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IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: December 15th, 2009

Posted in IRC Logs at 9:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Management Exodus at Novell

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, SLES/SLED at 6:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Novell pisses on GNU/Linux codebase since 2006

Summary: Levy and Jaffe are quitting Novell, 4 business units become just 2

MICROSOFT and Novell share another common problem. Both companies lose top managers at a relatively rapid pace (Microsoft's latest was its CFO). Sometimes they even swap managers but only in the sense that Microsoft managers become Novell managers [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8].

About a week ago we wrote about Novell losing enormous amounts of money. It is looking grim.

Jeff Jaffe, one of the architects of the Novell-Microsoft deal [1, 2], is preparing to leave Novell and so is Roger Levy, who was spreading GNU/Linux FUD in order to sell SLE*. The Register says that Novell “would be consolidating from four different business units down to two.” Additionally:

As part of the reorganization, Roger Levy, senior vice president of strategic development and formerly the general manager of the SUSE Linux business at Novell, is leaving the company. Jeff Jaffe, a former researcher at IBM and Bell Labs who was hired to be an executive vice president and CTO for Novell in November 2005, will stay on as “strategic advisor” to Hovsepian, but on February 1, 2010, he will be leaving the company.

The comments are worth reading too. “Their MS deal was obviously an act of desperation on their part and a token gesture on ms part to keep up the pretence that they have competition in the market,” says one person. Another person adds that “Novell only has 3,600 employees. A bigger fish out there somewhere must be keeping a watchful eye.” That’s quite possible and we wrote about possible acquirers before. Is Novell paying Ron Hovsepian monstrous bonuses just to keep him on board?

We will be writing a lot more about it later in the week.

Quote of the Day: Church of Emacs

Posted in FSF, Humour, Quote at 5:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“No person, no idea, and no religion deserves to be illegal to insult, not even the Church of Emacs.”

Richard Stallman

[For the socially-deficient, it's called humour. Webster defines sat·ire as "a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn"]

Richard Stallman

Freedom is Not a Religion

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software, FSF, FUD, GNOME, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 2:04 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Santiago de Compostela cathedral

Summary: Attempts to dethrone Free software supporters are fueled by disinformation and slurs

PREVIOUS posts described the events that led to a vocal confrontation between GNU and people who have always disliked GNU [1, 2, 3]. Some of them are not even GNU/Linux users, but that’s another story.

As Mono-Nono puts it:

Coincidence is an amazing thing.For example, it can surely only be pure coincidence that the cast of characters making the most noise attacking RMS and calling for a vote on GNOME leaving GNU was among same cast of characters that made the most noise attacking RMS and calling for him to be banned earlier this year.


Now that’s The Spirit of Fauxpen Source™ in action!

It is truly amazing when Free software people are told off by those who are new to the Free software world and are not even supportive of Free software. They do this in Free software territories. It’s like the Twilight Zone or revisionist occupation, wherein they try to overthrow the ‘natives’ though proximity and assimilation.

“It’s like the Twilight Zone or revisionist occupation, wherein they try to overthrow the ‘natives’ though proximity and assimilation.”People supportive of such an attack on GNU are sometimes being misinformed by those who try to dethrone GNU. Others just never supported Free software to begin with. For instance, Thom Holwerda from OSNews has been hostile towards GNU/Linux and supportive of Mono/.NET for quite some time, so it is not surprising that his post on this subject is tilted in favour of Fauxpen Source™ people, who strives to exclude GNU. “I don’t like OSNews anymore,” tells us one reader, “they ignored my submission for this “[...] It seems like RMS is oblivious to this change in perspective.”

“[They] completely ignored what I submitted, probably because I wasn’t attacking RMS,” he added, “they’ve pulled other stuff I wrote.”

It was also rather disappointing to see that Sean Michael Kerner distorts the FSF’s views as though they are a “religious” stance. Terms like “religion” are routinely used to smear passionate Free software proponents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], which only leads to it being further misunderstood. Kerner writes:

The issue with GNU has always been its religious stance on Free vs Open.

There is nothing “religious” about it; there is Freedom and there is visibility of code, which are not mutually exclusive but are not the same thing, either. The FSF strives to protect control by the user of a program so that someone in a distant island, for example, will be in complete control of his/her digital computing experience. Autonomy has absolutely nothing to do with religion (quite the opposite in fact!) and the religious parodies from Richard Stallman are in this regard similar to the ones from Richard Dawkins.

GNU has not changed its basic goals since the 1980s and this is commendable (modifications and alterations are mostly clarifications). To compromise is to accept a defeat and to give up the inherent goals, which means loss of one’s freedom in an ever-increasing complexity of digital universes. The FSF stands in the way of some very rich and powerful people, so the attacks against it are nothing new and definitely not the last.

“Copying all or parts of a program is as natural to a programmer as breathing, and as productive. It ought to be as free.”

