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01.04.10

Bill Gates’ Influence in Obama Administration and Africa Increases Even Further

Posted in Africa, Bill Gates, Patents at 8:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates Foundation logo

Summary: The Gates Foundation, a heavyweight vehicle for investments and influence, has top employee put in the US government (for “International Development”) while the Foundation increases influence over African farming

MICROSOFT already has a lot of power in the United States government. This includes Bill Gates, who is meeting in isolation with President Obama. One of Gates’ guys is now becoming the head the US Agency for International Development:

The United States Senate has approved the nomination of Rajiv Shah to head the US Agency for International Development (USAID), making him the highest ranking Indian American in the Obama administration.

[...]

Shah, a medical doctor, currently serves as chief scientist for the US Department of Agriculture and previously worked as director for agricultural development at the foundation headed by Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates and his wife.

[...]

Prior to his work at the Gates foundation, Shah worked on health care policy for the 2000 presidential campaign of former vice president Al Gore.

“International Development” sounds like a good post from which to promote colonisation. Regarding the above, says GatesKeppers, “The wunderkind Clinton(s)/Gore/Gates nominee Raj Shah takes on an impossible job. Watch for Gates Foundation influence to increase …”

The Gates Foundation has just pumped some millions of dollar for more influence in African agriculture:

The foundation is working to strengthen the entire agricultural value chain—from seeds and soil to farm management and market access—so that progress against hunger and poverty is sustainable over the long term.

So Gates and Monsanto will have more power to fight those so-called “environmentalists” whom they mock, thus controlling the world’s food/agriculture. More information about this can be found in the links below.

  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. Bill Gates Takes His GMO Patent Investments/Experiments to India
  15. Gates/Microsoft Tax Dodge and Agriculture Monopoly Revisited
  16. Beyond the ‘Public Relations’
  17. UK Intellectual Monopoly Office (UK-IPO) May be Breaking the Law
  18. “Boycott Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in China”
  19. The Gates Foundation Extends Control Over Communication with Oxfam Relationship

Monsanto

Latest Vista 7 Failures, Xbox 360 Failures, and Microsoft Cartel

Posted in DRM, Hardware, Microsoft, Vista 7, Windows at 8:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Xbox

Summary: It’s “Game Over” for some key Microsoft products; Microsoft is gaming the market with DRM (lock-in and artificially-imposed expiry)

THIS POST continues an accumulation of realities behind Vista 7. We begin with the following new article which speaks about compatibility problems in the operating system.

We are currently in one of the best situations ever to think about moving to Linux on the desktop. With Windows XP’s end of life, many companies are already considering upgrading to Windows Vista or 7. The user interface has changed, and many existing applications aren’t compatible. I am currently reviewing a list of hundreds of applications for compatibility with Windows 7 to decide what will have to be upgraded or replaced.

Compatibility issues in Vista 7 are not exactly news. We gave examples of them in:

Then there is the issue of price. IDG has written this article about it:

Microsoft’s pricing strategy often has me scratching my head. I am befuddled by Microsoft’s ability to give away tremendous amounts of software in some of the partner programs like the Action Pack subscription, yet individual users are still paying through the nose for Windows and Office. It amazes me that a full version of Windows 7 Ultimate is $319 retail while a 10-user CAL version of Server 2008 Standard retails for $1,209 (or $120.09 per user). Wouldn’t it be better if Microsoft wooed the consumer market with more competitive pricing?

Our reader Ryan has just sold his Xbox 360, which failed on him 8 times (that’s right, eight) and needed to be repaired. Here is what he wrote:

Microsoft’s XBOX 360 is a lemon. Just about everyone who has owned one can tell you all about the Red Ring of Death. By some accounts they have a 54% failure rate.

By my count, they have had an 87.5% rate of failure, that is, of the total 8 consoles (yes, EIGHT) I’ve had, only the one they just sent back from refurbishing works.

If you divide 8 consoles by 49 months (November 2005 – December 2009), a 360 has a life expectancy of just over 6 months, if you use it a few hours a day like I tended to.

It is rather amusing that some people still argue that Microsoft makes good products. Microsoft seems a lot more capable when it comes to customer-hostile technology like DRM, but that too eventually fails (MSN Music for example, right after PlaysForSure). Here is Microsoft working to advance DRM again:

Five of the six major Hollywood studios (Warner Brothers, NBC Universal, Sony, Paramount and Fox, but not Walt Disney) are involved, with Microsoft, Cisco Systems, Comcast, Intel and Best Buy.

They are all close to Microsoft for different reasons. The above looks almost like a conspiracy of studios and technology companies looking to increase their wealth at the expense of the public. Aren’t cartels illegal?

“DRM is nearly always the result of a conspiracy of companies to restrict the technology available to the public. Such conspiracy should be a crime, and the executives responsible for it should be sentenced to prison.”

Richard Stallman

Intel — Like Microsoft — Penalises Competitors Using Secret Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, Hardware, Microsoft, Windows at 8:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Circuit board

Summary: New allegations of monopoly abuse from Microsoft’s collusion partner, Intel

WHEN the FTC sued Intel for crimes that are similar to Microsoft's it was not yet known that Intel’s actions go beyond bribery, destruction of evidence, and so forth (business/operations side). As it turns out, on the technical side too Intel is breaking the rules. From the news:

THE US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) apparently is interested in the fact that Intel’s compiler deliberately cripples performance for non-Intel processors such as those made by AMD and VIA.

Writing in his blog, programming expert Agner Fog said that it appears that Chipzilla’s compiler can produce different versions of pieces of code, with each version being optimised for a specific processor and/or instruction set. The system detects which CPU it’s running on and chooses the optimal code path accordingly.

This invalidates a lot of benchmarks.

Intel’s crimes may never have it endure sufficient and appropriate punishment, but regardless, it seems as though AMD makes new gains:

Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) processors will soon be available in two upcoming Lenovo ThinkPad models, breaking Intel’s longtime monopoly on the notebook line.

This is analogous to GNU/Linux getting preinstalled despite Microsoft’s bribery and and other anti-competitive moves whose intention is to altogether remove choice from the market. The FTC should sue Microsoft too.

Related posts:

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 4th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:42 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.

Links 4/1/2010: Freescale’s Sub-£125 Sub-notebook Prototype

Posted in News Roundup at 5:22 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Create Bootable Live Linux USB Drives with UNetbootin

    This year for Christmas, I received a new netbook to play with. It came pre-loaded with Windows XP, so I’ve had a little vacation from Windows 7. I’ve also had to live without a CD/DVD drive, and that’s been the real challenge for me.

  • Desktop

    • Dell gives extra latitude to instant-on concept

      ON comes in three flavours. There is a basic software option where users press an alternative power-on button and the notebook boots a Linux-based operating system provided by DeviceVM.

    • Ileor MMOG Framework v0.02 Released!

      Currently the project is written only for Linux, but can be made to run in a multiplatform environment with a little tweaking (will be available in the near future too).

