Free(dom) software

THE unnecessary tension between GNU and a few people in GNOME was mentioned earlier today and the issue will hopefully be resolved now that provocateurs are being cornered. Here is a message from Dave Neary:

Re: Code of Conduct and Foundation membership

  • From: Dave Neary <dneary gnome org>
  • To: “Lefty (石鏡 )” <lefty shugendo org>
  • Cc: pvanhoof gnome org, rms gnu org, foundation-list gnome org
  • Subject: Re: Code of Conduct and Foundation membership
  • Date: Mon, 14 Dec 2009 11:35:02 +0100


Lefty (石鏡 ) wrote:
> As a specific example, to the question, "Do you agree that viewing

> proprietary software as 'illegitimate', 'immoral', 'antisocial' and/or
> 'unethical' should be a pre-condition for syndication on Planet GNOME?", so
> far 151 respondents have answered "No", only 19 have answered "Yes". That's
> about an 8-to-1 ratio.

I'm no statistician (well, not any more at any rate), but I know that
you can construct surveys to say anything. If you ask someone "Do you
want to bring our boys home?" in the US, people are anti-war - if you
ask "Should we surrender in Iraq?" they're pro-war. Leading questions
prove nothing.

Your survey, in particular, is not particularly impartial. I would say
that it is somewhere between leading and "push polling". It's the type
of thing you rightly criticise when it is used by Boycott Novell.

Quite honestly, like others, I would just like to see this discussion
end. As I said before the weekend (50 emails ago), no opinions are being
changed, no new information of interest to GNOME Foundation members has

I'd like to ask both Lefty & Richard to refrain from mailing to this
thread again.

Thank you,

Dave Neary
GNOME Foundation member
dneary gnome org

That’s what may happen when Apple fans enter the GNOME Foundation (people who don’t care about Freedom and expect others to feel the same way). The Inquirer likes to tease Apple fans for their attitude and in this latest article it even calls them “Jobs’ Mob”.

FRUITY PURVEYOR of cracked Imacs, Apple has decided not to ship any more of the machines for a couple of weeks.

On its webgroup, Jobs’ Mob said sorry to customers amid reports of shipping delays affecting its recently introduced Imac computers.

Well, it seems like “Jobs’ Mob” is also busy defaming Richard Stallman and the FSF (by distortion). Regarding those who are responsible for damaging hostility and friction, The Source wrote the following this morning:

Do you remember the last controversy around Richard Stallman and Mono? Well, surprise surprise: the players are same! Imagine that! Quite the coincidence.

It just so happens that the person calling for the vote is the same person that created the whole “I am not afraid of people writing code” slur-meme.

It just so happens that the person seconding the call for the vote is the same person that crafted “open letters”, published private correspondance and called for Stallman to be banned from speaking at future conferences.

(The irony of calling for someone to be banned from speaking while later pretending outrage at that same person for calling into question how appropriate some topics are is quite delicious.)

Again, read the posts to the mailing list and on the blogs. Stallman is calm and composed while being called a “fascistic extremist“, and subjected to push polling. His critics as usual are condescending, twist his words, and resort to childish rhetoric at every opportunity.

The beauty of the mailing list is that it is all laid out there for anyone to see.

Miguel de Icaza’s response goes like this:


> GNOME is not connected with the anti-hunting movement; there’s no
> reason it should have any position on the question. But GNOME is part
> of the GNU Project, and it ought to support the free software
> movement. The most minimal support for the free software movement is
> to refrain from going directly against it; that is, to avoid
> presenting proprietary software as legitimate.

Gnome supports both the free software movement as well as proprietary developers, and that is why Gnome for years has encouraged the use of the LGPL license for all of its libraries.

Gnome is a general purpose desktop, but it also recognizes the need for proprietary applications to use these libraries and to build and integrate properly with it.


According to Sam Varghese, this whole issue actually arose because Miguel de Icaza had been promoting proprietary Microsoft software. There is no reason to do that (let alone promotion of Mono, which the FSF is against). Gnote is still moving forward and as Clair Ching points out:

If you’re looking for an alternative to Tomboy which is faster and uses less memory, then GNote is the way to go.

She leaves out the part about Mono being troublesome; for practical reasons too, Gnote cannot be ignored.

Microsoft Violates Copyright Law (Corrected)

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux, GPL, Kernel, Law, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 9:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Was: "Microsoft Violates the GNU GPL for Third Time in 2009"; see comments for correction]

“There’s free software and then there’s open source… there is this thing called the GPL, which we disagree with.”

Bill Gates, April 2008

Summary: Microsoft is said to be breaking the law again, not just mimicking another Web site but also misappropriating someone else’s code

Microsoft has just done it for the third time (at least) this year. It violated the very same licence it had been mocking for ages. Earlier today we mentioned the circumstances under which Microsoft got sued in China for copyright infringement. Windows 98, 2000, 2003 and Windows XP are banned as a result and it is a Vista 7 tool that was caught violating the GPL [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], which incidentally means that Microsoft violates copyright law all over the place, even in Linux [1, 2, 3].

The latest alleged violation has the victim offer sufficiently compelling proof to make it quite certain. We wrote about the offending service at the beginning of the month and as one reader of ours puts it:

This is the second code issue in as many months with Microsoft being alleged to have infringed on the GPL with code in their software. As usual it doesn’t take long for the “Microsoft blames” statements to arrive and in this instance it was in the form of blaming 3rd party developers for the “dodgy” code. The question I had at the time was, if Microsoft don’t have control of their own code (in that they were not aware) what else lurks inside their products which we may not be aware of.