Richard Stallman

Companies That Signed Anti-Linux Patent and FUD Deals with Microsoft Also Violate the GPL

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, GPL, Law, Microsoft, Patents, Samsung at 1:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hypocrisy from companies that harm Linux (including Microsoft):
they use GPL-licensed code and do not obey the licence

Richard Stallman

Summary: SFLC/BusyBox happen to punish some companies worthy of punishment not just for GPL violations

THE SFLC has sued 11 more companies on behalf of BusyBox, but three companies that receive the most attention — among these 11 in total — are those who deserve punishment (or at least being reprimanded) for their ‘crimes’ against GNU and/or Linux. The articles we have found so far are:

1. Best Buy, JVC, Samsung, More Hit With Lawsuit

2. Best Buy, Samsung, others named in GPL suit

3. Best Buy, Samsung, And Westinghouse Named In SFLC Suit Today

4. SFC and SFLC sues Samsung, Zyxel, Western Digital and others over GPL violations

5. Multiple Consumer Electronics Companies Hit With GPL Lawsuit

6. 16 Companies sued by the Software Freedom Law Center

7. SFLC Launches GPL Lawsuit Against 14 Gadget Makers

8. SFLC hammers GPL violators

The SFLC (Software Freedom Law Center) is lowering the boom on more than a dozen companies including Best Buy, Samsung, Westinghouse and JVC, all which have violated the GPL (GNU General Public License).

Here is the original announcement at the SFLC Web site and a complete list of the companies sued.

The entire list of companies named in the lawsuit is as follows:

* Astak
* Best Buy
* Comtrend
* Dobbs-Stanford
* GCI Technologies
* Humax USA
* Phoebe Micro
* Robert Bosch
* Samsung
* Versa Technology
* Western Digital
* Westinghouse
* Zyxel Communications

As a reminder, JVC signed a patent deal with Microsoft [1, 2, 3] and it seemed likely to be similar to that of Samsung [1, 2, 3], which explicitly said that it would pay Microsoft for Linux or Linux-related software. Samsung is still signing all sorts of other special deals with Microsoft. They endorse Microsoft’s patent racket.

“Samsung is still signing all sorts of other special deals with Microsoft. They endorse Microsoft’s patent racket.”Best Buy’s shameless attacks on GNU/Linux are recent enough to be remembered as well [1, 2, 3]. Oiaohm has asked: “Who was the one that was spitting anti-Linux doc for Microsoft? Best Buy? Interesting that they were using it in one of their own products.”

Some people are rattled by insistence that the GPL needs to be obeyed. But even companies whose products are based on Linux can be sued (Palm being a recent example) and “compliance is the goal,” as the SFLC stresses. It’s not about “attacking” companies, it is about reminding people that the GPL needs to be honoured, not ignored.

Even Microsoft has been violating the GPL [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] and this is seen as a sign that Free software is winning. It has become too commonplace to be ignored.

From the White House to (no kidding) Microsoft, open source shined in ’09


Perhaps the most shocking event was Microsoft’s submission of code for inclusion in the Linux kernel under a GPL license that Microsoft once tagged as a threat to capitalism itself. But it was not so much an olive branch as it was a brain freeze: Microsoft had inadvertently included some open source code in the virtualization drivers it eventually submitted for the Linux kernel and was more or less left with little choice.

Microsoft ended up in that same spot later in the year when a tool it released to create bootable USB drives for Windows 7 also was found to contain open source code. That tool also was pushed into the open source community.

Microsoft is even trying to encircle Python now (with IronPython), despite its ties to Google [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. When Microsoft is trying to ‘outgoogle’ Google with tools that are developed inside Google (after a major hire), then it’s clear that Free software is winning. Microsoft is just trying to distort what Free software actually means, by expelling the “Freedom” (with software patents, Mono, and poisonous culture inside key Free software projects).

GNU is being daemonised at the moment. As Jason from Mono-Nono put the situation about a month ago, this is a sign that it had become too powerful a force for its competitors to tolerate. The proprietary world grows nervous.

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Sometimes attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

Bill Gates Tightens Information/Agriculture Grip on Africa by Funding African Journalists, Expanding to India

Posted in Africa, Asia, Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 12:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ship in Dakar

Summary: The Gates Foundation specifically trains African journalists to play along with agricultural monopolisation of the continent

THE collaboration between the Gates Foundation and Monsanto is a scarcely-explored subject that we’ve covered in:

  1. With Microsoft Monopoly in Check, Bill Gates Proceeds to Creating More Monopolies
  2. Gates-Backed Company Accused of Monopoly Abuse and Investigated
  3. How the Gates Foundation Privatises Africa
  4. Reader’s Article: The Gates Foundation and Genetically-Modified Foods
  5. Monsanto: The Microsoft of Food
  6. Seeds of Doubt in Bill Gates Investments
  7. Gates Foundation Accused of Faking/Fabricating Data to Advance Political Goals
  8. More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
  9. Video Transcript of Vandana Shiva on Insane Patents
  10. Explanation of What Bill Gates’ Patent Investments Do to Developing World
  11. Black Friday Film: What the Bill Gates-Backed Monsanto Does to Animals, Farmers, Food, and Patent Systems
  12. Gates Foundation Looking to Destroy Kenya with Intellectual Monopolies
  13. Young Napoleon Comes to Africa and Told Off
  14. Gates Foundation Denies Global Warming and Strives for Global Domination
  15. Gates/Microsoft Tax Dodge and Agriculture Monopoly Revisited

