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01.01.10

KDE 4.3 on GNU/Linux with Compiz Fusion 8.2 (Video)

Posted in GNU/Linux, KDE, Videos at 7:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another fine illustration of the power of GNU/Linux on an ordinary (single-head) desktop


Direct link

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 1st, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Bill Gates in the Oval Room

Posted in Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, FUD, Microsoft, Security at 5:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Hearts for Novell

Summary: Obama’s admirable transparency policies reveal that Bill Gates is visiting the White House, but it remains unknown what he is actually visiting for

Bill Gates, the infamous super-lobbyist, is repeatedly meeting President Obama, obviously to discuss his personal interests. This is a subject that we wrote about before [1, 2] (very extensive evidence contained therein), but it is coming up again in this report. The headline lumps in Microsoft’s Gates with another company which is currently under government investigation; it says: “Goldman Sachs’s Blankfein, Microsoft’s Gates Visited White House This Year”

President Barack Obama or top administration officials met at the White House with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Chairman Lloyd Blankfein , Microsoft Corp. co- founder Bill Gates and World Bank President Robert Zoellick , records show. Blankfein and Gates met with economic adviser Lawrence Summers , while Zoellick met with the president.

This morning we showed video footage of Biden and the MAFIAA plotting to take away more of the citizens’ rights, obviously using insults like “pirates”. In October we published a post which shows that “Goldman Sachs and Microsoft [Are] Top Obama Funders” and on the same month we approached a similar subject when we showed that “Carl Icahn [Was] Sued by Goldman Sachs” (Carl Icahn is confirmed to have communicated with Microsoft while he was hijacking the company formerly known as Yahoo!).

For simplicity, we’ll set aside the fact that Obama is meeting rich people who should be sent to prison for crimes that they committed (that’s not the subject of this post). The danger here is that when Gates is meeting the president he may be perpetually influencing him to the point where a security czar, for example, gets hired from the company least competent when it comes to security (almost evidently). Some sites suspected that Microsoft forces were behind the attempts to suspend or dethrone the US government’s CIO/CTO, but evidence was not sufficiently convincing (the preference for Google/SaaS scared Microsoft tremendously). Microsoft can never have enough influence in the United States government. The greed for power is endless.

“For simplicity, we’ll set aside the fact that Obama is meeting rich people who should be sent to prison for crimes that they committed…”There is danger that people in a position of responsibility in the government will act as foolishly as NASA (handing over the nation’s data to Microsoft and blocking non-Microsoft platforms from accessing this data). It’s commonly the fault of CTOs or CIOs.

Here is a new example of clueless people, this time in CTO Edge. Joseff Betancourt is pretending that Free software has no support when it fact it is the entire business model of many/most Free software vendors. He is already being countered in the comments (shame on that FUD). He lists himself under “Microsoft Certified Professionals” and he used to work for Microsoft’s media pal, Ziff-Davis [1, 2, 3]. Currently he is working on “Migration from Microsoft Solomon to Microsoft Navision, with integration of FRx, Forecaster and Document Imaging components.” No wonder he is so unfamiliar with Free software. To his credit, at least he asks people for advice about it (consultation).

Of “Cranky Old Nutcases”…

Posted in Boycott Novell, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Security, Windows at 4:14 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Boycott Novell cup of coffee

Summary: Syndromes of taboo (forbidden subjects) and the impact of talking about particular truths

OUR reader “The Mad Hatter” has written this post which highlights Microsoft’s role in ruining the Internet for everyone. One in two Windows PCs is said to be a zombie and the consequences are obvious.

Barry tweeted a Newsweek article titled The Evil (Cyber) Empire – Inside the world of Russian hackers. What the article doesn’t mention (possibly because Microsoft is a Newsweek advertiser) is that what holds the ‘Russian Business Network’ together is a vast botnet consisting of millions of compromised computers running the Microsoft Windows Operating System.

That’s right. Windows. Not OSX. Not Linux. Only Windows.

But it's never Microsoft's fault. Those who blame Microsoft should go see a doctor. [sarcasm to be noted here]

Jokingly, the above person calls his blog “Cranky Old Nutcase”. We previously explained how those who criticise tend to be portrayed as angry/grumpy and thus irrational [1, 2, 3, 4].