Even Windows sites are covering this scandal and a reader wrote to us saying: “you might add a list including Sendo, SendIT, etc and going on back to Stac Electronics.”

Microsoft does not mind the law when it competes.

Time to End Microsoft’s Digital Occupation of Spain

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Law at 8:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More boiler room deals from Microsoft Spain could be a violation of the law

WE PREVIOUSLY wrote about what Microsoft was doing to Spain in many posts that notably include:

  1. Microsoft Teaches Spanish Schools How to Smoke Windows
  2. What Does Microsoft Want From Spain? (Updated)
  3. Spanish Government May be Breaking the Law with Microsoft. European Commission Should Investigate.
  4. Bill Gates Uses Malaria to Attack GNU/Linux
  5. Reader’s Report from Spain: “Bill Gates Meets Tomorrow with Spain’s Prime Minister in Order to Ensure Spanish School Students Get ‘Addicted’”
  6. Microsoft is Outmuscling OOXML Opposition in Spain (Updatedx3)

There is this important new update from Linux Magazine:

Microsoft had lost the single Windows booting option in school computers in Spain some time ago. But now they are getting back: The Spanish Government announced in a surprising move that an agreement with Microsoft has been signed to give out laptops to primary schoolchildren next year.

This goes waaaaay back. We have reported about the interest Microsoft has in installing its operating system on as many schoolchildrens’ laptops as possible here, here and here.

Having lost the single Windows booting option in all regions in Spain and having been ditched in most regions where single boot machines with GNU/Linux over the proposed dual Window/Linux booting is prefered, the people from Redmond have decided to move business into the place where things usually work out best for them: the back room.


Jose María Lancho, president of HispaLinux, has stated to Público newspaper that the agreement “puts free competition in jeopardy” and reminded the minister that the agreement breaks the law on several counts, including article 49 of the law for Public Sector Contracts that forbids hiring companies which “have been fined due to serious infringements with regards to market discipline matters” – Microsoft has been fined several times in Europe for those exact same reason.

As one person put it, ‘Every so often someone says, “It’s too late for XXX, Microsoft has *won* that battle!” Well it’s time to realize that Microsoft has never learned that one – to their benefit. In fact, Microsoft practically ALWAYS loses the first 2 or 3 battles. But they persist, they practically never give up, and perhaps THAT is one key to their success.’

‘Declaring a market battleground “over” and ceding it to Microsoft is THE mistake, because Microsoft certainly doesn’t do the same.’

It is time to fight back. Fight for the freedom of this future generation.

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 14th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:19 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 14/12/2009: Oracle Makes Commitment and Gets EU Pass

Posted in News Roundup at 5:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • What would Al Gore use?

    But the movie was 3 years ago, what does Al Gore use now? According to netcraft.com, algore.com uses Linux. Surely if Microsoft Windows was really “the new efficiency”he would have switched. Sorry Mr. Ballmer, the Linux grass is greener.

  • Geek Holiday Guide: Gifts, Stress-Busters and a Fast Track to Jan. 4

    Then there was Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack, who’s dreaming of “a decent mp3 player with OGG and FLAC support that only needs standard USB drivers to work.

    “Combine that with a decent set of noise-isolating ear canal headphones, and you have a surefire way of letting your favorite geek avoid all of the over-repeated, attempting-cute-but-failing-badly, ridiculously annoying music that tends to get played over the month of December,” he explained.

  • Linux and windows stereotypes.

    In our lives we tend to apply stereotypes. Everyone has a stereotype for their work, ethnic persuasion or geographical location. Particularly in the computing industry there exists, often spiteful, stereotypes between windows and Linux advocates. They not only have stereotypes for the ‘other side’ so to speak but also for themselves.

    Stereotypes are a brand that everyone does not like to be compared to, however, like myths, there is often a germ of truth. Cops like doughnuts, postmen are scared of dogs, Europeans are wimps and Americans are crass. Well I like doughnuts but I am not a policeman. A lot of my friends are scared of dogs. Anyone who watches sports will know that Europeans are definitely not wimps and I know a lot of very nice and cultured Americans.


    Linux stereotypes for themselves.

    * Linux is the best thing since sliced bread.
    * It is so easy to use that Grandma can use it.
    * It is Enterprise ready and can handle all business needs.
    * They believe that software should be free for everyone to use and modify.
    * Linux is more secure than windows and doesn’t suffer from virus’s and malware.
    * They contribute to Linux because they want to.

    Linux stereotypes for windows.

    * Windows users are dumb and uneducated.
    * They throw away money for a second rate operating system.
    * Windows crashes every second day and has to be reloaded all of the time.
    * Windows is not secure and full of viruses and malware.
    * Windows users are obnoxious and spread FUD all the time.
    * Microsoft only cares about making a profit.

  • Top Geeks To Converge On Wellington

    When the first Australasian Linux conference (LCA) was held at Monash University, Melbourne in 1999, it was funded entirely from one of the founder’s personal credit cards. Since then, the conference has gone from strength to strength, attracting some of the biggest corporate sponsors such as Google, HP and IBM. In 2010, LCA will come to Wellington, New Zealand from Monday 18 to Saturday 23 January, bringing together some of the brightest minds in the free and open source community.

  • Is Desktop Linux Handicap Accessible?

    Surprisingly, yes, today’s Linux distros are more accessible than I had thought when I first started researching this topic. While speech recognition has a way to go, other aspects of desktop accessibility are showing tremendous levels of progress.