    • IT heresy: 5 radical resolutions for 2010

      IT resolution No. 1: Let employees use any PC they want. Give your end-users a budget so that if they want something really pricey they pay the difference. And if they choose something basic, let them use the leftover budget for other tech aids such as widescreen monitors or special input devices. Offer a standard option they can get preconfigured to IT’s specifications. Certify IT-supported apps for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux — InfoWorld has heard that when employees get to choose their own computer, as many as a third choose Macs, so be ready for that choice. For example, you might certify Microsoft Office for Windows and Mac, IBM Lotus Symphony for Linux, Exchange for Windows, Apple Mail for Mac, and Evolution for Linux, and Firefox for all three platforms. Be able to support these apps in terms of their core features relevant to business use.

    • Grappling Hook Reaches Archive Games

      Grappling Hook was released this week on the Archive Games distribution platform for Windows and Linux.

  • Server

    • Power Systems i: The Windows Conundrum

      Moving Unix apps to Linux is not a big deal for mainframe shops with lots of systems talent, and while the competition between Linux and Windows is indirect because they are very different operating systems, moving a print or file or Web server from Windows to Linux is not a big deal for big iron shops. It is safe to say that the porting and enthusiastic supporting of Linux on mainframes has preserved that mainframe business, which would have otherwise gone into decline. (Specialty engines that accelerate database and Java applications for a reduced hardware and software price haven’t hurt the mainframe biz, either, I realize.)

    • Five Candidates Chase Three COMMON Board Seats

      Since last fall, COMMON, the midrange user group that is trying to expand beyond its AS/400 base to encompass AIX and Linux users on Power Systems boxes, has been looking for some new board members to replace three members that are due to vacate their positions later this spring.

  • Google

    • Five more Google New Year resolutions

      7. Deliver the desktop.

      Chromium is a great way to monetize the cloud. It can be the mass market Linux we have been looking for. But you need to focus on it, and maybe a small number of other projects that relate to that second act, or your people are going to get lazy and self-indulgent.

  • Kernel Space

    • The Techies of the Noughties

      8. Linus Torvalds – Linux

      Open source technology has been around for more than a decade, and it’s true that Linus Torvalds is not, strictly speaking, its inventor. But his evangelism of the concept during the past decade has made open source a serious force in both the commercial and public sector markets. Torvalds even believes that the model could be expanded to work in spheres other than software: “The future is open source everything,” he is quoted as having said. Already, the open source movement has been the inspiration for increased transparency and liberty in other fields, including the release of biotechnology research by CAMBIA, Wikipedia, and other projects. The open-source concept has also been applied to media other than computer programs, for example by Creative Commons.

  • Applications

    • Chrome: Linux’s best Web browser?

      I’m a long time Firefox fan, but I’ve also grown fond of Google’s Chrome browser. In fact, I’ve pretty much switched to Chrome as my browser of choice on my Windows PCs. Up until now though I’ve stuck with Firefox on Linux, but now that Chrome is available as a beta on Linux, I’m being tempted to switch.

    • Instructionals

    • Games

      • The Legend of Edgar 0.45

        Updates

        2nd January 2009 – v0.45 is now available.

        * Added the rest of the Library map
        * Health dropping now works correctly when the bow is equipped
        * Music and sound effects are halted when the game is paused
        * Items in a grabber should now stay put better
        * Energy Drainers now drop between 1 and 3 arrows when they die
        * The Blob Boss should no longer get stuck when reforming
        * Added switches that reset puzzle blocks; play the tutorial to see how they work
        * Boss music actually plays now
        * Increased the inventory size

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • Bangarang The new KDE media player

      Most KDE4 users know the default KDE media player Dragon player. It is simple and easy. In this post I will introduce you a new media player for KDE4 which intends to be simple in stylish way, more integration with KDE4 technologies like phonon and Nepomuk, and has more features than Dragon player. It is Banarang.

  • Distributions

    • sidux 2009-04 Brings KDE SC 4.3.4 and Linux Kernel 2.6.32.2

      On the last day of 2009, Stefan Lippers-Hollmann uploaded and released the latest version of the sidux Linux-based operating system (codename “Moros”). sidux 2009-04 ships with Linux kernel 2.6.32.2, KDE Software Compilation 4.3.4, and 3D support for ATI Radeon graphics cards. sidux is a full-featured Live CD based on Debian Sid, with a special focus on hard disk installations, a clean upgrade path within Sid and supplementary hardware and software support.

    • A Look at MINIX (version 3.1.4)

      I believe it was Paul Gauguin who famously questioned: “Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?” (D’où venons nous ? Que sommes-nous ? Où allons-nous ?) While it may be impossible to say for sure, I think he was expressing the idea that we can’t really know what we are or where we’re headed unless we also know where we originated. Bearing that thought in mind, I decided to take a look at MINIX, the operating system which helped to inspire the creation of Linux.

    • Confessions of a Distro Hopper

      I still require uber-simplicity and a sweet, elegant, intuitive interface. Part of my exploration was just to experiment with different desktop environments. Y’see, with Linux, you have a choice! The only choice I ever had with Windows was theming and wallpaper. But with Linux, it’s soooooo much more than just choosing a color, a wallpaper, theme, and fonts. I can select any number different behaviors for windows, effects, and even applications. How liberating! And what a vast universe to explore. Gnome, KDE, Enlightenment, LXDE, Xfce, Openbox, IceWM, Fluxbox, oh my gosh!

    • Debian Family

      • Ubuntu 9.10 Review

        It’s been a couple of months since the release of the latest and greatest of Ubuntu, Karmic Koala and while we’ve been busy building servers based on the this release we can say with out a doubt it just keeps getting better. The refinements in the Gnome interface really are paying off in spades, as this release is more than ready for prime time.

        Finally the new file system is enabled by default. By this we mean ext4. While not many people care about this, it adds more speed to the already great linux distro. Overall systems feel snappier and I really chalk it up to this new file system. That and all of the work being done on the boot up and launcher times are really starting to add up.

        [...]

        Microsoft should be freaking out… if I ran a call center I’d run Ubuntu desktop on every single work station and save a butt load of $$ in the process.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Freescale to show ARM-based net tablet design

      Freescale anticipates vendors will choose either Linux or Android to run on their tablets. They may also opt to add a clip-on keyboard.

    • Freescale hopes to go big on tablets

      Freescale says it will have an ARM processor and reckons that it will sell for about $200. The tablet will be on show at CES 2010, the firm said, and will be running Android and Linux as well as a range of applications, including an office suite.

    • An Affordable $199 Tablet for Everyone — And It’s Not From Apple

      If manufacturers pick up on Freescale’s concept, such smartbooks should show up in a store near you perhaps later on this summer, with a price point below the $200 ceiling, the chipmaker says.

    • Smartbook tablet design runs Linux, Android
    • Freescale Announces Smartbook/Tablet Prototype
    • Freescale unveils ‘sub-£125′ tablet design
    • Overview of all Pineview Atom based Motherboards

      Apart from industrial uses, these new Pineview Atom motherboards are ideal in combination with Linux to make small, low power consumption, 24/7 home mail or web servers, BT-clients, file servers, home surveillance appliances, routers, firewalls or even small PCs for web browsing and email.

    • Palm

      • WebOS to get 3D gaming and native application support in 2010?