Some readers may already be familiar with TechDirt, which is a site that antagonises abuse in the areas of copyrights, patents, and journalism. It usually tackles Internet matters (mostly those relating to abundance versus scarcity in the digital age). TechDirt’s lead, Mike Masnick, has just written a special post for the new year. It is one that many critics can probably relate to. In it, Masnick explains that TechDirt (or himself) is being described as a site of hatred or anger rather than calm expression of opinion.

Last year, for our final post of the year, I wrote a message On Staying Happy. It seems, at time, that people think that I am filled with anger or rage, because of all the annoying or “bad” stories that show up here all the time. Of course, for folks who know me, this is pretty funny. I’m pretty laid back and quite happy and content for the most part — which was the point of last year’s post.

One strategy for dismissing a critic is to pretend — or sell the illusion — that the critic is very angry and driven by hormones rather than mind. In some cases, those who wish to daemonise the critic will therefore libel, harass and make very angry this critic, striving to make him/her say things out of temporary/spontaneous bursts of emotion (retaliatory, but then conveniently pulled out of context).

There are other daemonisation tactics, such as the ones we wrote about early in the week. We ask our readers not to pay attention where these tactics are being applied. Boycott Novell is under constant pressure for its relatively unusual views (no matter the supporting proof) and there are many sites like that*. To damage their reputation is a cheap task, especially when there is a PR team of hundreds or thousands of staff members (including TEs) at one’s disposal. And yes, we have already proven that Microsoft does smear this web site with its employees. Novell employees so this too (amongst others with vested interests).
_____
* Watch what happened to Groklaw when it ‘dared’ to criticise Microsoft’s precious Mono. Some publications that we know about consciously abstain from criticising Mono and even spike stories that do so. They are afraid of publishing something truthful that would harm their reputation simply because of Mono bullies and the likes of them. In order for truths to be voiced, the media must become less shy a lot bolder. Ownership issues aside (corporate shareholders), it is clear that there is a problem and it must be solved for trust to be regained; as CBS broadcaster Dan Rather put it a few years ago, American journalism “has in some ways lost its guts.”

Novell’s Christmas Presents for Microsoft

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 3:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Mono for Microsoft

Summary: Another look at what Mono, MonoTouch, and MonoDevelop are up to this week

THIS morning we wrote about MonoDevelop, Moonlight and Mono in relation to Ylmf OS, ending with the first comments from this Linux Today thread . It is no secret the readers of Linux Today are no fans of Mono. Don Whitbeck, for example, followed up with: “All I see coming out of Microsoft as far as development systems, are ever higher levels of complication and inefficiency. Perhaps the IDE has some nice features from what they have managed to copy from Borland after all these years, but does anyone think they have any goals with open source other than to bury Linux and any other competition?”

“Microsoft is determined to destroy GNU/Linux, so how can one genuinely expect someone from the CodePlex Foundation board to promote GNU/Linux?”Stephen Carpenter went further and said that “Evangelism is War” [PDF] “is why mono has recently become GPL free. It’s a trap for all those newbies desparate for something better than Windows. Ballmer wants you all back on the Microsoft train. His astro-turfer Miguel is doing such a great job. Why else is there any reason to evangelize a proprietary technology when there are good free and open source ones already available? Simple… “Embrace and Extend”. Mono is a trap. Plain and simple. But first you have to embrace it. Then once you’re a microserf again, Microsoft can start making the tail wag the dog.”

Carpenter goes too far by calling Novell’s de Icaza Ballmer’s “astro-turfer”; he is not a TE even when he behaves like one. He is, however, on the board of Microsoft's CodePlex Foundation, by choice*. This creates a conflict of interests that not even he can deny.

Microsoft is determined to destroy GNU/Linux, so how can one genuinely expect someone from the CodePlex Foundation board to promote GNU/Linux**? It would be contradictory. It’s almost like expecting the Pope to preach Islam.

What Novell is doing right now ought to remain simple. It promotes not necessarily Windows but the Windows development framework/s. MonoTouch is a good example of Mono being used to support proprietary, DRM-laden platforms the Microsoft way. We wrote about this in:

Here is some news about MonoTouch:

Novell speeds up iPhone app dev in MonoTouch 1.4

[...]

The other key item, also related to speed is that MonoTouch compiled releases are now also smaller. According to Novell, MonoTouch 1.4 actually compiles apps that are 30 percent smaller than previous releases.