  • Google

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel support for infrared receivers

      One of the stated goals of the staging tree is to bring widely-used drivers into the mainline kernel tree. This effort has been quite successful; the number of out-of-tree drivers has dropped considerably over the last year or so. There is one high-profile holdout, though: the Linux Infrared Remote Control (LIRC) subsystem. LIRC is used to obtain input events from remote control devices and feed them through to applications; Linux-based digital video recorder systems are heavy LIRC users, but there are others as well. Back in October, Jarod Wilson posted a new version of LIRC for consideration. One month later, the kernel developers have started talking about it; what they lack in punctuality has been more than made up for in volume.

    • With Linux 2.6.32, Btrfs Gains As EXT4 Recedes

      While the EXT3 file-system has been in the mainline Linux kernel since 2001 and work started on it back in the late 90′s, this mature file-system (that used to be the default for most Linux distributions up until this year when more vendors began adopting EXT4) is still running strong with the Linux 2.6.32 kernel. In fact, after the recent EXT4 changes, EXT3 by default is faster than EXT4 in many of our disk benchmarks.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Watch out Microsoft: GNOME is poised to have a killer 2010

      With 3.0 on the horizon, it made me wonder — when was the last time you looked at GNOME? This open source desktop project actually celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2009 (March, 2009). It had intended to release the much ballyhooed 3.0 version this year, but for various reasons, decided the latest release, available in October, would be better off named GNOME 2.30.

    • Community, Identity, Stability

      The second beta release of KDE Software Compilation 4.4 is coming up in about a week and a half. It’s a long name for a release, but it carries with it additional meanings and allows emphasis in important areas which were not as strongly emphasized before.

  • Distributions

    • Pimp my Slack!

      I am a KDE fan. Besides the eye-candy, I love the KDE apps. They are much better at functionality than their Gnome counterparts, e.g-> Brasero in Gnome has caused a lot of burn failures, whereas K3b is just perfect. Gnome just gets in your way of doing things. Anyway, this article is about what I did with my default Slackware install to make it more beautiful. Before I proceed let me tell you, I will be using Slackware 13.0 with vbatts KDE4.3.1 packages, but that shouldn’t be a problem for you if you are using any other KDE version!

    • A look at LinuxConsole 1.0.2009

      At the end of the week, I found myself liking LinuxConsole. It’s not perfect, but it has a clean way of doing things. The modular design is well done and the system is very light. The range of functionality is good for a mere 200 MB download and I’m sure my experience would have gone even smoother had I downloaded the DVD image, which contains all the bells and whistles. There are a few things I’d like to see worked on for the next release, the most important area probably being documentation. Some basic things are covered on the web site, but for the most part, the user is left to click on things to find out what will happen.

    • New Releases

      • Distributions: No winter break in Linux land

        With Fedora 12 and Ubuntu 9.10 now out the door, developers are already turning their attention to the spring releases. KDE3 has definitively gone the way of the dodo as far as openSUSE and Mandriva are concerned. Google is taking its first steps in the operating system market with Chrome OS.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora 12

        Fedora is a bleeding edge distro designed to include the latest and greatest ‘libre’ software. The distro aims to ‘lead rather than to follow’.


        Despite some of these issues, I have to say I really liked this release of Fedora. Stability improved in leaps and bounds as updates were put out, and the cutting edge nature of the distro means that all the latest software is available, unlike other distros.

      • Managing virtual machines in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4

        Managing virtual machines (VMs) in Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.4 with the VM management tools virt-manager and virsh makes it easier to get a handle on your Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) environments.

    • Arch Family

      • Arch Linux 2009.8 Installation Visualization – VirtualBox

        Here’s another visual walkthrough of an installation. This time of Arch Linux Core (Core has all the base packages on CD and you have the option for a network, or cd install), which is typically for the more advanced Linux users.

        I’m not going to commentate per screenshot because well, it’d take me FOREVER. I’ll do a few though, and hope I don’t get carried away.

      • ArchLinux + modular KDE 4 + Tools = Chakra (Alpha 4)

        Yet for another time, I find myself switching distros. I hope am not addicted or something :) . If not for anything else, I am enjoying the ride! This time is Chakra, and I must admit, am impressed!

    • Debian Family

      • 30 reasons why Ubuntu is here to stay
      • Linux Mint: Making Linux easy

        Linux Mint 8 also simplifies the desktop by doing away with the dual-menubar layout preferred by Ubuntu in favour of a single menubar across the bottom of the screen. Mint also trims down the tripartite Applications/Places/System menu of Ubuntu and condenses this into a single Main Menu flyout. This adds a layer of simplicity to the Mint desktop and mimics the style of the Windows desktop, with which most users are familiar.

        Despite criticisms over its use of non-free software tools and its obvious catering for entry-level users, Linux Mint has clearly found its niche, regularly ranked among the five most popular Linux versions on Linux tracker Distrowatch.com.

        Long time Linux users probably won’t be rushing out to try Mint Linux but for users looking to take a first step into Linux, Linux Mint 8 could be one of the better starting points.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Best Linux Distributions for Netbooks

      A Linux distribution is a Linux operating system distributed by a specific vendor, such as Ubuntu. The best Linux distribution for your netbook varies according to your personal preferences and which netbook PC you own or plan to purchase. For example, if you are familiar with using Ubuntu on a desktop PC, you might prefer to install the Ubuntu Netbook Remix on your netbook PC. Alternatively, you can purchase a netbook with a preinstalled Linux operating system.

    • Netbook screen too small? Not for this Linux software

      I love my little “netbook” laptop computer, barely the size of a small hardcover book. But running programs on it turned out to be more frustrating than I’d imagined.