        WebOS 1.3.5 was released to the masses last week and its inner workings were promptly picked apart by eager webOS hackers. One of the most exciting finds was the inclusion of the SDL library in this latest version of webOS. SDL is an acronym for Simple DirectMedia Layer, an open source library that provides a programming interface to a platform’s underlying audio, graphics and input devices. Translated into English, this means that Palm webOS developers will have direct access to the underlying graphics hardware of a device making hardware accelerated graphics a reality.

      • Palm’s webOS Gets Support for Running Native Linux Apps, High-End Multimedia Tools

        In addition, developers closely examining webOS 1.3.5 have run across a simple system for running native Linux applications, something that wasn’t included in earlier versions.

    • Android

      • Mobile Game-Changers: What to Keep Your Eye on in 2010

        Android: The New Smartphone Superstar
        Will Apple own mobile applications? Perhaps, but with the launch of the Android OS and some slick devices: Droid, HTC Dream, HTC Eris and the much anticipated Nexus One expect more developers to take advantage of the openness of this new platform. Having the ability to push apps live without an approval process, make quick updates and leverage open source, along with some very cool mobile features like the accelerometer and a larger developer community, will certainly put Android in the race for the most popular mobile OS.

      • Review: Motorola Milestone

        If you’ve somehow managed to get through the festive period without picking up a new phone and you have some change in your pocket to use to that end, there are many things to love about the Motorola Milestone, one of the strongest new contenders to the iPhone’s well-deserved crown.

        Engineered to incorporate the Google-backed Android operating system, there’s some impressive hardware behind efforts to fully realize Google’s vision for mobile computing and telephony, delivered through a clean and responsive 3.7-inch touchscreen and powered by a 550 Mhz processor which helps clear up the speed issues which troubled earlier Android handsets.

        [...]

        For the advantages over an iPhone, the list is a long one – a superior camera, for a start, as well as the ability to run apps in the background – so that you can, for example, write an email while listening to music (the phone incorporates a standard headphone jack, and filling it with your favourite mp3s is a breeze). But it lacks the polish that an Apple product delivers, and, at £450 for the hardware alone, is certainly on the pricey side – on top of that you’re going to need an unlimited data plan to even scratch the surface of the phone’s potential, as well as minutes and texts.

      • Adaptive Digital Technologies Joins Arm Solution Center for Android

        Adaptive Digital has been providing VoIP solutions to the industry for over fifteen years to eighty-five customers who deploy equipment worldwide. By participating in the ARM Solution Center for Android, and making available the anVoip voice engine for Android, Adaptive Digital has placed itself in a strategic position to provide its mature, field-hardened VoIP software to the exploding market of Android-based handsets, Mobile Internet Devices (MIDS) and Netbooks.

      • OS war – Android on its way

Free Software/Open Source

  • Six office alternatives

    OpenOffice.org (http://www.openoffice.org)

    This has to be the number one alternative to Microsoft Office. The open source productivity tool includes all of the features offered by MS Office but for free. Version 3.0 of OpenOffice.org (OOo) was released in late 2008 and since then a number of update releases have been issued to fine tune its features.

    OpenOffice.org includes full compatibility with documents created in Microsoft Office, the biggest stumbling block to switching to a new office suite. And the latest version of OOo has full compatibility with Microsoft’s newer .docx format files, those created by Office 2007.

  • More Than 10 Ways to Get FOSS Past the Boss

    “The way to convince the boss to accept FLOSS is to show it in action,” blogger Robert Pogson told LinuxInsider.

    “Butter him up a bit first — discuss budgets, software licensing costs, processes per server and the like,” Pogson went on. “Then knock him out.”

    With today’s tight budgets, inexpensive thin clients sell particularly well, Pogson noted: “The versatility, flexibility and speed of implementing a solution are amazing with GNU/Linux.”

  • ZapThink’s Take on 2010

    In 2010, we predict that:

    * Open Source SOA infrastructure will dominate – Lack of interest by venture capitalists and consolidation by the Big Five IT infrastructure providers will result in such lack of choice for SOA infrastructure solutions that end users will flock to open source alternatives. As a result, 2010 will be the year that open source SOA infrastructure finally gains enough adoption that it will be on the short list for most large SOA implementations. We’ll see (finally) a robust open source SOA registry/repository offering, SOA management solutions, SOA governance offerings, and SOA infrastructure solutions that rival commercial ones in terms of performance, reliability, and support.

  • Ruckus Wireless Releases “Zap” Wireless Performance Tool to Open Source

    Ruckus Wireless™ announced today that is has released its popular “Zap” wireless performance testing program to the Open Source Community to encourage further development of advanced testing tools that provide a better understanding of actual wireless network performance.

  • Syabas unveils Popcorn Hour’s successor, the open-source Popbox set-top box

    Ask audiovisual enthusiasts what the best set top box for their bucks is, and they’ll usually answer, visibly panting, “Popcorn Hour.” The Popcorn Hour C-200 can handle pretty much every video codec under the sun, prominently features a built-in Bittorrent client, and you can even plug in a Blu-Ray drive.

  • Outlook 2010 IT skills checklist: The vertical climb

    Acquire open source skills

    Open source software is gaining steam among enterprise companies that find the flexibility and low cost appealing and now can pick and choose among commercial support packages. Certified skills and experience in the realm of open source packages are already on recruiters’ radar, according to IT talent experts, who report that companies in 2010 will seek candidates with open source skills.

    “We are seeing a ton of demand for skills around open source technologies and frameworks. Demand for Python, Ruby on Rails and PHP development skills far exceeds the number of people available with skills,” says Michael Kirven, co-founder and principal of IT resourcing firm Bluewolf.

  • Search Engine Cold Wars and SEO

    I’m not sure where this is all headed, but it’s kind of like the Open Source movement. It relies on a large and vague group of mavens, and that group just keeps growing. I can assure you there are more people thinking about SEO than there are people at Google thinking about how to stop them. It’s like Open Source coders far outnumbering Microsoft coders.

  • RandomStorm “Damn Fine” Acquisition Adds Open Source Vulnerable Web Application to Scanning Portfolio

    DVWA is an open source PHP/MySQL web application that has been developed by the leading security blogger and ethical hacker, Ryan Dewhurst, to deliberately include a wide range of design errors and coding vulnerabilities; if found in a live environment these vulnerabilities could be exploited by real hackers, posing a serious security threat to the network. Security professionals and Web

  • IBM software sticks to the plan for 2010

    Mills: The hybrid companies like Red Hat have interesting models for open source. They take all the code and put it together for you, but we tend to look at open source as building blocks for larger solutions. IBM ingests a lot of open-source code and we provide a huge amount of development and engineering expertise to the various projects that we support–like Linux and the Apache server.

    We focus a lot of our energy on open standards and platforms. And if there are open source projects that we believe in we’ll invest resources to support them.

  • Specialist IT recruitment agency CV Screen celebrates 10 years of recruiting success

    Iveson also commented on the changes to the type of IT Jobs in demand over the decade “there has certainly been a shift towards open source technologies over the decade with PHP and Linux skills gaining market share. We have also seen continual high demand for IT Support professionals with Microsoft certifications and in 2009 Web 2.0 was one area which grew in a challenging economic climate with the number of Web Development and SEO Jobs rising significantly.”