The mainstream press rarely tells the truth about the Gates Foundation and Monsanto and it is easy to see why. A few days ago we showed that the Gates Foundation was paying people to write books about agriculture the "Monsanto way" and now we discover that the Gates Foundation does the same thing with journalists, whom it probably trains to recite the required spin. As GatesKeepers puts it:

Training on journalism advancing the interests of the Gates Foundation or the interests of Africans

Why is ‘training’ for journalists always issue-based? AIDS, agriculture, etc. The Gates Foundation wants to advance its own agenda. Why not fund an panAfrican school of journalism? Or five or six regional African schools of journalism? Africans can run their own schools of journalism.

This is a very important move for Gates and Monsanto. People in Africa will inevitably say, “I read it in the paper that Gates is doing all these wonderful things…”

Well, who funded this paper?

Who paid the journalists?

“This would not be the first time that the Gates Foundation buys newspapers, sometimes literally.”Who provided the training?

Why was the particular subject chosen?

This would not be the first time that the Gates Foundation buys newspapers, sometimes literally. To seed the press with praise of its own work, it is usually sufficient to put some money in the bucket (this latest example is of NPR). We have provided other extensive evidence to show that the Gates Foundation has PR operations and also invests heavily in the press, which in turn glorifies it. That’s a fact of life.

Here is what Gates is doing in Africa now.

But there are efforts underway to increase reporting about Africa from Africans. The International Center for Journalists received a $2 million grant, three-year grant in 2008 from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve coverage of agriculture and health. They’re placing journalists from the U.S. in four key African countries–Ghana, Malawi, Tanzania, and Senegal– where they will lead projects with African journalists, helping them improve not only coverage, but the quality of the articles they’re writing. The project will also help train “citizen journalist” stringers who can relay information from the village level via cellphones.

And earlier this year, the Gates Foundation also awarded a two-year grant to the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism to develop an intensive training program for African journalists to promote high-quality coverage of agricultural issues.

Return on investment is trivial here.

Meanwhile, as we showed before, Bill Gates is bringing Monsanto to India. Well, in India in particular, Microsoft is always ushered by worshipers like NASSCOM and thus allowed to introduce another foreign monopolist, as long as those few rich people who welcome the monopolist can benefit (personally) in the process. It’s like British imperialism many decades later.

It is probably worth pointing out that former Microsoft employee, Mr. Reifman, has been warning about Microsoft’s tax dodging and offshoring to India (or bringing in employees from abroad) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Microsoft was found guilty of tax evasion in India too and Reifman has this new update.

More importantly, Microsoft’s already mandating local teams use managed development teams in India for at least some of their project work and its long term plan is to replace more local talent with outsourced talent (see also this commenter, which reflects our own source’s comments and the H1B visa fiasco).

This vision that Microsoft and Gates present for the only planet we have appeases nobody except the monopolists and those whom they successfully deceive using pseudo-journalists (which they fund or influence). For what it’s worth, China is doing similar things in Africa. It’s really sad and it is self destructive.

Eye on Microsoft: Windows Scareware and Zombies, International Insecurity

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 11:34 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Bits from the news about Microsoft insecurity

Scareware gets Scarier

There I was doing some research on a story, well actually looking for the latest Dr. Who episode, when I was presented with a message that my computer might be infected by a virus and it was being scanned. Yeah. Right. This was on one of my Linux desktops and it’s no more likely to get a virus than my Pittsburgh Steelers are to win the Super Bowl this season.

What was actually happening was that I’d stumbled over a site trying to scam me into buying, at best, bogus anti-virus software, and, at worse, infect me with malware and steal my credit-card information. I’m not the only one. The U.S. Government’s Internet Crime Complaint Center just reported that this kind of scareware is getting to be a lot more common. Indeed, the “FBI is aware of an estimated loss to victims in excess of $150 million.”

US and Russia begin cyberwar limitation talks

Entry into the cyber arms reduction talks – convened by a United Nations arms control committee – represents a significant shift for the US, which has resisted entering such talks for years, the New York Times reports. The change of tack came after the US decided that the cyberwarfare capabilities were spreading across the globe to countries such as North Korea and China.

Ed: The Cold War is back, thanks to Windows botnets (zombies).


Links 15/12/2009: Elive 1.9.52 Released, Nook Liberated

Posted in News Roundup at 8:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • The Learned Helplessness of Windows

    The larger thought came naturally: how much of the market dominance of Windows over Linux is due to people who either cannot or do not want to use pliers, who are afraid that any attempt to alter their machine is doomed to failure?

  • The world’s first electric motorcycle

    The Mavizen TTX02 Super Sport bike brings the latest in cutting edge technology. The wonder bike stands as the world’s first production of electric super sport bikes. In addition, they come built with a dash mounted computer, powered by Linux. The computer system also has an onboard server, a dedicated IP address, USB and Wi-Fi connectivity. Now, that’s a real wonder.