      The problem? Programs written for standard computers often come with toolbars along the top, status bars along the bottom and a dozen other gadgets that take up precious room on a netbook screen.

    • Sugar Gets Sweeter: Former OLPC Exec Walter Bender on Netbooks, E-books, Blueberry, and Cloudberry

      Second, Bender hinted that the next release of Sugar on a Stick after Blueberry, code named “Cloudberry,” will take Sugar in some very interesting new directions, bringing capabilities like cloud-based storage to Sugar users. That ought to make it easier for teachers and students to share documents and applications, for one thing. Click through to the end of the interview for the details.

Free Software/Open Source

  • From Hype To Hype
  • A bad workman blames his (open source) tools

    A car mechanic, generally speaking, knows that Snap-on brand tools are some of the best in the industry and that it takes a proper monkey not to be able to use one of the company’s wrenches properly.

    The problem with open source software application development (if there is one) you might argue is that there are so many comparatively ‘ungraded’ tools out there that you can find yourself using a product that is not necessarily best suited to the job in hand.

  • Arduino development on OpenSolaris

    Part of the draw of Arduino development is that it is open-source and cross-platform. It is hard to believe that it took this long but OpenSolaris can be added to the list of operating systems that love to work with Arduino.

  • Databases

    • Oracle customers and MySQL users speak out

      Behind closed doors, over Thursday and Friday, the European Commission has been holding a hearing on the proposed acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle. The Wall Street Journal reports that several Oracle customers, including the Spanish bank BBVA, Vodafone UK, the National Health Service and the Oracle user group, spoke in support of the acquisition. The hearing had been preceded by an initiative by Oracle to mobilise customers to speak out on the Commission’s objections to the takeover.

    • The European Commission and Oracle-Sun

      I spent last Thursday and Friday in Brussels, attending the European Commission’s Oral Hearing in the competition investigation of the acquisition of Sun Microsystems by Oracle. The proceedings at the Oral Hearing were confidential; I cannot write about the presentations made there by others. I can, however, summarize the three points I made during my brief presentation on Friday; my previous written submission to the commission is already available. I want to explain what I said and where I think we stand now that the Oral Hearing is over.


      If the “remedy” chosen is to permit the merger unconditionally, the likeliest outcome is the one most favorable to competition. For its own business reasons, Oracle will heavily invest in MySQL’s future. In due course, Oracle should upgrade the license of MySQL to GPLv3, and should accept and integrate third-party patches under that license. This will provide safety from any future patent aggression by any of the community’s members against the program. By diversifying its copyright ownership, MySQL will become a pure GPL commons. The companies that currently sell MySQL in proprietary combinations can continue to use and upgrade their products with their own maintenance and enhancements, if they don’t want to come into the GPL community. Oracle will continue to have exactly the same business reasons to support and lead the MySQL community, and the same reasons to be apprehensive for their position should they be poor stewards of the community’s value. And everyone else can invest in MySQL with the knowledge that they will always have access to the value of everyone else’s investments as well as their own. The modularity and flexibility of MySQL’s architecture will maximize the extent of the value everyone can realize from the commons. By selling support for the world’s most installed database, Oracle can project itself everywhere that Microsoft SQL Server might want to go, and can drive SQL Server into competition with a price-zero GPL’d community product, which experience as well as theory shows is a game Microsoft can’t win.

      So the GPL ensures robust and beneficial competition in the global software industry. Once again.

    • MySQL Needs Your Help, Now!

      Second, the idea that Oracle should not acquire MySQL without limitations or conditions has been championed by such luminaries as Richard Stallman. While Eben Moglen wrote a missive on behalf of Oracle, his idea that any fork using GPL code has the exact same business opportunities Oracle has is, plainly, absurd. It shows a deep misunderstanding of how MySQL’s dual licensing has worked to build a viable business from Free Software. In short, Stallman “gets it,” Moglen does not.

    • Oracle concessions on Sun merger get EC thumbs up

      Oracle’s planned acquisition of Sun Microsystems looks set to win regulatory approval by the European Commission.

      The companies’ latest promises to safeguard competition in the market for database software, make the Commission optimistic that the case will have a satisfactory outcome, it said today.

    • Oracle-Sun merger gains favor in Europe

      The Commission, Europe’s top antitrust regulator, hosted a two-day hearing at the end of last week, giving Oracle the chance to defend its planned deal with Sun. Since then, officials in the Commission’s competition division have been engaged in discussions with Oracle over the weekend about how to allow the deal to go ahead without harming Sun’s open source database, MySQL.

    • Oracle makes commitments on MySQL – Update

      Oracle has publicly committed to enhance MySQL under the GPL, not force third parties to GPL their storage engines and increase spending on MySQL development. The promises were part of ten commitments in a press statement which Oracle says is the result of “constructive discussions with the European Commission”. This is a reference to the hearings which took place on Thursday and Friday at the Commission, which is deciding on whether to allow Oracle to acquire Sun Microsystems, current owner of MySQL. It is believed that the Commission may make a decision today (Monday the 14th) or within the next two weeks as a result of the hearings.

    • Open Source, MySQL, and trademarks

      Greg Stein (Apache developer and all-around nice guy) made an off-hand comment about open source trademarks in an article(How to Screw Your (Open Source Software) Customers). He was talking about how many users of MySQL have actually using a purchased proprietary licensed copy of the software, and not the open source licensed copy. MySQL’s business model uses dual licensing: the GPL, and for the folks whom its strictures are unacceptable, a standard proprietary license. I agree with his point in general: that that’s a great way to confuse your customers into thinking that they’re using open source software.