As the iPhone continues to gain in popularity, the need for enterprise .NET type apps no doubt will grow. That growth will likely also continue to fuel demand for MonoTouch.

It is clear that Novell has lost its GNU/Linux focus. The company is currently busy bringing Microsoft software and APIs to Apple (and other platforms). To Novell, “[Microsoft] Evangelism is War”.
____
* Glyn Moody calls it “the Board that didn’t bark.” Novell’s de Icaza could decline an invitation to join (unless he invited himself), but instead he proudly announced his appointment while mocking the FSF. Later he mocked Richard Stallman, who had stated the obvious.

** Some say that Microsoft announced the CodePlex Foundation prematurely in order to distract, right after it got caught attacking GNU/Linux with patent trolls [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Links 1/1/2010: “Avatar” Powered by GNU/Linux, Garmin to Make Android Phone

Posted in News Roundup at 2:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • LinuxCertified Announces its next Embedded and Real-Time Linux Development Training course.

    The course covers the key issues in embedding Linux. Such questions as: why Linux, how to embed Linux, and how to measure and obtain real-time performance in Linux are examined. Taught by veterans in the field, this course provides an in-depth analysis of the subject. The course will be useful both for managers looking to identify correct tools and resources for their projects as well as developers looking to hone their skills before taking on a serious Embedded and Real-Time Linux project.

  • 2010’s Tech Predictions That Really Matter

    Open Source will definitely make a mark this year, what with Linux shaping the decade with some excellent contributions. Without doubts, Linux will play a big role in how the technology shapes in 2010 and the rest of the new decade.

  • What Lies at the Heart of “Avatar”?

    Oh, look: Linux. Why am I not surprised…?

  • Graphics

    • The State Of OpenGL 3.x in Mesa Core

      While ATI R600 users only recently received OpenGL 2.0 hardware support within the open-source Radeon 3D stack and there is many more OpenGL extensions to be implemented just not for the ATI Mesa driver but the other DRI drivers as well, Brian Paul has published a document that lays out the current state of OpenGL 3.x within the classic Mesa core. This document lays out what core Mesa supports and not necessarily that any of the drivers are implementing the said support at this time. Granted, with Mesa not really being very performance-efficient at this time or capable of running most games, a majority of users will be waiting for the OpenGL 3.x state tracker for Gallium3D.

  • Games

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Android

      • Will smartphones see off sat-nav?

        The two models currently available run on Linux and Windows platforms but Garmin plans to launch an Android phone in America in 2010.

      • My 2009 Team of the Year Award

        A couple of months ago when my Nokia N95 suddenly turned into a brick the inestimable James Whatley aka whatleydude was kind enough to loan me an HTC Magic running the new mobile OS from Google. I played with the device for about five minutes before proclaiming: For now, Nokia, you’re dead to me.

      • The Androidification of Everything

        The bigger indicator of momentum for Android is the excitement it has generated in the semiconductor industry. EETimes reports that, in addition to chip companies ARM and MIPS, semiconductor design firms such as Aricent and Mentor Graphics have established special Android-focused businesses. Freescale Semiconductor is working on an Android-based netbook design, as is Qualcomm.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Sugar Learning Platform Will Succeed In Virgin Markets

        I think is time that Sugar Labs and Sugar developers to realize that the success or failure of Sugar does not depend on its ability to play YouTube videos. Not because is not important but because there is very little chance to penetrate this market dominated by Microsoft and Apple.

      • $99 Cherrypal Africa Netbook Now Available

        The sub-100 dollar laptop is now a reality in the form of the Cherrypal Africa, a $99 seven-inch laptop intended to help developing countries and low-income persons connect to the Web.

Free Software/Open Source

  • New Open Source Intrusion Detector Suricata Released

    The OISF has released the beta version of the Suricata IDS/IPS engine: The Suricata Engine is an Open Source Next Generation Intrusion Detection and Prevention Engine. This engine is not intended to just replace or emulate the existing tools in the industry, but will bring new ideas and technologies to the field.

  • OSUOSL: Looking back on 2009

    2009 has been an exciting and eventful year at the Oregon State University Open Source Lab (OSUOSL). This year marks our sixth anniversary of providing open source projects with world-class hosting and development services. I’d like to take this chance to look back on what we’ve done at the OSUOSL this year, and what we expect from next year.