  • 2010 and the Fate of Your (Virtual) Desktop

    For those of you who still cling to a fat desktop virtual machine solution and one-to-one ratio for user desktops, then you should check out KVM. KVM offers that fat desktop and high performance that you require for bandwidth-hungry desktop applications.

  • A look at Linux in the recession: Linux 2009 year in review

    It still wasn’t the year of the Linux desktop, but 2009 showed Linux increasing its presence in the everyday electronics marketplace. Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin coined it “Year of the Linux everything else.” From ATMs to netbooks and mobile phones, the strength of Linux has been recognized by device manufacturers and developers and is on the rise. Cloud computing was a hot topic in 2009 and Linux plays a strong role making the cloud function.

  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS and the death of the Free desktop: a response

      Fundamentally then, I disagree with the author that the advent of Chrome OS will be a good thing. I disagree that a single desktop environment for GNU/Linux would necessarily better serve the needs of it’s users or developers. And furthermore I disagree that it’s reasonable to measure the success of KDE and Gnome by whether they are worthy of being included as part of Chrome OS.

      Declaring these wildly creative and successful projects “dead” as a result of this way of thinking is to miss the point of their existence. They provide freedom and choice to computer users throughout the world. Being a key component of a new technology which seeks to dominate, control and spy on millions of users would not serve the ends of these projects, and would be no kind of victory.

    • Computing: For those who deserve geeky gifts

      Ubuntu 9.10 — Free, Canonical, www.ubuntu.com. Got a Windows user on your list who’s been curious about trying the Linux operating system? Download the latest version of Ubuntu — code-named Karmic Koala ­— and burn it to a bootable CD. It can run right off the CD, where your recipient can try out its secure Windows-like desktop and sample its free software. When done, just remove the CD and reboot the computer, and the user will be back to Windows again. This makes a great stocking stuffer, but if you’re the family tech support, be prepared for the possibility that you’ll be asked to permanently install it. It’s that good.

  • Server

    • University of Antwerp builds desktop supercomputer with 13 NVIDIA GPUs

      Therefore they had to search for an alternative, and once they learned about GPGPU computing the researchers build a 4000EUR desktop supercomputer with four NVIDIA GeForce 9800 GX2 dual-GPU graphics cards. The results were stunning, for this niche application the eight NVIDIA GPUs outperformed the university’s three-year old 256-node supercomputer with AMD Opteron 250 2.4GHz processors. Besides the higher performance, other major advantages include the very low cost (4000EUR for FASTRA vs 3.5 million euro for the real supercomputer) and much lower power consumption.

  • Google

    • Five Productivity Extensions for Google Chrome

      Good news for Google Chrome users: the latest version of the browser supports extensions, so you can extend its default functionality by installing extensions from the official extension repository. While the repository offers only a few hundred extensions (compared to several thousand add-ons available on Firefox), it does feature a few neat modules that can make your browsing more productive.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Monday: Fine-Tune The Kernel

      One of the advantages we Linux geeks like to claim over competing operating systems is the flexibility of the system. We’re not talking about changing your screen saver–we’re talking the guts of the operating system itself.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA’s Response To Recent Nouveau Work

        In the mailing list discussion that followed, it looked like Linus’ request wouldn’t be immediately acted upon due to legal issues with Nouveau surrounding some unknown microcode/firmware that is a critical part of the initialization process for newer graphics cards. However, this microcode ended up being pulled out of the driver itself and now relies upon it being loaded as firmware, which ended up in a Nouveau pull request just a day later. Now NVIDIA customers of the Linux 2.6.33 kernel and later can benefit from the mainline DRM with kernel mode-setting and when using the yet-to-be-released xf86-video-nouveau DDX driver and eventually its Gallium3D driver for providing 3D support.

      • Gallium3D Gets A Blitter Module

        The most recent module for Gallium3D is one written by Marek Olšák that provides a blitter.

        Once the core blitter support is merged into Gallium3D, Marek has already implementing patches for the ATI r300g driver that are able to take advantage of this blitter work.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

    • Puppy Linux: Just for fun

      Puppy Linux is something different, a tiny version of Linux that can be stored on a USB memory drive, will run in memory, and can be used for working on the move.

    • Sabayon Linux 5.1-r1 – Review and Commentary

      It’s a good looking desktop and one of the best and most stable implementations of KDE 4.x from what we’ve been able to see so far.

    • New Releases

      • Available Now: Elive 1.9.52

        On December 13, the Elive team announced yet another (unstable) release of their Elive Live CD Linux distribution, now at version 1.9.52. Being powered by Debian, the Enlightenment E17 desktop environment and Linux kernel 2.6.30, the new development version of Elive brings many improvements and bug fixes in various areas. This release also features a new set of E17 modules, improved support for Bluetooth devices and a new MSN instant messenger.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat offers virtualisation specialist status to EMEA partners

        Open source vendor Red Hat (RHT) is offering its EMEA partners Virtualisation Specialist status, with several VARs, including Kelway in the UK, already becoming virtualisation domain experts.