  • BSD

    • Why the BSDs get no love

      So to the BSD community I beg you, make modern your image. Stop playing in your basement laboratory and show the rest of the world how powerful you really are. Just make sure when the masses of the world see you they don’t think, “Oh, how outdated is that?” Gain the love you deserve, BSD.


    • Freedom or Sponsors, Not Both? by Thomas King

      Does lack of membership to FSF and GNU mean you don’t support software Freedom? Heavens, no! However, separating yourself from them says there is something you don’t like about their stances and ideals. Complaining that a pretty hard line against closed, proprietary software might hurt the feelings of the sponsors just shouts that all bets are off, the doors are being swung wide open, and corporate interests are being put ahead of Freedom and the overall community. Yes, the Foundation needs money to operate, granted, but at what cost? Should it bend to the will of the sponsors to the point it loses its identity in the process of kowtowing?

    • Software Freedom

      We, free (libre, as in freedom) software users are used to prefer open source software over closed source, and I think it’s great, I’m not going to discuss about that now though, there’s plenty of literature about that. My concern today is about distributed services (some people call it the cloud if you wish).


      I think the inflection here comes to the “Am I capable to install that service on my own server?”. If we have an alternative, it’s just our choice to be using the distributed service or not. I think we don’t want to introduce people to closed source software just because it’s easy. Do we?

  • Openness

    • FDIC sends a big F-U: completely blacked out documents in response to WaMu takeover freedom of information requests

      Tim Ellis sez, “Completely inexcusable ‘transparency’ from the FDIC, releasing hundreds of totally blacked-out docs in response to a Freedom of Information Act request about the closure of Washington Mutual. ‘An unprecedented level of openness in Government’ indeed.”

    • #diwd New York State Senate: New Regime, New Web Mandate

      His new mandate was made clear. The previous majority leader was under charges for corruption. Those now in power wanted to achieve the following:

      * Transparency: Create a more transparent legislature
      * Efficiency: Enable Members to serve constituents in a more effective and efficient manner, at a lower cost to taxpayers
      * Participation: Provide New Yorkers with the means to take a more participatory role in their state government
      * Model: To model “best technology practices” for legislative bodies throughout the US


  • MP3 players face noise limits recommended by EU

    The European Commission is calling for a suggested maximum volume to be set on MP3 players, to protect users’ hearing.

    The commission wants all MP3 players sold in the EU, including iPods, to share the same volume limits.

  • ID Thief Tries to Get Witnesses Whacked

    Pavel Valkovich of Sherman Oaks, CA has pleaded guilty to solicitation of murder, admitting that he attempted to hire hitmen to kill witnesses working with Federal authorities in their investigation of Valkovich’s ID theft activities and subsequent crimes.

  • Fugitive hides from arrest warrant by working at the DHS

    Tahaya Buchanan, an American fugitive who’d been on the run for more than two years, dodging a national arrest warrant for insurance fraud, has spent her years underground gainfully employed by the Department of Homeland Security.

  • Environment

    • Copenhagen climate summit negotiations ‘suspended’

      Negotiations at the UN climate summit have been suspended after developing countries withdrew their co-operation.

      Delegations were angry at what they saw as moves by the Danish host government to sideline talks on more emission cuts under the Kyoto Protocol.

      As news spread around the conference centre, activists chanted “We stand with Africa – Kyoto targets now”.

    • Copenhagen talks stalled by green puppeteers

      International climate negotiations in Copenhagen were reportedly stalled today, as delegates from developing nations – some working hand-in-glove with Western environmental activists – expressed their objections to rumoured plans by rich nations to replace the established Kyoto Protocol with a new framework.

      The BBC reports that the so-called G77-China bloc, composed of 130 mostly poor nations, has “suspended cooperation” with the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, aka COP15.

  • Finance

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • ‘Twilight: New Moon’ piracy case dismissed

      The research has therefore indicated that at least two of the three major ISPs perform manipulation on traffic, and especially peer-to-peer traffic. Deep packet inspection and P2P-caching is performed by at least one ISP and that another one probably operates some kind of preference on specific ports.

    • Israeli internet service providers block P2P traffic

      First of its kind research conducted by Ynet in collaboration with surfers, bloggers suggests two of Israel’s largest internet service providers perform manipulation on file sharing traffic


      The research has therefore indicated that at least two of the three major ISPs perform manipulation on traffic, and especially peer-to-peer traffic. Deep packet inspection and P2P-caching is performed by at least one ISP and that another one probably operates some kind of preference on specific ports.

    • MySpace/Imeem Deal Leaves Thousands of Artists Unpaid

      Possibly the last band to be paid by imeem for music sold through a Snocap store embedded on MySpace was Javelin, which happens to be my brother’s and cousin’s band. After they inquired about money listed as owed in its online account, imeem sent them a check for about $400 for approximately a year and a half of sales.

Linux on Netbooks at the Netbook World Summit in Paris

Direct link

Google is Still Crushing Microsoft, Sometimes with GNU and Linux

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search at 12:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Google is throwing many chairs at Microsoft these days, metaphorically speaking; this is a roundup of some news on the subject

THIS post is not about the ethics of Google; it is a discussion of some of the latest news, which helps show how Google brings Microsoft down to its knees, profit- and market-wise. In some ways, this is valuable to Free software, even though not everything in Google produces free/libre code (never AGPL).

We start with the important observation that Microsoft has just a 3% share in the search market. It’s going nowhere. Microsoft just loves to deceive by talking about US-only figures (also when it comes to operating systems and Web browsers).

From the Denver Post:

But there’s Google, which dominates search on the Internet by the novel expedient of being very good at the job. Google makes money ($1.65 billion profit in the last quarter), mostly by selling ads.