  • Sun

    • Microsoft Is Looking for a Linux and Open Office Compete Lead

      However, this posting definitely means that Steve B himself is having some nightmares about both Linux and Open Office. Some of the job requirements posted on this listing are pretty clear about that fact.

    • Microsoft Considers OpenOffice.org As A Major Threat To Office Suite

      Open Office, a free and open source suite of office productivity programs, has apparently emerged as a potentially lethal threat to Microsoft’s flagship Office suite, which also faces serious competition from web-based Google Docs.

    • More Myths – this time from Education to the Workplace

      To support my large wife and small family I look after various customers’ computers and networks. Most are small businesses and use Microsoft-based operating systems. I have often thought about why it’s so hard to get anyone to even try using Free and Open Source Software. For instance, when I demonstrate OpenOffice and explain that it’s MEANT to be free – i.e. it’s not pirated – and that you are entitled to download and install the subsequent updates and upgrades for free as well, people often agree that it looks like a good deal, glaze over, then continue using whatever version of MS Office they’ve bottomed the bank overdraft to buy.

    • Databases

      • Monty’s ‘Save MySQL’ mudsling gets 15,000 backers

        A petition to stop Oracle taking over MySQL has garnered support from more than 15,000 people, after Michael ‘Monty’ Widenius launched his last gasp web campaign in December.

        The MySQL co-creator, who walked away from the database just seven months after Sun Microsystems bought it in September 2008 for $1bn, cobbled together a “Save MySQL” website just before Christmas.

      • Thousands sign petition against Oracle’s ownership of MySQL

        Appeal to European Commission to force software giant to divest itself of open source database as it acquires Sun Microsystems attracts 14,000 signatures

        A petition calling on the European Commission to block the software giant’s proposed acquisition of MySQL – as part of its bid to buy Sun Microsystems, which owns the company behind the open source database – has attracted 14,000 signatures.

  • Openness

    • Roll Your Own Open Source Joint
    • Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales and Open Sourcing in 2010

      Jimmy Wales has discovered the only thing more challenging – and satisfying — than launching Wikipedia nearly a decade ago is refining the free, open source encyclopedia even as it is in the grip of its devoted users and contributors.

    • UTA, UNT students save cash by renting textbooks

      Consumer advocates say textbook rental programs help by offering more choices. But it shouldn’t stop there.

      “We think that open-source textbooks are the ultimate solution,” said Nicole Allen, textbook advocate for the Student Public Interest Research Groups, a coalition of student consumer organizations.

      Allen cited a company called Flat World Knowledge, which publishes about a dozen business e-textbooks, with more titles in the works. Students can read the books online for free or buy a printed version (ranging from about $20 for a print-it-yourself copy to $60 for a soft-cover color copy).

    • Knowledge for rent: More stores offering college textbooks on loan

      Texas lawmakers are expected to join the debate, too. The House Committee on Higher Education has been ordered to study ways to lower the cost of instructional materials, including electronic textbooks, open source books and other online resources.

    • Top Ten of 2009

      It’s interesting to me that it’s hard to ignore these free offerings (they get lots of buzz), while open source “free” geospatial tools, despite considerable maturation, seem to get far less buzz and ink. Frankly, I think that has a lot to do with branding. OSM, Google, ESRI and the various LBS apps and games have been successful, in part, because of good branding. A reader recently forwarded a CloudMade e-mail he received after participating in a CloudMade sponsored OSM effort. Open source efforts (not only geospatial ones) tend to lag in that area.

    • Universities to consider national shared services

      “Our innovation activities will be focused on shorter term outputs in areas that have the potential to cut costs: shared services, green ICT, cloud computing, software-as-a-service, and management information requirements,” said Dr Malcolm Read, Jisc executive secretary.

      “Innovation to improve the effectiveness of learning and teaching will continue focused on student progression and retention, and approaches to improving research collaboration techniques will continue to be promoted.

      “Our longer term commitments to the open agenda will also be maintained, including open source, Open Access, open educational resources, and supporting open research and open innovation.”

    • For Media, 2010 is the Year of ‘Open’

      The burgeoning open media movement is really a constellation of interconnected yet distinct communities who are advancing open communication and defending our communication rights and values. These communities include those that have come together around open-source software, open data, open Internet, open web, open content, open education, open government and many more.

Leftovers

  • Pretzel Company’s Owners Allege Tax Lawyer Got Lost in Twists of IP Law

    Pretzel Company’s Owners Allege Tax Lawyer Got Lost in Twists of IP LawBernard Eizen’s Web site bills him as a “renaissance” lawyer, but the tax and estates attorney may have exceeded his erudition when he ventured into the realm of intellectual property.

    That’s the nub of a malpractice suit by former clients, the owners of a pretzel business who say the Philadelphia lawyer’s inexperience cost them lots of dough — $100 million’s worth.

  • The Far Left Virtual Police State or How I Didn’t Do My Homework And Now I Look Like An Idiot In Front Of 7 Billion People

    By the time I wrote Doctor Ficsor is wrong again I had come to the conclusion that Doctor Ficsor is only a bureaucrat at the WIPO. He may have had input into the ‘Internet Treaties’, but I fail to see how that would make him an ‘International Copyright’ expert. As as to his experiences in communist Hungary, I fail to see how those have any validity in this situation.

    Also in Doctor Ficsor’s first post he claims he was surprised to find Michael Geist’s blog. Well while I had never heard of Mihaly Ficsor, I had definitely heard of Michael Geist. Mihaly Ficsor’s claim that he was unaware of Michael Geist’s blog is less than credible.

  • Security

    • TSA: Enhanced screening for people flying to U.S. from certain nations

      The Transportation Security Administration announced Sunday that it will begin enhanced screening procedures Monday on any U.S.-bound air passenger traveling through “state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest” such as Pakistan, Yemen and Nigeria.

      The TSA said in a statement announcing the new measures that “effective aviation security must begin beyond our borders.”

    • Kean: Unsuccessful bomber ‘probably did us a favor’

      The man who led the federal government’s inquiry into the intelligence lapses leading up to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks said Sunday that the Obama administration is plagued by the same problems the Bush administration had more than eight years ago.

      Thomas Kean, the Republican who chaired the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, said Obama counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan had sounded “a bit defensive,” in an interview that had just aired on CNN’s State of the Union.

    • Body scanners: threat to children’s rights

      But in law, a parent cannot give consent to the making of an indecent image of their own or any other child. Union officials representing 6,000 of the 20,000 workers at Manchester said no one had even told them that the scanner was being trialled, let alone that using it could leave working people, as well as as the airport itself, potentially facing serious charges and criminal prosecution.

  • Environment

    • U.S. EPA Will List, Possibly Regulate, Chemicals of Concern

      For the first time, the U.S. EPA intends to establish a Chemicals of Concern list and is beginning a process that could lead to regulations requiring risk reduction measures to protect human health and the environment.