  • 8 ECM Predictions for 2010

    This is not new for open source. MySQL and JBoss have worked with many non-open source vendors and bolstered their capabilities. In 2010, this will take on a new significance though.

  • Top Ten Open Source Legal Developments: 2009

    6. Enforcement of GPL for Busybox Continues. The Software Freedom Law Center has continued to enforce the GPLv2 on behalf of some of the owners of the copyright in Busybox software.

  • Databases

    • Moglen on Patents and Bilski

      Eben Moglen has a very interesting presentation on patents (including comments on Bilski) that was originally presented on Nov. 2, 2009. Software patents and business method patents have been a disaster for the U.S. and world economy, and he has some interesting things to say about how we got here (and how it could be fixed).

      [...]

      Because the patent system predates the APA, all potential harms to society from a patent are completely ignored during the patent examination process. If patents were individually considered as new regulations under the APA, such questions would need to be carefully considered. That’s an interesting point Moglen makes.

  • Openness

    • TinkerCell: modular CAD tool for synthetic biology

      An application named TinkerCell has been developed in order to serve as a CAD tool for synthetic biology. TinkerCell is a visual modeling tool that supports a hierarchy of biological parts. Each part in this hierarchy consists of a set of attributes that define the part, such as sequence or rate constants. Models that are constructed using these parts can be analyzed using various third-party C and Python programs that are hosted by TinkerCell via an extensive C and Python application programming interface (API).

    • Who will pay for the arXiv?

      Last time I mentioned the INSPIRE system as an exciting development in high energy physics literature databases (no, that’s not an oxymoron). There’s another big change going on in that field next year, but this will be behind-the-scenes. None-the-less, it’s raised a lot of questions about the ownership and financial support of an important resource that is free to anyone in the world: the arXiv.

      The e-print arXiv (pronounced “archive”) is a central repository of research articles in physics, mathematics, computer science, and quantitative biology. Since its inception in 1991 by theoretical physicist Paul Ginsparg, it has had a huge impact on the way science is done by providing free access to “pre-prints” of research papers.

Leftovers

  • Obama Curbs Secrecy of Classified Documents

    President Obama declared on Tuesday that “no information may remain classified indefinitely” as part of a sweeping overhaul of the executive branch’s system for protecting classified national security information.

  • How not to handle China

    Behind this froth, what is plain is that China has once again asserted its determination to protect its own sovereignty whatever the issue, and is intent on doing things its way. Given its economic progress in the past three decades and the immediate effect of its huge pump-priming over the past 12 months in restoring growth (even if the second half of next year may prove more problematic), the leadership and the population feel pretty good about themselves. They are in no mood to take lessons, moral or otherwise, from the west.

    In this context, the Shaikh case fits into a string of scratchy non-meetings of mind between China and the west over the last couple of months.

  • Winner: Pixel Qi’s Everywhere Display

    I’m watching a clip from Slumdog Millionaire on what looks like a standard netbook computer, a scene in which deep blue body paint gives way to luscious saffron-yellow cloth. The picture quality is fine, if nothing special. But then I push a small white button at the side of the display, and it does something I’ve never seen before: The backlight disappears, and the image turns black and white, remaining visible thanks to the overhead lights in the room. I hold up an Amazon Kindle by way of comparison. Both displays have the same crisp grayscale text I’ve come to expect from e-paper.

  • Happy 40th Birthday time(2)!

    The Unix time(2) system call is “over the hill” at 40 years old today. The time(2) system call has dutifully told us how many seconds have passed since January 1, 1970. I use the day as my “birthday” on public websites in tribute. Please raise a glass of champagne tonight with me in celebration!

  • UTStarcom to Pay US Fines for Bribing Chinese Carriers

    Telecommunications equipment vendor UTStarcom will pay a total of US$3 million in fines for violating U.S. bribery laws by giving employees of Chinese carriers free U.S. vacations that were reported as training programs.

    UTStarcom, based in Alameda, California, reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in which it will pay a $1.5 million fine, the department announced on Thursday. In the settlement, the company took responsibility for the actions of UTStarcom China, the wholly owned subsidiary through which it does business in China, the DOJ said in a statement. In a related settlement on Thursday, the company also agreed to pay a $1.5 million penalty to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the DOJ said.