Microsoft has tried to get into search. In 1998 it offered MSN Search. Then came Windows Live Search in 2006, followed by talk of acquiring Yahoo (Google’s closest competitor), and this June, Microsoft launched Bing — whose ads tout its peculiar virtue of delivering less information than Google provides.

Bing has gained some market share (3.26 percent globally, compared to Google’s 85 percent and Yahoo’s 6.2), but it’s obvious that Internet search is one market where Microsoft has failed in its drive for world domination.

The Wall Street Journal talks about US-only estimations (not global, as that would put Google at over 90% market share, based on some particular measures).

Google Inc.’s (GOOG) share of U.S. Internet searches rose 1.4% in November from a month earlier to 71.6%, according to data provider Hitwise, as Yahoo Inc. (YHOO) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) reported declines.

Here is another new report from the Wall Street Journal. It shows how ugly the Yahoo!-Microsoft deal really is.

Yahoo Inc. said Wednesday that the online giant is in the process of “identifying” the 400 engineers that will be moved to Microsoft Corp. as part of the companies’ planned search and advertising partnership.

Microsoft Nick seems happy about it.

Some 400 engineers will eventually be transferred between Microsoft and Yahoo as part of the original search-and-advertising agreement, according to previous announcements by both companies.

We recently wrote about this type of situation in order to explain the effect on FreeBSD and Free software projects that Yahoo! had fostered. This whole deal is insane [1, 2] from the point of view of shareholders and customers (YHOO stock price dived after the signing of the deal) and it harms Yahoo! employees, turning them into Microsoft/Windows people rather than the other way around. It harms their employability in a world where GNU/Linux and Free software grow as a desired IT skill.

Did the proxy agents really need the money so badly? Microsoft was exposed using AstroTurf campaigns to prevent Yahoo! from staying independent or collaborating with Google. Is this an acceptable way for an industry to be run? Anti-Trust laws were established to prevent such concentrations of power and maybe even proxy battles, so regulators should have put people on trial (or in jail), not put people in boards they sought to hijack. Here are some of the headlines from recent days:

Yahoo Faces Off Against Google In Search War With Microsoft Funds

Yahoo and Microsoft stand united to overthrow Google

Yahoo and Microsoft combine forces to challenge Google

About a year ago Yahoo! was close to signing a deal with Google. Now it is an external part of a monopoly abuser which thrives in total disregard for the law.

Without good reasoning, parts of the press have turned against Google (Google takes a lot of business from them, as the Murdoch plot shows [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13]) and Microsoft's friend Dina Bass quotes Razorfish as a complainer, despite the obvious conflict of interests (Razorfish was a subsidiary of Microsoft for years, until recently). She writes for Bloomberg:

“People don’t want Google to become Kleenex,” said Lord, the chief executive officer at Razorfish, which Publicis acquired from Google rival Microsoft Corp. this year. Microsoft took a 3.3 percent stake in Publicis as part of that deal. “I don’t want one big giant here. If I only have one major platform to go to like Google, it’s hard for me to do my job.”

Wow. What a surprise. Microsoft’s Razorfish (recently passed to Publicis) daemonises Google? No way! Joe Wilcox from Microsoft Watch plays along similar lines and so does the Wall Street Journal, with Bob Evans daemonising the EU Commission (Microsoft loves daemonising this regulatory body).

“Microsoft is now profiling Web users and publicly sharing their profiles without permission… not for the first time, either.”Accusations are currently being made against both Google and Microsoft by the copyright cartel, but whose fault is it really that zeros and ones can be shared and pointers to streams be indexed?

Speaking of this pair of search engines, Microsoft is currently using “privacy” as FUD against Google (Microsoft has used this line for years, despite the obvious hypocrisy) while refusing to show its own worse sins, which include eavesdropping at the operating system’s level. We wrote about it this morning. Microsoft is now profiling Web users and publicly sharing their profiles without permission… not for the first time, either. Microsoft had previously built profiles of people and made them public based on USENET messages. This was organised by its research unit and pulled about 2 years ago (or less). So who is Microsoft to preach about privacy?

In other Google news that shows progress at Microsoft’s (and Yahoo’s) expense:

1. Google Rolls Out New Tools as It Battles Rival

Google Inc. on Monday unveiled several new Internet-search advances, including ways to find information by taking a photo and results that stream on to a Web page continuously, as it attempts to fend off Microsoft Corp. and other new competitors.

2. Google debuts news story experiment

3. 3 Reasons Google’s Real-Time Search Blows Away Bing

4. Google Bears Down On Microsoft Applications

A Google Inc. executive said Wednesday that the company’s Apps software has won over 20 million users across “a few million businesses,” as it looks ahead to an impending revamp of rival technology from Microsoft Corp.

5. Google Groups comes to Google Apps for Education

6. Google sues work-at-home scammers

Among the projects that are beneficial to Free software there is Chrome OS/Chromium OS. Here is a new article about it, titled: “Chrome OS move heats up Microsoft-Google rivalry”

The already intense Google-Microsoft rivalry heated up considerably last month with the long-expected release of Google Inc.’s Chrome operating system to the open-source community.

Analysts say that if the new Linux-based operating system catches on quickly after it becomes generally available late next year, Google’s effort to convince corporate users that its hosted Google Apps offering is a viable alternative to Microsoft Corp.’s Office suite could get a huge boost.

Google also uses Linux in handsets and the Google Phone is coming.