      The agency is taking action to control four groups of chemicals that EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says raise “serious health or environmental concerns.”

    • Princess Mary urged to help free Copenhagen protester

      Denmark’s Tasmanian-born Princess Mary is being urged to intervene in the case of an Australian protester who has been held in a Danish jail since the Copenhagen climate summit.

      Friends of the Earth spokeswoman Holly Creenaune says fellow campaigner Natasha Verco was arrested over the protests at the summit last month and has now been held in detention for more than three weeks.

  • Finance

    • Kucinich to Investigate Fannie/Freddie Bailout

      If the White House thought they could slip the bailout of Fannie and Freddie through by announcing it in a Christmas Eve news dump, think again. Dennis Kucinich just released this statement:

      “As Chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I’m announcing that the Subcommittee will launch an investigation into the Treasury Department’s recent decision to lift the current $400-billion cap on combined federal assistance to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, opening the way for additional, unlimited funds through the end of 2012. This investigation will include the role played by Fannie Mae chief executive Michael J. Williams and Freddie Mac chief executive Charles E. Haldeman in the decision, if any, and will seek to ensure that the additional assistance is used for homeowners and not Wall Street.”

      “As Chairman of the Domestic Policy Subcommittee of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, I’m announcing that the Subcommittee will launch an investigation into the Treasury Department’s recent decision to lift the current $400-billion cap on combined federal assistance to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, opening the way for additional, unlimited funds through the end of 2012. This investigation will include the role played by Fannie Mae chief executive Michael J. Williams and Freddie Mac chief executive Charles E. Haldeman in the decision, if any, and will seek to ensure that the additional assistance is used for homeowners and not Wall Street.”

      “Many questions remain unanswered regarding this move by the Treasury. Why suddenly remove the cap? Indications are that Freddie and Fannie, even as millions of Americans lose their homes, have used just $111 billion of the $400 billion previously available to them. Is lifting the cap on assistance a back-door TARP?”

      “Additionally, I want to determine whether Fannie and Freddie have a cohesive plan to buy up the under-performing mortgages that remain on the books of the big banks, at appropriate prices, and undertake a massive reworking of the terms of the mortgages so as to stem the foreclosure crisis that continues to plague our country. This new authority must be used responsibly and for the benefit of American families. This cannot be used simply to purchase toxic assets at inflated prices, thus transferring the losses to the U. S. taxpayers and acting as a back-door TARP.”

    • How Goldman Sachs Made Tens Of Billions Of Dollars From The Economic Collapse Of America In Four Easy Steps

      Investment banking giant Goldman Sachs has become perhaps the most prominent symbol for everything that is wrong with the U.S. financial system, but most Americans cannot even begin to explain what they do or how they have made tens of billions of dollars from the economic collapse of America. The truth is that what Goldman Sachs did was fairly simple, and there may not have even been anything “illegal” about it (although they are now being investigated by the SEC among others).

  • PR/AstroTurf

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • A look at Apple’s love for DRM and consumer lock-ins

      Apple makes great products—you’ll get no argument from us. But Apple also likes keeping tight control over those products, and if anyone outside of Apple’s blessed circle attempts to get in, the company is more than willing to try to use (or abuse) the law to its advantage.

    • Tough To Punish Those Who File Bogus DMCA Takedowns

      Eric Goldman highlights a case where an ISP tried to use section (f) to go after a bunch of folks who issued questionable DMCA takedowns that were clearly designed to harass a couple of websites (and, at one point, were used to try to take down the entire ISP). The details are a bit convoluted, but basically, a group of people critical of what was being said on a website issued a series of DMCA takedowns to keep the site down every time it came back up following a counternotice. This seems like a perfect case where the takedown issuers should be hit with sanctions of some sort, but the case was dismissed on procedural grounds instead, which seem to be based on a misunderstanding of the DMCA itself.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Bono: We Should Use China’s Censorship As An Example Of How To Stop Piracy

      Hmm. So, apparently all the money that people used to spend on music, they now spend on internet connections? If only there were some evidence to back that up. But, as we noted, the music business has been growing, just not the sales of CDs. Considering how much U2 made on its last tour, you would think that Bono would be aware of this. As for his claim that the internet is harming the up-and-coming songwriters, again, all this shows is how incredibly out of touch Bono is. In the past, the “young, fledgling songwriter” couldn’t live off ticket or t-shirt sales either. He had to hope that he got the lucky golden ticket from a record label and that they didn’t then crush his spirit and originality before discarding him as an unrecouped has-been.

    • U2′s Bono blames ISPs for piracy

      Ever since Paul McGuinness, manager of the rock band U2, began lashing out at Internet service providers (ISPs) for allegedly profiting from and encouraging illegal file sharing, U2 fans have wondered whether McGuinness spoke for the band.

    • RIAA

      The RIAA is a delusional cartel consisting of four major music labels. They were created in 1952 with the sole purpose of sucking all the music and happiness out of the world.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Claudio Menezes, a UNESCO official uniting international Free Software communities 02 (2004)


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

Links 4/1/2010: Kahel OS Reviewed, Nexus One is Coming

Posted in News Roundup at 10:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Karmic Tablets…

    So, for Christmas this year, I was delighted to finally receive a Trust TB 5300 graphics tablet. Even after I asked my parents for this, I wasn’t actually sure I’d be able to use the thing with GNU/Linux. I had visions of having to take a crash course in C and X programming in order to get the thing to work.

    I needn’t have worried – the nice thing about the GNU/Linux world is that its users tend to blog about getting unusual bits and bobs working on the operating system, and this was no exception.

    [...]

    Both Inkscape and The GIMP work fine; even pressure sensitivity functioning as expected. I didn’t even need to callibrate the tablet as it worked fine out of the box.

  • LemonPOS: Linux Point of Sale

    There are two ways to install this tool: Using Synaptic (or yum, or apt-get, or the Ubuntu Software Center) or installing from source. Although installing with a package manager is the easiest method, you will still need to download the source in order to get the database installed. So, let’s do this in two phase: Package manager and source.

    Open up your favorite package manager and do a search for lemonpos. You might notice that two packages come up: LemonPOS and Squeeze. Both of these need to be installed. Squeeze is the LemonPOS manager. Without Squeeze you will not be able to add items to the inventory to be sold. So mark both for installation and apply the changes.

  • The Geek Who Cried FUD

    Finally, early one morning as the geek was getting ready to log off and head to bed, he stumbled across a site where a local school council member had written about getting school children off of the “unstable, unsupported, unworkable and potentially illegal” GNU/Linux systems that had been deployed a year earlier in school computer labs. On further investigation the bleary-eyed geek found that neither students nor teachers had complained about the computers. This was just pure anti-open source FUD.

  • Linux users more experienced with windows.

    From what I understand, the most, if not the major, gripe windows users have with the Linux operating system is that it doesn’t run windows programs. That sort of reasoning is about as powerful as a storm in a teacup. Linux is not a copy of windows and has it’s own comprehensive suite of programs to accomplish all computing tasks.

    This means that when it comes down to a Linux verses windows debate Linux people have the advantage in knowledge and experience. I have never heard of any Linux user with a couple or more years of Linux experience moving over to the windows operating system. I have never heard of a windows user with as much experience in Linux as a Linux user has in windows.