      • My Love – Hate Relationship With Fedora

        Fedora is not one of them. Fedora 12 is their best release to date. It is fast, attractive and stable (unlike Fedora 11). I am muddling along as any one would who is not familiar with it would be. I still have not got compositing working and can’t access all of my drives, but learning is half the fun. So, if you are looking for a new experience and are not averse to a challenge, give Fedora 12 a try. It isn’t K/Ubuntu, but then again it does not pretend to be. Fedora follows no footsteps. The same cannot be said for many others.

    • Debian Family

      • Why I Use Ubuntu

        The other day I had to help my wife with her work laptop. It was really weird working in a Windows environment. It felt very foreign, and I had to think really hard to find the right menus. It felt clunky and slow. I guess intuitiveness is somewhat based on familiarity. If I can’t find a menu where I expect it to be, then it isn’t very intuitive.

        So why do I use Ubuntu, because it’s better, and that’s that!

      • Lucid Alpha 1 – Fewer Games, Installer Changes, Impatient Friendly

        Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Alpha 1 was released late last week and although very little cosmetically has changed, we’ve pointed out the obvious changes below.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • IGEL’s Linux Universal Desktop now supports touch screen monitors

      IGEL Technology, the world’s third largest thin client vendor (2009 by revenue, IDC), today introduced its new Linux Universal Desktop firmware adding support for new hardware, additional user customization options, and enhanced multimedia and virtualization functionality to its wide range of Linux-based thin clients.

    • Nook

      • Nook Torn Open, Hacked, Rooted

        Before you tut, toss your head and mutter ’so what?’ like some petulant teenager, think about the uses. The Nook is now a computer running a full Android operating system, with a built-in, free cellular connection to the internet. It also has a battery that lasts days, not hours. Now are you getting excited? This could turn into the Roomba of e-readers, only it won’t suck.

      • Root your nook in 27 easy steps

        As with any other Linux-based device, it didn’t take very long for the Barnes & Noble nook ebook reader to be rooted by some clever users. In fact it’s not much of a surprise that the people behind something called NookDevs.com were able to gain access to the device’s administrative controls.

      • Nook e-reader gains new appeal as ‘rooted’ wireless tablet

        Now that some pre-ordered Nook e-readers have arrived in customers’ hands, users have begun posting raves and rants, as well as some interesting hacks.

        Nookdevs.com has even posted step-by-step directions for “rooting” the Nook, or gaining full system access.

      • Nook Hacked; Has Hidden Support for MMS and Speech Recognition
    • Nokia

      • Nokia N900 Internet Tablet

        Also, the N900 runs on Nokia’s Linux-based Maemo platform – their replacement for Symbian on their high-end devices. Maemo offers great customization options and multitasking abilities. But its far from perfect. There are issues on its user interface, and its app store that still hasn’t gone online won’t attract anyone right away.

      • Nokia N900 First Impressions Review

        Immediately, I can feel and see that the Nokia N900 is a descendant of the N800 and N810, and at the same time it shares so much with the N97 that you can really tell that this new model represent a passing of the torch for Nokia. It will be interesting to see how Maemo 5 evolves from here — but so far, I like what I see, generally speaking.

        At this point, all things being equal with carrier support and productivity needs, it would be very hard not to choose the N900 over the N97. It’s a good device, and definitely one for those who like to be on the bleeding edge of mobile technology.

      • N900 Video Feast: Multi-tasking, Gaming, Battery, and Communication
      • Official: Vodafone first to stock Nokia N900

        For those who have been under an iPhone-shaped rock for the past few months, the Nokia N900 is an uber-powerful handset which uses the Maemo 5 operating system, based on Linux. This means it won’t melt when you want to do multi-tasking.

        Also on board is a high-res screen, 3.5-inch screen and although it’s resistive we have tried it and it works like a dream.

        Couple this with the fact that it will be among the first devices to have Firefox mobile and what you have is a device that looks ready to take on the Google and Apple’s of this world.

        The Nokia N900 is officially coming soon on the Vodafone website, with a release date of January.

      • Nokia N900 coming to Vodafone in January

Free Software/Open Source

  • Lifestreaming Project StoryTlr Goes Open Source

    Back in November of 2008, we covered a project called StoryTlr, which put an interesting spin on the traditional lifestreaming concept. Instead of simply listing all of your updates from various networks and sources, StoryTlr lets you repackage that content so that it tells a story.


    The first version of StoryTlr is now available from a Google Code repository, with installation instructions and answers to frequently asked questions.

  • Post online-CAT disaster, IIMs plan to switch to Foss

    The leading IIMs, still smarting under the recent fiasco over the online CAT debut, are creating their own firewall against similar disasters in future. After an elaborate post-mortem of the recent disaster, many IIM officials are exploring the idea of using free and open source software (Foss), rather than going in for proprietary software, to prevent online common admission test disasters in future.

    “Online exams can be easily conducted using Foss as it can not only reduce costs by over 50%, but it is also safe against virus and malware attacks,” said one of the IIM officials. Infact, US-based Prometric — which bagged the high-profile $40-million contract to organise the online CAT using proprietary software like Microsoft Windows, along with NIIT — has pinned the main reason for this year’s disaster on the virus attacks.