Yes Virginia, there really is a Google Phone! And no, I don’t mean all those Android-powered devices, but instead a Google-branded phone that is made by an original equipment maker. The company has started giving away these devices to its employees, who started tweeting about it last night, and the company had to make an announcement this morning.

Windows Mobile seems rather dead (or dying) and HTC neglects Microsoft in favour of Linux, according to an IDG report.

The 2010 product roadmap for mobile device maker HTC has been leaked. The detailed product specifications and gallery of device photos makes me wonder whether it’s a “leak” or just buzz marketing. Regardless of how the HTC 2010 roadmap became public knowledge, it looks like HTC is fully embracing the Android platform.

GigaOM foresees no change with future versions of Windows Mobile. “Microsoft + Mobile Consumers = FAIL” is the headline of this new post.

Microsoft’s latest ad campaign focuses heavily on the end user, telling us that Windows 7.0 was “designed with you in mind.” But the company continues to lose the fight for consumers, and nowhere is that more evident than in its mobile business.

Microsoft is relying on Vista 7-esque hype, but even fans like Microsoft Nick don’t buy it. Microsoft friends like Harry McCracken feel similarly and go as far as saying that Microsoft should maybe dump its phone efforts. Mobility is the future, so Microsoft is not giving up, even when it gets sued for catastrophic data loss.

“I’m going to f—ing bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f—ing kill Google.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

American EDGI Comes to Missouri, Microsoft Crimes in Iowa Produce Coupons

Posted in America, Antitrust, Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 11:20 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bills pile

Summary: Microsoft distorts education by turning it into its own vehicle to perpetuate dependency and inertia; Iowa schools to receive $60 million in compensation for Microsoft abuses

THE notion of “American EDGI” is one that we explained many times before. State by state, Microsoft responds to the “threat” of Free software by dumping proprietary software to block it, then calling this “charity” or “goodwill”.

Microsoft is very shameless about this [1, 2]. It conveniently assumes that people won’t be wise enough to understand the real impact and the latest population that Microsoft targets with this vicious campaign is Missourians.

The partnership is called Microsoft Elevate America. It offers free access to e-learning and certification programs from Microsoft.

Missouri is receiving nearly 25,000 vouchers entitling residents to access specialized e-learning programs for Excel, Word and other Microsoft programs and platforms.

More here:

Microsoft partners with state to teach computer software skills


Missouri is one of the initial states to participate in Microsoft Elevate America, which started in February. The program aims to train more than 2 million people throughout the country during the next three years.

Microsoft redefines training and education. It’s more like indoctrination. Microsoft and Bill Gates turn the education system into training for interests of particular corporations, where “computer software skills” (as phrased above) means “memorising GUIs of Microsoft software.” Microsoft has some accomplices in other countries (South Africa) and a school has just received an “award” from Microsoft for being somewhat of a Microsoft recruitment camp (in Asia). Deep inside the article it states:

Many teachers in MSHS have integrated technology in their work and have availed of affordable laptops through cooperatives in the school. The school has been a Microsoft partner since 2004.

Yes, it is a self-congratulatory award. It is a Microsoft award for Microsoft partner — a fact they hardly make visible.

Several weeks ago we wrote about what Microsoft was doing in Nigerian schools and now there is this propaganda piece from what’s called “Microsoft Academy”.

GOVERNOR Peter Obi has said establishment of Microsoft Academy in the State Secondary Schools would increase job opportunities for students after school. Obi was speaking at the tenth anniversary of Cor Mariae Girls’ Secondary school Nkpor.

This is a highly imbalanced article that serves as advert/propaganda for Microsoft in Nigerian authorities. This country should avoid becoming a vassal of Microsoft, but watch what Microsoft is doing to capture minds:

About 300 representatives from the public, private, non-profit and education sectors gathered at Microsoft on Monday to discuss global development. At the heart of the agenda was the vital role of empowering women and girls to combat poverty.

Here is another Microsoft visit, probably the result of an invitation. Microsoft is inviting people to a Washington campus for its own benefit, just like it did amidst OOXML brainwash sessions [1, 2] with a man who would become a Microsoft employee (but back then pretended to be “independent”).

Looking at some brighter news, after the Comes vs Microsoft case comes this report from the Iowa Independent:

More than $60 million will be given to Iowa schools for the purchase of new technology, thanks to a 2007 settlement to an anti-trust lawsuit against Microsoft Corp.

In April 2007, a Polk County judge approved a settlement where the software giant agreed to pay Iowa consumers $179.95 million. Attorneys had brought a lawsuit alleging that Microsoft overcharged Iowa consumers and businesses for certain products. As part of the settlement, Microsoft also agreed to provide half of the funds not claimed by consumers to Iowa public schools in the form of vouchers that may be used to purchase a broad range of hardware products, Microsoft and non-Microsoft software, and professional development services.

This is also covered here and according to the following couple of reports, it is not ‘funny money’ (coupons redeemable only in the form of Microsoft products).

i. Microsoft Settlement to Fund $60 Million for Eligible Public Schools in Iowa

The funds will be distributed in the form of vouchers, which can be redeemed for cash to reimburse schools for their purchase of a wide variety of computer hardware and software products, including both Microsoft and non-Microsoft products.

ii. Public schools get $60 million from Microsoft settlement

About 75 percent of Iowa schools, or more than 1,000 schools, will be eligible to take part in the program. The funds will be distributed to schools through vouchers for software and hardware product purchases.

It’s all about schools.

“At a time when we have tremendous economic challenges, to see this amount of money coming to a lot of our schools is just unbelievable,” Jeffrey said. The money is part of a nearly $180 million settlement in a class action suit alleging that Microsoft overcharged Iowa consumers and businesses for certain products.