  • Life in Transit: Happy New Year everyone

    I think 2010 is going to be the Year of Platforms. Not Snake-Oil-as-A-Service. Real honest-to-goodness heavy-lifting platforms. The stuff that makes it possible for everyone to have Everything-As-A-Service.

    Some of you think that platforms are passe, so 2007. Some of you think that platforms are cloud-cuckoo-land, to be filed alongside the Paperless Office and the Paperless Loo. To my mind there’s something very William Gibson-ish about platforms: the future’s already here, it’s just unevenly distributed.

  • Security

    • Asteroid Deflection as a Public Good

      I wrote this post over the weekend but given Paul Samuelson’s classic contribution to public goods theory and to economic textbooks it seems to also fit today.

  • Environment

    • Retro: Y2K and Peak Oil

      I’m getting a shiver of deja vu these days when I read the peak oil-related websites. Some are boggling over the fact that “global warming” got more attention than “peak oil” in the discussions over the recently-passed Energy Bill in the US, while others are simply furious that the American public (and these websites seem predominantly American in focus) isn’t taking peak oil sufficiently seriously. They’re particularly bothered that mainstream discussion of the idea, when it happens, often pushes the peak date out by ten to twenty years (or more), making it seem like a distant crisis at worst.

  • Finance

    • Goldman Sachs in The Cayman Islands

      Some stories are not all that surprising, but they are nonetheless sickening beyond measure.

    • Goldman Sachs Faces Probes

      The New York Times reports investigators in the U.S. Congress at the Securities and Exchange Commission and at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority have launched probes into Goldman Sachs and other Wall Street firms for deliberately selling risky structured securities to clients, and then betting on the securities failing.

      The probes are looking at how Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and other Wall Street firms profited off complex mortgage-based securities — known as synthetic collateralized debt obligations, or C.D.O.’s. Pension funds and insurance companies lost billions of dollars on such securities that they believed were solid investments.

    • Goldman Sachs Duped Investors, Investigation Finds

      McClatchy reporters have been digging into the shady offshore dealings of Goldman Sachs and what they found in the records of the financial-meltdown villain is as maddening as you’d expect.

      According to the investigation, “Goldman peddled more than $40 billion in U.S.-registered securities … but never told the buyers it was secretly betting that a sharp drop in U.S. housing prices would send the value of those securities plummeting.”

    • In Goldman Sachs’ Cayman Islands Deals, Investors Could Only Lose

      When financial titan Goldman Sachs joined some of its Wall Street rivals in late 2005 in secretly packaging a new breed of offshore securities, it gave prospective investors little hint that many of the deals were so risky that they could end up losing hundreds of millions of dollars on them.

    • Investors could only lose in Goldman’s Caymans deals

      McClatchy has obtained previously undisclosed documents that provide a closer look at the shadowy $1.3 trillion market since 2002 for complex offshore deals, which Chicago financial consultant and frequent Goldman critic Janet Tavakoli said at times met “every definition of a Ponzi scheme.”

      The documents include the offering circulars for 40 of Goldman’s estimated 148 deals in the Cayman Islands over a seven-year period, including a dozen of its more exotic transactions tied to mortgages and consumer loans that it marketed in 2006 and 2007, at the crest of the booming market for subprime mortgages to marginally qualified borrowers.

    • Goldman Sachs’ response to latest McClatchy article

      As flattering as it is, Mr. van Praag’s assumption that Greg Gordon produced his Dec. 30 story in six days is incorrect. In fact, he had finished reporting and writing the story, and it was being edited on Dec. 24 when The New York Times published “Banks Bundled Bad Debt, Bet Against It and Won,” that paper’s variation on the theme of McClatchy’s Nov. 1-4 series on how Goldman Sachs had bundled bad debt, bet against it and won.

    • Goldman’s offshore deals deepened global financial crisis

      When financial titan Goldman Sachs joined some of its Wall Street rivals in late 2005 in secretly packaging a new breed of offshore securities, it gave prospective investors little hint that many of the deals were so risky that they could end up losing hundreds of millions of dollars on them.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Apple Censors Dalai Lama IPhone Apps in China

      Apple appears to have blocked iPhone applications related to the Dalai Lama in its China App Store, making it the latest U.S. technology company to censor its services in China.