  • XMind – free open-source desktop mind-mapping software

    Mind maps have become a pretty mainstream way to brainstorm. Children as young as grade one are being taught how to create mind maps on paper as a brainstorming technique. If you’ve been interested in using mind mapping, but have been turned off by the surprisingly high cost of the commercial mind mapping products, you might want to check out XMind.

  • Open Source Solutions Penetrating IP-PBX Market: ITEXPO Speaker

    JS: Not unlike the PC and Server software market, Open Source solutions are definitely affecting the IP-PBX telephony market space. And, more to the point, Open Source software licensing models definitely challenge certain fundamental business model assumptions as compared to the traditional IP-PBX systems. These dynamics are really important to understand.

    Over the last few years, Open Source solutions in the various flavors combined have made significant inroads into the IP-PBX space. In fact, John Malone of Eastern Management Group estimated that at the end of 2008, Open Source IP-PBX’s represented 18 percent of the total market space putting it into the number one market position. John is predicting this growth will continue to be experienced for at least a few more years.

  • Ask not what open source can do for you this Christmas

    Linux PR expert Kim Terca gets credit for these ideas:

    1. Join the Linux Foundation. There’s a new buy one, get one promotion on their site that can give you and a student discounts on books and other benefits for the cost of a single Cirque du Soleil ticket.
    2. Ubuntu swag makes a great stocking stuffer, and if a black friend asks what it means you have a conversation starter.
    3. Make a donation to the open source project of your choice. There are thousands at Sourceforge. Or go the “Hershey bars for kids in Beverly Hills” route and give it to Codeplex. (That’s a joke. Codeplex isn’t rich. But maybe Sam Ramji would like a Hershey bar.)
    4. Support a developer’s travels. The Linux Foundation has an app for that.

  • Open Source Alternatives for X Professional Software

    The Open Source movement has always been present. Whether proprietary software seems to be gaining ground or not, open source has always been a very enticing alternative. The problem has been, how do people know whether an open source alternative exists or not? Here’s two websites that hope to change that.

    If a user is sick and tired of some of the flaws of, say, Internet Explorer and they want to turn to an Open Source solution, the easy goto browser for surfing is FireFox hands down. In fact, FireFox does have what very few open source solutions have – a household name that most know about. Chances are, someone who knows someone who knows someone at the very least either knows or uses the famed browser. What about alternatives to, say, AutoCAD or Adobe Illustrator? That might be a bit more difficult to find.

  • Open source commemorative challenge coin minted

    Need something unique for the open source Linux-loving GNU-spouting Free Software Foundation member in your life? ThinkGeek has the answer in the form of commemorative open source challenge coins. They will contribute to the open source cause and might even get you a free drink.

  • The Bizarre Cathedral – 62
  • Events/Shows

  • Mozilla

    • Thunderbird 3 opens French open source gap

      It tuns out Thunderbird 3, the latest version of the open source e-mail program (and, full disclosure, the program I use) contains an extension called TrustedBird which was originally contributed by the French military.

      (Picture from the Mozilla Foundation.)

      The software was quietly released last week. The Trusted Bird project page is here. It was originally called Milimail.

  • Databases

    • ERP Vendor Offers to Take Over MySQL

      French ERP (enterprise resource planning) vendor Nexedi made a public bid Monday to take over stewardship of the open-source MySQL database from Sun Microsystems, offering a symbolic €1 in return.

    • Oracle’s Sun offer unlikely to win EU approval

      Oracle offered the EU’s antitrust regulator a set of new terms over the weekend intended to curry favour for its acquisition of Sun Microsystems. But sources close to the deal say Oracle’s “public remedies” are unlikely to satisfy the EU’s original objections to the deal.

    • As EU Softens Line On Oracle, Grassroots Push Back

      When the EU was considering stricter a patent regime in 2004, demonstrators marched around Brussels in yellow “No Software Patents” T-shirts. In 2005, some 200 programmers descended on the European Parliament with signs demanding the right to freely exchange computer code, beating back a proposed software patent law pushed by Microsoft Corp. and other proprietary software firms.


    • New images for FSF credit cards

      The mighty GNU tattoo image is from Rodolfo Borges of Brazil. The wildebeest photo is Schuyler Shepherd’s (and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License.). Both of them will receive an FSF t-shirt for their contribution.

  • Releases

  • Openness

    • DOE Launches New Website to Bring Energy Technology Information to the Public

      The data and tools housed on the free, editable and evolving wiki-platform will be used by government officials, the private sector, project developers, the international community, and others to help deploy clean energy technologies across the country and around the world.

    • Open Colour Standard: free/open alternative to Pantone

      Ginger coons writes in about the Open Colour Standard, “an effort to create a new colour standard to help free/open source graphics programs bridge the gap between screen and print.”

    • Flat World Knowledge Adds Another $2.5 Million For Open-Source Textbooks

      Open-source textbook firm Flat World Knowledge has raised an additional $2.5 million in funding. The company said back in March that it had raised $8 million in a first round of funding—but a spokesman says that round was expanded because of “momentum” in its business. The startup says that this fall more than 40,000 college students at 400 colleges used its textbooks, which it makes available for free online and are registered under a Creative Commons open license, up from 1,000 students at 30 colleges last spring. The additional funding comes as there appears to be a growing movement among students and colleges to find alternatives to purchasing high-priced textbooks. Rental textbook firms Chegg and BookRenter have both raised their own rounds in recent months.