These schools will hopefully use this money to avoid the very same company that abused. They can buy O/S-free hardware and put GNU/Linux on it, or even migrate to GNU/Linux on the existing systems and use the money to cover support contracts for Free software expertise.

“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

Patents Roundup: Apple and Microsoft Extremely Busy with Patents as the Patent Bubble Finally Bursts

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, GPL, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Soap bubble

Summary: Foes of software freedom accumulate patents and get sued; the USPTO sees considerable decline in business

GNU/Linux users should definitely care about patent law because it is a threat to Free software. The president of the FFII points out that OpenBTS is now explicitly saying: “If you hold GSM patent licenses, you cannot redistribute OpenBTS under GPLv3.”

There is nothing wrong with the GPLv3. It merely defends users from software patents, which are a form of monopoly.

According to TechDirt, when Apple is not fighting with patents, it is actually acquiring more of them.

Apple Trying To Patent Anti-Tamper Tape


Apparently, Apple is trying to patent anti-tamper tape. The patent application, for a “tamper resistant label for detecting device openings,” describes some adhesive tape that could be placed inside devices, which would get torn or damaged if someone opened the device. It seems like there’s a ton of prior art here.

More wood thrown into the fire.

Watch what Microsoft is patenting. From the summary in Slashdot:

Microsoft Invents Price-Gouging the Least Influential

“In the world envisioned by Microsoft’s just-published patent application for Social Marketing, monopolists will maximize revenue by charging prices inversely related to the perceived influence an individual has on others. Microsoft gives an example of a pricing model that charges different people $0, $5, $10, $20, or $25 for the identical item based on the influence the purchaser wields. A presentation describing the revenue optimization scheme earned one of the three inventors applause (MS-Research video), and the so-called ‘influence and exploit’ strategies were also featured at WWW 2008 (PDF). The invention jibes nicely with Bill Gates’s pending patents for identifying influencers. Welcome to the brave new world of analytics.”

Here is Microsoft talking about “Licensing Secrets” in this new press release.

Success in Microsoft licensing demands extraordinary attention to detail and the fine print.

Well, they don’t say.

This morning we wrote about Monsanto and Bill Gates. Glyn Moody gets around to addressing the subject too. It’s about patents on life of animals and plants. In summary, Moody writes:

Amazingly, David Boies, the lawyer that led the attack on Microsoft during that investigation, is also invovled: he is representing Du Pont, one of Monsanto’s rivals concerned about the latter’s monopoly power.

Let’s just hope that Monsanto becomes the subject of a full anti-trust action, and that the result is more effective than that applied to Microsoft. After all, we’re not talking about software here, but the world’s food supply, and monopolies – both intellectual and otherwise – are simply morally indefensible when billions of lives are stake.

For Microsoft, the affair with patents is a mixed bag. It is also being sued, this one being a new example.

Microsoft, Nokia, Amazon, others sued over hardware acceleration


A company called Nazomi Communications has sued a number of large companies for breaching patents it owns on hardware acceleration.

There is also this one:

A Massachusetts company that last week sued Microsoft Corp., alleging patent infringement, appears to be something akin to a homeless orphan.

NetView Technologies Inc. has no permanent address, and no full-time management. Regulatory filings, legal filings and the company’s Web site list three different addresses, two of which are residences registered to former executives. A third is a Waltham address that the company no longer occupies.

Apple is being sued too. From the news:

i. Apple sued for alleged infringement over iPhone camera

ii. Apple loses $21.7 million in patent suit, appeal in progress (mentioned here before)

iii. Apple getting sued again by patent profiteers

It must be hard to be as popular as Apple. You’re always fighting the competition, who sometimes come late to the dance with a wannabee product, then deliver snarky punches into the kidneys with their TV ads. Even worse are the lawyers, who circle the company like a flock of vultures, picking away at whatever juicy bits of meat they can get.

But the true bottom feeders are the “patent trolls,” a specific species of law firm that has picked up patents from companies that usually never brought a product to market.

Groklaw shares this comical post about the ill patent system and also shares the story of an infamous dilemma:

The Patent Reform Act of 2009 would replace the current “first-to-invent” (FTI) system with a new “first-inventor-to-file” (FITF) system. While touted as a way to harmonize the US system with “first-to-file” (FTF) systems used in other countries, an experimental investigation of a matrix of two hundred typical fact patterns for two competing inventors was analyzed under all three systems (FTI, FITF and FTF) to test this assumption. Based on the matrix analysis, it appears that if FITF is adopted there likely will be changes in applicant behavior and significant extra costs for at least several years as a result of the transition to a new system; and, it is unclear whether FITF really gets the US any closer to patent harmonization.

With this chart in mind, Groklaw also shares information about the decline of patents.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s fiscal year 2009 annual report indicates declining revenue and patent filings. Notably, there was both a dip in the backlog of patent applications and an increase in the time it takes for the agency to issue a patent. Some lawyers believe the former can be attributed in part to applicants abandoning applications because of the economic downturn.

The report, which the agency recently released without fanfare, detailed the agency’s $135.9 million budget shortfall, or 6.8 percent of its $2.01 billion forecasted revenue. Fee collections totaled $1.87 billion.

Lastly, Groklaw shares this article about Ralph Nader calling for people to challenge the law rather than accept it blindly.

Lawyer and long-time activist says U.S. law schools don’t spend enough time encouraging students to think critically about the law

People must challenge software patents and maybe patents as a whole. The legal profession is unlikely to initiate this because the legal profession (lawyers) is profiteering at the expense of scientists while these antiquated rules prevail.

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