      Those apps, which appear in most countries’ versions of the App Store, do not currently appear in the Chinese version. Another app related to Rebiya Kadeer, who like the Dalai Lama is an exiled minority leader reviled by China’s authorities, is unavailable in the China App Store as well. The apparent censorship comes after carrier China Unicom launched iPhone sales two months ago, making regulatory approval of the phone’s contents in the country necessary for the first time.

    • Poland apparently planning to control Internet much more strictly

      Poland is apparently planning to make its control of the Internet drastically stricter. heise Online Poland, the Polish sister website of The H, reports that the government is working on new legislation already. The new law would create a registry of websites to be blocked and force Internet service providers to hand over detailed user data to investigators, for instance.

    • What were the worst offences against liberty, democracy and the rule of law in 2009?

      For most bloggers and hacks, the end of the year is a time to look back at some of the best moments from the previous 12 months. But I’m a miserable bastard. So instead I thought I’d make a list of some of the low points for freedom and democracy in the UK in 2009. I’m thinking of those things which offend against the very notion of a free society; the kind people refuse to believe until you show them the proof.

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • 2010: The Year Networks Are Decreed Neutral?

      Long-frustrated network neutrality advocates headed into 2009 with high hopes. After all, there was a new administration headed by a man whose campaign promises included the assurance that he would “take a back seat to no one” on the issue, a decidedly Democratic Congress and a general warming to the idea that unfettered access to content and applications on the Internet was somehow essential to the new economy and the sacrosanct rights of the First Amendment.

    • Whoops! F.C.C. Chairman Spams Facebook Friends

      Facebook scam artists have closed out 2009 by snagging a prominent victim: Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.

      On Thursday at around 10:30 a.m., Mr. Genachowski sent his Facebook friends this puzzling message: “Adam got me started making money with this.” It was followed by a link to a Web page that is no longer active. The message blitz indicated that Mr. Genachowski’s account had been taken over by a malicious program that was using it to send out spam.

    • How to Destroy the Book, by Cory Doctorow

      People keep showing me ebook readers that try to recreate the book experience with cute animations showing the turning of pages. But if you want to recreate the important part of the book experience, the part that keeps people buying books for their whole lives, filling their homes with treasured friends that they would not part with for love nor money, then we need to restore and safeguard ownership of books. When I buy a book, it’s mine. There’s no mechanism, not even in the face of a court order, whereby a retailer can take a book away from me, and yet Amazon—there’s the most extraordinary thing that they had to do in the United States—you’ve heard of course that someone put a copy of Orwell’s 1984 in the Kindle Store, and it wasn’t licensed for distribution in the U.S.—of course, Orwell is in the public domain outside the U.S., in copyright in the U.S.—and Amazon responded to this intelligence by revoking the book 1984 from its customers’ ebook readers. After they’d bought it, they woke up one morning to discover their book had gone.

    • Tomorrow Is National Book Burning Day; Thank Your Friendly Entertainment Industry Lobbyists

      January 1st of each year should be National Public Domain Day, when many different creative works enter the public domain, where they can be made useful. In years past, it was a regular occurrence as tons of creative works went into the public domain each year. Often this was by choice on the part of the copyright holder. That’s because copyright used to have a renewal requirement, and the vast majority of copyright holders found little reason to renew their copyright. In 1958-59, only 7% of book copyright holders chose to renew their copyrights, meaning that 93% of books that could have been covered by copyright were allowed to enter the public domain. The small number that did have their copyrights renewed were (not surprisingly) the books that were still huge commercial successes, whose authors and publishers wished to retain their monopoly rights.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • From the archives – March 2001: Major label digital strategies

      The company’s internet strategy begins and ends with AOL. The thinking here is that AOL, with 24 million subscribers, has a natural customer base for Time Warner’s extensive music catalogue, as well as serious Internet expertise in house. Although MBI World Music Report lists Warner Music Group’s global market share as equal to BMG’s at 11.9 percent (tied for fourth), AOL was working to secure licensing rights from the other music titans.

      Combined with Time Warner’s cable-modem Road Runner service, AOL also has control of fat pipes in the US. The reason many people didn’t use Napster is because it is slow and expensive. With control of broadband, subscription is that much more compelling.

    • What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2010?