  • Linux is the perfect choice for many people

    As you can see, these are just two examples of how people who wouldn’t normally think that they would have a good use for that “other” operating system, there really are some great “out-of-the-box” uses for Linux besides the everyday use some may find intimidating.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/Window Managers

    • TWM Updated For 2010: X Render Support, Etc

      We are just a few days into 2010, but the standard (basic) window manager for X.Org, TWM, has finally received some updates. TWM has been around for 13 years and under the hands of many developers, but is now receiving some new development love from Eeri Kask. Eeri has been hacking away at TWM for a few years now and has made many improvements already, but this is the first time since September of 2008 that he is announcing some of his new work.

    • ++2009;

      The KOffice team started making releases of the KOffice 2 series which is the first to use the KDE Development Platform 4.x. They began working with Nokia on file format and applications like Krita (natural media painting) and Kexi (database) continue to be the amazing apps they have been while others like Karbon have reached new heights. KOffice still has a ways to go and hopefully they continue to grow the community around it, but 2009 was a milestone year for the project which has been around since the pre-2.x days.

      Another one in the “around forever and now releasing betas for the KDE Dev Platform 4″ category is KDevelop. It will have its stable releases starting in 2010, but it was a huge milestone to get into betas during 2009 and it is shaping up to be a very impressive (and already very usable) IDE with some extremely nifty features, especially in the code completion and discovery areas.

      Digikam for KDE Devel Patform 4.x was also released in 2009 and it was met with glowing reviews. With the KDE Imaging Plugin Interface (KIPI) framework, which has moved closer to the “core” by moving into KDE Graphics to the benefit of applications like Gwenview, Digikam is starting to get the respect it deserves and is rapidly shaping up to be the Amarok for digital photography.

  • Distributions

    • Kahel OS (version 12-25-09) (Gnome)

      I liked Kahel, its derived from a solid distro with a large following (Arch). Kahel is not one of the many generic Ubuntu clones that seem to be flavor of the month at the moment and it makes effort with “the little things” in order to try to give you a unique experience. Kahel has a nice selection of original backdrops and the Kahel logo is wacky, but more importantly memorable.

    • Benchmarks Of The Gentoo-based Sabayon

      The Gentoo-based Sabayon Linux distribution had advantages over Kubuntu particularly when it came to the graphics performance (OpenArena and World of Padman), PostgreSQL, and PostMark while Kubuntu had its advantages in 7-Zip, Apache, LAME MP3, and John The Ripper. In the other tests, the results were very close between Sabayon and Kubuntu with no clear winner.

    • Re: is Foresight Linux dead?

      Then came 2009 and with it the major financial crisis the shook many companies around the world, creating a massive layoff wave for most of the first quarter. Sadly, approximately 75% of the active developers that comprised Foresight’s core developer base were part of the many casualties, including Ken Vandine, the heart and soul of the distribution! By late February these developers had already joined the ranks of companies such as Red Hat and Novell to do package and kernel management. Ken himself was quickly nabbed by Canonical to join their Desktop Experience Team, concluding then the completely dismemberment of the seasoned Foresight team!

    • Arch vs. Slackware, a friendly comparison

      As you might know, there are about a hundred thousand million billion Linux distributions. (For those who don’t know, the “Linux” core is an operating system kernel, and people take it and build collections of software around it called “distributions“, and people install these distributions, and then, in casual conversation, call the distribution “Linux“. All this adds up to confusion for people who don’t already know it all.)

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat to Partners: Prepare for Hosted Desktop Virtualization

        But Red Hat is in growth mode. Red Hat Enterprise Linux and JBoss middleware both generated double-digit growth in 2009 while rival software companies struggled to maintain current revenue levels. It sounds like RHEV is arriving in the right place at the right time…

    • Debian Family

      • When I’m in a squeeze, it’s Debian Squeeze!
      • Ultimate Edition Linux 2.5

        Ultimate Edition 2.5 is based on Ubuntu 9.10 and it weighs in at a chunky 3.1GB. Clearly this is a distro you won’t be able to fit onto a CD. But that’s fine as long as you have a DVD and DVD burner available. This larger size is due to the fact that it comes with a lot of software (more on that in the software section).

      • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 174

        Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue #174 for the week December 27th – January 2nd, 2010. In this issue we cover: Edubuntu Council Elections Results, Call for votes: Ubuntu Developer Membership Board election, New IRC Council Appointments, Ubuntu User Days Announcement, Ubuntu will be at Anime Boston 2010, 2010 Launchpad Release Calendar, Trying Out Launchpad Translations, The Planet: Amber, Daniel, Matthew, Steven, and Daniel, Full Circle Magazine #32, December Team Reports, and much, much more!

      • How Ubuntu (Linux) Changed My Life

        Ubuntu changed my life! I’m smarter, cooler, and more ethical.

        Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn’t.

        I began using Linux about 2 years ago. Before that, I was a long time Windows user. (And before that, an Apple user.) Until my Linux days, I was a pretty typical PC user. I would word-process documents, play a few games, and later, check email and surf the net. I really didn’t care about how things worked; I just wanted them to work. And hence, my Windows days were nothing pioneering or interesting.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Verizon Droid vs. Google Nexus One: An Ongoing Comparison

        What are the key differences between the two phones? The Nexus One (which lackgoogle android nexus ones a physical keyboard) is apparently thinner and lighter. It’s supposedly got an OLED screen which is said to be gorgeous. It runs on T-Mobile’s network rather than Verizon’s (it’ll reportedly only work on AT&T in sluggish EDGE mode). And it’s allegedly got a very fast CPU (1-GHz?) and twice the RAM of the Droid. Plus a newer version of Android that’s been further tweaked by Google.

      • Google to launch Nexus One in first foray into smartphones

        For months the technology world has been gossiping about Google’s most closely guarded secret — the arrival of its first very own mobile phone.

        Despite the growing anticipation of a smartphone rumoured to be capable of challenging the iPhone’s market dominance, no previews have been given and leaks about it have been few and far between.

      • Quake Ported to the Palm Pre

        The Pre is a bit short on milestones these days, so I suppose it’s worth noting that a crafty developer has successfully managed to port ID’s classic Quake to Palms flagship phone. The frame rate looks a bit low, and it crashes at the end of the demo, but the developer assures us they have cleared all these issues up since the last video was shot.

Free Software/Open Source

  • CA3DE renamed to CAFU becomes opensource

    All source code has been put under the GNU General Public License version 3 (GPLv3). The GPLv3 guarantees that from now on, Cafu is and will always be free software in the spirit of the Free Software Foundation.

  • Free and Open Source Software Feature on VTV (Vietnam)

    I mentioned over a month ago that VTV visited my Linux Lab. A couple weeks ago they aired the 10 minute segment on VTV. I know several of the guys featured on the program including An Nguyen of SaigonLUG and Professor Son from the University of Education. The open source community is starting to grow in Saigon but it still has 5-10 years to mature. It is definitely more active then 5 years ago which is very positive.