    • Dell Increases its Crowdsourcing Efforts – Will it Work?

      The free form aspects of the crowdsourcing effort attracts a consumer crowd. Product groups at Dell find Ideastorm useful. The Linux community is especially vocal on IdeaStorm and Dell now offers Ubuntu on Dell machines based on feedback from the Linux community.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Relevancy of ODF 1.0

      Although most major ODF editors now write out new documents in ODF 1.1 format by default, they all are able to read and process ODF 1.0 documents as well. So they are all “consumers” of ODF 1.0 and conform to the ODF 1.0 standard. This occurs at the same time they are also conforming ODF 1.1 “producers”. So it is absolutely false to say that there are no ODF 1.0 implementations today. There are many, including OpenOffice, Symphony, Google Docs, KOffice, even Microsoft Office. The are all ODF 1.0 consumers.


  • Twitter Tapping

    The government is increasingly monitoring Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites for tax delinquents, copyright infringers and political protesters. A public interest group has filed a lawsuit to learn more about this monitoring, in the hope of starting a national discussion and modifying privacy laws as necessary for the online era.

  • US Supremes to hear text-message privacy case

    The US Supreme Court said Monday it will decide whether government employers can snoop on their workers’ personal text messages if they’re sent from department-issued devices.

  • Heartland data breach lawsuit dismissed

    A lawsuit filed against Heartland Payment Systems over what is believed to be the biggest data breach in U.S. history has been dismissed.

  • Missing Bush-Era E-Mail Is Found

    Computer technicians have found 22 million missing White House e-mail messages from 94 days in the administration of President George W. Bush, and the Obama administration is searching for more potentially lost e-mail from the Bush years, according to two groups that filed suit over the failure by the Bush White House to install an electronic record-keeping system. The groups, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and the National Security Archive, said they were settling the lawsuits they filed in 2007.

  • Under Murdoch, Tilting Rightward at The Journal

    But under Mr. Murdoch’s leadership, the newspaper is no longer anchored by those deep dives into the boardrooms of American business with quaint stippled portraits, opting instead for a much broader template of breaking general interest news articles with a particular interest in politics and big splashy photos. Glenn R. Simpson, who left the newspaper back in March, is not a fan of the newsier, less analytical Journal.

  • Environment

    • Who’d Pay for Rupert Murdoch’s Climate Change Skepticism?

      The climate change skeptics may be a lonely lot in Copenhagen, but no one disputes that they have had an effect, however hard to quantify. British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, recently cautioned against the public being distracted by the “anti-science, flat-earth climate skeptics” while Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, derided them as being the “comfortable bedfellows of the global conspiracy theorists.”

      While very few of the skeptics have any scientific credentials in climate sciences, that doesn’t prevent them gaining significant coverage in pockets of the mainstream media? Why is this the case?

    • Counting the lobbyists at the climate talks

      There are thousands of business lobbyists at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen, but the biggest group once again appears to be from the Angry Mermaid candidate, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA).

      IETA has 486 people in Copenhagen, including chief executive Henry Derwent and representatives from IETA member companies such as Gazprom, EON, CDC and another Angry Mermaid candidate Shell.

    • “There Is No Planet ‘B’”

      And then it was over. I was not satisfied. Where is the plan to leverage this people power? What are we going to actually DO to stop coal burning by 2030 or lose Copenhagen to 25 feet of sea level rise by 2100? Despite the fire in the crowd, there wasn’t enough ignition on the stage to start any real fireworks.

  • Finance

    • Terra Firma Sues Citi Over EMI Deal

      Terra Firma, the British private equity firm, sued Citigroup in a New York State court on Friday, accusing the bank of fraud in its handling of the 2007 sale of music publisher EMI.

    • Obama tells bankers it’s payback time

      Having complained about “fat cat bankers” taking big bonuses, Obama said he also told the executives he had no intention of allowing lobbyists for the institutions to thwart legislation on financial reforms.

    • Weather Keeps Some Bankers Away From Obama Talk

      But fog and bad weather kept some of the biggest names — Lloyd C. Blankfein, chief executive of Goldman Sachs; John J. Mack of Morgan Stanley; and Richard D. Parsons, chairman of Citigroup — on airport tarmacs and away from Washington. White House officials compensated by patching the trio into the meeting via teleconference.

      Also not present was Vikram S. Pandit, chief executive of Citigroup — who was busy negotiating a deal, reached early Monday morning, for Citigroup to exit the government’s bailout program, after persuading regulators that it was sound enough to stand on its own.

    • Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and CitiGroup Executives Miss Obama Meeting

      Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, Morgan Stanley CEO John Mack and Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons missed the 11:10 a.m. meeting at the White House this morning due to flight delays due to fog. The irony of the absence is the fact that these executives decided to fly commercial because they wanted to portray the image that they were “in touch” with everyday Americans. Had they taken a private flight they would have made the early afternoon meeting.