      Current US law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years.) But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years). Under those laws, works published in 1953 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2010.

    • Sookman found liable for worldwide article inaccuracies

      OK. I’m being mean. I know it. You know it. Barry knows it. But hey, it’s me. This is how I am. Still I feel kind of guilty. It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Quite frankly I should just forget about Barry, and finish the article I started before Christmas on Canadian attitudes towards Climate Change.

      But hell – I declare this ‘Beat up on Barry week.’ In my earlier articles about Barry’s writing (one) (two) I mentioned that I had spotted other inaccuracies, and here’s one:

      Fung and Isohunt found liable for inducing worldwide copyright infringement

      Like wow, man. Guilty of Worldwide Copyright Infringement! That’s bad. Really bad.

    • Why Indie Directors Give Movies Away Free Online

      When Finnish filmmaker Timo Vuorensola came up with the idea for his movie Star Wreck, a parody of Star Trek, he knew that looking for conventional distribution would be futile. An amateur, science-fiction comedy with a miniscule budget — and in Finnish, to boot — would hardly be attractive to mainstream studios. So Vuorensola took matters into his own hands: he used a Finnish social networking site to build up an online fan base who contributed to the storyline, made props and even offered their acting skills. In return for the help, Vuorensola released Star Wreck in 2005 online for free. Seven hundred thousand copies were downloaded in the first week alone; to date, the total has now reached 9 million.

    • My only prediction for 2010 and it ain’t pretty

      Sure we have all read posts about how the entertainment industry is trying to get changes made to existing copyright laws in various countries and the response has for the most part been a big *YAWN* and then it’s on to whining and gushing respectively over Twitter and Facebook. The problem is that the movement to gut existing copyright laws, being led by the US entertainment industry, is only a shadow of the real effort that will supersede any local country laws.

      This is all being done behind closed doors where even government officials are being required to sign NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreements). Yes, NDAs on the creation of a new global treaty – something that has never been done before because laws and treaties are suppose to be open to public examination and input. This isn’t the case with the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) however.

    • The Problem Isn’t Middlemen, It’s Monopolies

      So many middlemen insist on monopolies, we’ve forgotten we don’t need to grant them. They say that without a monopoly (aka “exclusive rights”) they have no incentive to promote and distribute. Actually a monopoly gives a middleman no incentive, because no one is competing with them. Take away the monopoly, and the middleman has to compete with other potential middlemen (including the artist). Then they have an incentive to work. Rather than monopoly, they succeed on the basis of expertise (theatrical distributors already know how to track, ship, and manage prints), innovation (finding better ways to meet customers’ existing desires and identifying new ones), and quality.

Activate Windows Without Losing Your Selected Text


Bernie Marren is Not a Patent Troll, He is a Patent Toll

Posted in Apple, IBM, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 8:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Toll-free today

Summary: Some patent news with special focus on OPTi and IBM

Portfolio.com has found quite a unique way to open up an article:

Don’t call OPTi Inc. CEO Bernie Marren a “patent troll.”

TechDirt almost begs to differ, saying that OPTi is “the company that recently won a $21.7 million patent ruling against Apple, where the company’s CEO insists it’s not a patent troll because it’s only suing over patents that it got itself. It seems that Bernie Marren is trying to redefine what a “patent troll” is to mean just someone who buys patents and sues. But the real story shows that OPTi is yet another example of patents harming, not helping, innovation. The company used to produce products, but other companies eventually caught up, and OPTi couldn’t compete.”

“This does not improve innovation in any way; it’s more like corporate welfare, which is not in the public’s interest.”It is important to emphasise that “patent trolls” quite strictly means companies without physical products and assets — companies which are mostly legal firms acquiring patents just to sue. The term “patent troll” is very frequently misused. There is also the older term “patent shark”, not to mention “patent harvester” or “patent hoarder” (Microsoft loves those)

A lesser-known exploiter of the patent system would be IBM, which lobbies for software patents and is still patenting utter garbage, just like Microsoft. To them, it’s about quantity, not quality. We gave an example of this yesterday and TechDirt wrote about it too. IBM is making billions of dollars not from manufacturing products but from taxing other companies’ products with patents. This does not improve innovation in any way; it’s more like corporate welfare, which is not in the public’s interest.