  • How Should I Vote in these Awards for Open Source?

    I don’t like awards. They seem pretty pointless both to give and to get. For that reason, I try not to take part as a judge, either. But despite my best efforts, I seem to have been “volunteered” for the “2010 Linux New Media Awards”, something to do with CeBIT Open Source, without being given much choice in the matter. So, I’ve decided to make the best of a bad job by asking Linux Journal readers to help me decide who I should vote for.

    Irrespective of the fact that this is a purely selfish, pragmatic way of dealing with the problem, it also has the merit of making my choices rather more meaningful. After all, there’s no reason why I should know who or what is the “best” for each category, but it’s quite likely that the collective wisdom of the (virtually) assembled Linux Journal readers should have a pretty good idea. Indeed, in my view the organisers of this competition would probably have done rather better asking Linux Journal readers directly, but hey, what do I know?

  • First FOSDEM 2010 Speaker Interviews

    Interviews with four of the speakers at FOSDEM 2010 are now available. FOSDEM will be held February 6-7 in Brussels, Belgium. This round of interviews includes David Fifield (Nmap), Greg Kroah-Hartman (Linux kernel), Richard Clayton (Evil on the internet), and Wim Remes (OSSEC).

  • Spain pays 12m Euros to Telefonica to maintain open source web site

    Who said there isn’t money to be made in open source? The Spanish government has awarded a 12m Euro contract to Telefonica to maintain the Presidential web site, a site that is built on OpenCMS, an open source content management system.

  • CTMS upgrade to aid cancer efforts

    Version 2.0 of the caBIG open-source Clinical Trials Suite bundles patient, adverse-event, and lab data, as well as clinical functionality. CaBIG is the Cancer Biomedical Informatics Grid, an information network of the National Cancer Institute’s Center for Biomedical Informatics and Information Technology.

  • Openness

    • Public Domain Day: January 1, 2010

      Public Domain Day. January 1st every year. If you live in Europe, January 1st 2010 would be the day when the works of Freud and Yeats and hundreds of other authors ranging from Havelock Ellis to Zane Grey emerge into the public domain — where they are freely available for anyone to use, republish, translate or transform. You could copy the songs and photos, share the movies, make a digital library of the books. Your school could create an interactive volume of Yeats’s poems, or publish that cheap educational edition of Freud’s Civilization and its Discontents. You could translate Ellis into French, even make a new film based on Grey’s classic Westerns. Or you could just send a copy to a friend — without asking permission or violating the law.

Leftovers

  • Irish atheists challenge new blasphemy laws

    Secular campaigners in the Irish Republic defied a strict new blasphemy law which came into force today by publishing a series of anti-religious quotations online and promising to fight the legislation in court.

  • Security

    • Pentagon cyber-war plans stalled by US Congress

      PLANS BY THE PENTAGON to gain dominance in cyberspace have been stalled by the US Congress which is a little worried about giving the generals too much power.

      According to the Washington Post, the Pentagon wanted a command to defend its global network of computer systems. Dubbed cyber command the cunning plan was to consolidate existing offensive and defensive capabilities under one roof.

    • Home Office gets DNA database funding priorities wrong

      There’s a wide consensus that adding DNA profiles of crime scenes has a direct impact on detecting crimes. However views differ widely as to what is achieved by retaining the DNA profiles of millions individuals, including that of many innocents, when there’s a lack of evidence demonstrating this helps detect crimes. Hence, it is surprising to learn that while the Home Office is keen to waste money on retention of DNA profiles of millions of individuals, it is to stop funding and put at risk Operation Stealth, a national operation to review unsolved murders. Detectives have had great successes when loading the DNA profiles of such cold cases. Continued funding of Operation Stealth should remain a priority.

    • Why Extending the DNA Database is Dangerous

      The more DNA profiles that are stored on a database, the more likely there will be a match found due to such false positives. And such is the belief in the infallibility of DNA testing – thanks to the impressive-sound “one in 800 billion chance that the DNA belonged to someone other than the accused man” – that it is likely to lead to more *innocent* people being convicted. The best solution is to keep the DNA database small, tight and useful.

    • Home Office still wants your DNA profile, and your PNC record

      After facing opposition from all quarters to its initial plan to establish new rules to regulate the sampling and retention of DNA via secondary legislation, the Home Office belatedly introduced clauses about DNA in the Crime and Security Bill 2009-10. Opposition to a blank check for the Secretary of State was so predictable that introducing these clauses, among many other unrelated ones, close to a year after the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) ruling against the UK appear the result of deliberate delaying tactics. There’s no date set yet for when the bill will progress to the second reading stage.

    • In the next decade, I hope for a spirit of ‘sharism’

      Feng Zhenghu, a Chinese scholar and human rights activist, has been stuck at Narita Airport in Tokyo since 4 November, unable to shower and dependent on airport staff and travellers for food. Amazingly, he seems to be becoming more optimistic about his situation. With a Twitter account and a mobile phone, he has set up a global network to support his campaign to return to China after having been denied entry eight times by the authorities. “I’m the most wretched lucky man in the world,” he tweeted.

    • Former homeland security chief argues for whole-body imaging

      The administration must stand firm against privacy ideologues, for whom every security measure is unacceptable. [note: quoted for the daemonisation term, "privacy ideologues"]

    • Muslims in Europe: A Report on 11 EU Cities

      The Open Society Institute Muslims in Europe report series constitutes the comparative analysis of data from 11 cities in seven European countries. [note: beyond "clash of civilisations"]

    • America imposes rules on Canadian Flights

      I found this topic interesting as I’ve studied the phenomenal Canadian Privacy Act. A great set of laws that protects Canadians from intrusive collection of unnecessary personal information. It is satisfying to learn that the Canadian Government takes personal privacy seriously. In the summer an example of this was the Governments plans to sue Facebook over many breaches of the Privacy Act. This article from CBC News is right up my alley.

    • Invasion of the full body scanners

      Now, in the wake of the so-called ‘pants bomber’, Gordon Brown has announced plans to install these body scanners at all UK airports.

    • Body scanner wouldn’t have foiled syringe bomber, says MP who worked on new machines

      Gordon Brown’s plans to foil terrorist attacks by installing body scanners at UK airports are doomed to failure, according to an MP who helped to design the machines.

    • Foreign travelers to undergo ‘enhanced screening’ at US airports

      US authorities Sunday tightened security measures for all US-bound airline passengers, including enhanced mandatory screening of travelers from countries deemed to sponsor terrorism.

    • ‘Swabs better than body scanners’ say US security officials

      Swabbing airline passengers and their hand luggage for chemicals is cheaper, easier and more effective than the hotly-debated use of X-ray style body scanners, according to two top former US government security officials.

    • You Are In Control

      There’s a great article in TIME magazine by Amanda Ripley (I wrote a review of her great book, “The Unthinkable” in the City Journal) on one of the most under covered security lessons of 9/11: that an aware citizenry can defend itself. It ends with this telling para which depicts the government reasserting its authority to prop up its legitimacy:

      After the passengers [heroes] of Flight 253 deplaned in Detroit, they were held in the baggage area for more than five hours until FBI agents interviewed them. They were not allowed to call their loved ones. They were given no food. When one of the pilots tried to use the bathroom before a bomb-sniffing dog had finished checking all the carry-on bags, an officer ordered him to sit down, according to passenger Alain Ghonda, who thought it odd. “He was the pilot. If he wanted to do anything, he could’ve crashed the plane.” It was a metaphor for the rest of the country: Thank you for saving the day. Now go sit down.