    • The Architecture Of The Scam (Goldman .et.al.)

      The Wall Street Journal has put forward an article that adds color to the general view I have always held about securitization, risk-shedding, and what I allege amounts to organized, systemic fraud by our “big banks.”

      While they focused on Goldman Sachs, it is a serious error to maintain focus there as a “universal” or “sole” villain. Quite to the contrary – the entire financial system became one gigantic fraud machine during the last 20 and especially the last 10 years.

    • Goldman Sachs’ latest ‘PR move’

      This is nothing but a ‘PR move’: The press is playing this up as if Goldman is “curbing or cutting pay,” says Ryan Chittum in the Columbia Journalism Review. “It’s doing no such thing.” Giving top executives stock they can’t immediately sell is supposed to mean they won’t “be as tempted to blow up the world economy again in search of a quick buck,” but the bottom line is that their bonuses will probably get bigger.

    • Pension Fund Sues Goldman Over Pay

      A pension fund said on Monday that it was suing Goldman Sachs, arguing that the firm’s planned compensation payouts this year are excessive and improper. It estimated that Goldman’s total payouts would exceed of $22 billion in 2009 and are based on the government’s bailout of the financial industry.

    • Goldman faces lawsuit over anticipated bonuses

      Goldman is accused in the lawsuit of “blindly” rewarding executives “for corporate performance that has absolutely nothing to do with the skill of the company’s employees.” The lawsuit states that Goldman is estimated to issue payouts in excess of $22 billion.

    • Wall Street Journal Outlines Goldman Sachs Glorified Ponzi Scheme with AIG

      This is almost like a a circle jerk game of hot potato, each charging fees along the way to dump the thing before they get burned.

    • Goldman Sachs Fueled Mortgage Crisis, Nearly Killed AIG

      The Federal Reserve and Treasury by May 2009 had increased the potential financial support to AIG, with the support of an investment of as much as $70 billion, a $60 billion credit line and $52.5 billion to buy mortgage-based assets owned or guaranteed by AIG, increasing the total amount available to as much as $182.5 billion.

    • Goldman Sachs Was a Profitable Middleman in the Trades That Blew Up AIG

      The paper says Goldman underwrote $23 billion of the $80 billion in CDOs that nearly toppled AIG.

  • Internet/Censorship/Web Abuse/Rights

    • Vancouver orders removal of anti-Olympic mural

      The city of Vancouver has ordered the removal of a mural hanging outside a Downtown Eastside gallery depicting the Olympic rings as four sad faces and one smiley face.

      The gallery says in 10 years, it has never before been asked to remove any work.

      The city issued the order under its graffiti bylaw, but it comes in the wake of a debate over a controversial city sign bylaw that opponents feared would allow officials to stifle anti-Olympic expression.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • More Charts The Record Labels Don’t Want You To See: Swedish Musicians Making More Money

      We’ve already discussed the research on the UK music industry that shows both that live revenue is more than making up the decline in recorded revenue and that musicians themselves are making more revenue than ever before. Some people have suggested that this is a UK-only phenomenon, but a worldwide study found the same thing as well. And, now it looks like the same is being found in Sweden as well — home of The Pirate Bay, which we keep being told is destroying the industry. Swedish indie record label owner Martin sends in the news on data from the Swedish music industry, which looks quite similar to the UK data. First, it shows that while there was a tiny dip in overall revenue, it’s back up to being close to it’s high, mostly because of a big growth in live music…

    • MySpace/Imeem Deal Leaves Thousands of Artists Unpaid

      Independent artists who sold their music through imeem’s Snocap music storefronts on MySpace and other sites won’t be paid what’s owed even after MySpace Music’s acquisition of some — but not all — of imeem, Wired.com has learned.

    • US Congress earmarks $30m for anti-piracy fight

      Hollywood’s top lobbyist, MPAA chief executive Dan Glickman, also praised the success of a six-day Yuletide sting against counterfeit DVDs and CDs called “Operation Holiday Hoax.”

    • The Act Of Subscribing To A Publication Feels Limiting

      This is, in many ways, related to the concept that rather than finding news, for more and more people, the news finds them. Committing to a single publication, or a small group of publications does feel limiting. Now, some people will obviously disagree, but the more familiar you become with reading multiple sources on the web, the less and less it feels sensible to pay for a limited subset of them. And, even if you don’t find that to be true for yourself, the fact is that more and more people do feel that way — and for anyone trying to build a business model based on getting subscribers, they may find that to be quite difficult for this very reason. It’s asking for commitment to a single source in an age where sources are abundant.

    • Apple & Audiobook Firms Insist On DRM

      Yes, Apple. The company that at one point claimed DRM was bad and should be ditched, and convinced the record labels to ditch DRM. Yet, as we’ve noted in the past, outside of music, Apple is still a huge DRM supporter.

    • Managed Copy on Blu-ray little more than serial nos., prayer

      Blu-ray’s “managed copy” feature has been a long time coming, but studios are now being asked to support it on their discs even without test hardware. One industry insider describes the process to Ars. So does it work? We won’t know until some time in 2010!

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