DZone has this update on software patents, which it published less than a day ago:

Software Patents Get Strict
The Board of Patent Appeals released new precedents recently for patents on mathematical formulae used in software.  The precedent will only allow patents for algorithms that are applied to a tangible, practical application that is getting real-world use.  Patents also can’t be claimed for “every conceivable application” that could result from an algorithm.  Last September, the US Patent Office also introduced new guidelines saying that no industrial property protection should be granted for computer programs.

We wrote about this last week. It’s the latest episode in the Bilski case. If IBM wanted to stop software patents, it would probably get its way somehow, owing to its involvement in the Bilski test.

“People naively say to me, “If your program is innovative, then won’t you get the patent?” This question assumes that one product goes with one patent.” —Richard Stallman

Centrify, Microsoft, and Software Patents

Posted in Apple, Courtroom, FUD, GNU/Linux, IBM, Interoperability, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Samba at 7:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Centrify

Summary: How Centrify is strengthening Microsoft’s patent FUD against GNU/Linux; Microsoft’s patent violations and attacks on GNU/Linux explored further

When it comes to Microsoft Active Directory (AD), Microsoft is playing games with software patents. Back in September we wrote about what LikeWise was doing to Samba (not for the first time) and we are finding similarities in Centrify Corporation, whose Chief Technology Officerwas a Program Manager in Microsoft’s Windows 2000 development group, where, among other things, he drove the integration between Active Directory and the Windows 2000 enterprise print subsystem. Moore also represented Microsoft on various industry standards committees, and authored several RFCs and other industry standards.” It’s just like LikeWise and Centrify too is Bellevue-based (Microsoft’s back yard). They establish Microsoft AD as the industry ‘standard’, under the pretense of helping other platforms (same with Mono and Moonlight). One might argue that they act as a peripheral extension of the Microsoft monopoly.

“They establish Microsoft AD as the industry ’standard’, under the pretense of helping other platforms (same with Mono and Moonlight).”At the top of the page it says that “Centrify is led by a team of senior executives from industry leaders such as NetIQ, Microsoft, Computer Associates and Novell.” Well, we already know that Centrify is working with Novell's SUSE. “Our partners include Microsoft, Red Hat, Novell, VMware, Apple and others,” says the corporate overview and there is clear evidence that Microsoft and Centrify are partners based on both companies’ Web sites.

Why does this matter? Well, in 2008 Centrify sort of defended rather than denounced Microsoft's patent allegations against GNU/Linux. It called it an “off-topic” post. Moreover, Centrify has just issued the following press release:

Centrify Awarded Patent in Identity Management of UNIX and Linux Systems

Centrify Corporation, the leading provider of Microsoft Active Directory-based identity and access management and auditing solutions for non-Microsoft platforms, today announced it has been awarded patent #7,591,005 from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patented technology facilitates the capability for UNIX and Linux service accounts and root accounts to be authenticated within a centralized directory.

Wow. Software patents. Clients who are using GNU/Linux must be very, very impressed.

It ought to be added that Microsoft itself is violating software patents, even deliberately. CNN presents this post-mortem of the i4i case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. In it, i4i explains how to win against Microsoft despite its abuse of the legal system (Microsoft was fined for trial misconduct in the i4i case and also abused the legal system by dodging local courts in India, then fined for it).

i4i’s tips include:

Prepare your case. When it comes to taking on a company the size and stature of Microsoft, don’t expect legal eagles to bang down your door.

Instead, Owen says, “we assembled the [patent infringement] claim, the background and the history in an extraordinarily detailed, analytical way. We prepared the case as best we could independently before meeting with leading counsel and luminaries in the industry.”

Don’t lose track of your day job. A much-ballyhooed, two-year legal battle against Microsoft can significantly distract employees and completely consume a company’s top brass.

We are still stressing rather strongly that Microsoft’s EDGI may be a violation of the law. We wrote about this a few days ago and last night we found another new post about it:

Microsoft wants to hire an anti Linux Guru

Steve Balmer, the CEO of Microsoft gets pretty scared by the success of Linux & other Open Source Software. Microsoft wants to hire a so-called “Linux and Open Office Compete Lead”, as the job description in one their recent marketing job ads shows.

Microsoft is also attacking GNU/Linux using software patents [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. Those who do not help abolish those are unfortunately part of the problem. This includes IBM, Novell, and Apple.

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