      The same spirit of being in control, regardless of government inaction/incompetence, should be true for other aspects of our lives under a similar assault by a global system run amok.

    • Lieberman: No facility more humane than Gitmo

      Though his claims are not supported by numerous reports from Cuba, they were not challenged on ABC. In March an ex-detainee reportedly said the prison was in fact worse since Obama was elected, saying guards wanted to “take their last revenge.”

    • What’s Next: Muslim-Only Lines At Airports?

      Are Muslim-only lines at airports next? The thought is offensive, disgusting, and blatantly unconstitutional. But it’s hardly far-fetched.

    • Obama adviser: ‘No smoking gun’ to have thwarted terror plot

      President Barack Obama’s lead counterterrorism adviser said Sunday that the “clearly the system didn’t work” to stop Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from boarding a plane, but contended that there was “no smoking gun piece of intelligence out there that said this guy was a terrorist” even though the suspect’s father told American authorities of his son’s radicalization.

  • Environment

    • Battle will be stepped up this year to save the tiger

      Over the past century, the world’s population of tigers has been reduced by 95% as a result of hunting and poaching for their body parts, which are used in traditional Asian medicine. There are only around 3,200 tigers left on the planet.

  • Finance

    • Dubai: a modern parable

      With its debt, excess and exploitation, the glitzy emirate is not alone in a world living on credit. But, writes Jonathan Freedland, its riches could have been spent so much better.

    • Limiting banker compensation isn’t real reform

      “What’s a Bailed-Out Banker Really Worth?” writes Steven Brill in his exploration of the ins and outs of setting executive salaries and benefits under the government’s bailout of the too-big-to-fail banks and companies link here.

      Started in response to the public anger over the financial mess, it is not likely to satisfy most people, based on this account. We are more likely to find our anger reignited, first by the level of compensation established and second by the behavior of the banks and their senior management, most of whom orally agreed to return their 2009 bonuses but then all but two failed to do so.

    • Wall Street ready to claim billions in tax breaks on bonus payments.

      Compensation related tax deductions will total about $80 billion across Wall Street, according to New York City tax analyst Robert Willens. In 2008, Goldman Sachs paid an effective tax rate of just 1 percent thanks to a variety of deductions and keeping profits offshore.

    • Goldman could move units out of London-report

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) has begun a review of its London operations that could result in entire departments going overseas to avoid paying increasing British taxes, the Daily Telegraph reported in its Monday edition.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Internet Service In China’s Xinjiang Will Soon Recover

      Currently, access to any websites outside of the province of Xinjiang are banned for users within the province. This means that not only can users not visit websites overseas, but they also can not visit almost all the normal websites within China.

    • Internet will return to Xinjiang

      INTERNET SERVICES are gradually being restored in western China after the government hit the off switch during civil unrest earlier this year.

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • E-book Industry Gets E-diotic

      [I]nstead we are going to get all the inane reasoning that we heard from the music publishers, all the stupid attempts to “lock down” texts, and the same flourishing of publishers despite all that.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • US Weighs Copyright As Barrier To Grey Market Imports

      New Tactic: Copyright

      Because trademark law often cannot stop the import of grey market goods, a growing number of brand owners are trying a new tactic. They are using copyright law to protect their markets in the US. (This tactic doesn’t work well in Europe because the EU lacks a single, harmonised approach to copyright law, according to Klett.)

    • Faking the arguments for ACTA

      Admitted, I trust him. Dr. Paul Rübig is a great MEP from Austria, where he represents the Austrian Christian Democratic party (ÖVP) in the Industry committee. I know him as a fierce and passionate supporter of small and medium sized companies and European entrepreneurs.

      Admitted, counterfeiting of goods is a problem for the European Union. Though references to the scape goat nations shift: when the first enforcement directive was in Parliament “Eastern European” counterfeiters took the blame. Now the Eastern European problem seems to have vanished and other “hordes” are said to threaten us. I am cautious to describe his remarks as “racists”. Europe faces immigration pressure from Africa, labour protection of immigrants is a problem and European manufacturers perceive counterfeiting as a challenge. I also prefer straight talk over superficial political correctness. How on earth does all this relate to ACTA? Listen to Dr. Rübig:

      We have to consider what the superficiality does to our political culture. Cheap enemy advocacy schemes used by the Commission and lobby stakeholders fire back on conservative values, and lead to the kind of brainstorming we witness in the video. What do we expect when a person from the DG Trade makes his arrogant jokes on China?

    • New internet piracy law comes into effect in France

      The first effects of France’s new law against internet piracy will begin to be felt as the new year begins.

      The law was passed after a long struggle in parliament, and in the teeth of bitter opposition from groups opposed to internet restrictions.

    • Bono net policing idea draws fire

      Bono, frontman of rock band U2, has warned the film industry not to make the same mistakes with file-sharing that have dogged the music industry.

      Writing for the New York Times, Bono claimed internet service providers were “reverse Robin Hoods” benefiting from the music industry’s lost profits.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Claudio Menezes, a UNESCO official uniting international Free Software communities 01 (2004)


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

Video: What’s So Great About GNU/Linux?

Posted in GNU/Linux, Videos at 6:39 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: FrugalTech explains what it likes about GNU/Linux


Direct link

Also see: Jeremy Allison on “Why Free Software” (as Ogg)

Judge Randall Rader Redefines “Patent Troll”

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, IBM, Law, Microsoft at 6:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IMTFE judges

Summary: Rader defends patent trolls by extending their scope of definition to Microsoft and IBM

A few days ago we discussed the term "patent troll", which the trolls are hoping to redefine and thus escape. A leading story in the intellectual monopoly meta-industry would be these words[PDF] from Rader. According to one article:

He also said that the pejorative but popular term, “patent troll,” which is often used to describe entities who own patents solely for the purpose of asserting them, is “terminology of the Skeptisaur.” “Almost every IP owner has patents it doesn’t practice,” said Rader. “That term would also cast away universities and research institutions, who are some of our most important contributors.”

Instead, Rader defined a troll as “anyone – from IBM and Microsoft down to the smallest patent owner – who asserts a patent far beyond its value.”

The answer to this problem, said Rader, is to find a way of properly valuing IP early in the litigation process, so that the value of a particular patent cannot be too grossly inflated. “Maybe we can short circuit the troll problem by assigning proper value to patents,” said the Judge.

The above was found by the president of FFII, who also shares the following post on “how to get Software Patents in the UK patent office.”

This law firm takes pride in finding loopholes to create harmful monopolies:

It is clear that patents offer greater protection over copyright and those computer programs which possess technical character should be protected as such rather than relying merely on copyright protection.

Copyright is sufficient, say programmers. Software patents are not formally legal in the UK, bar the Symbian case.

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