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Microsoft-Funded and Microsoft-Derived Blog Tracker/AstroTurf Agency Receives $22 Million to Expand

Posted in Finance, Marketing, Microsoft at 11:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: More capital for former Microsoft employees (with Microsoft investments), who are eavesdropping on individual people for “Microsoft, political groups, billionaires and advertising agencies to monitor and manage the online reputation of products, brands and individuals,” according to the Seattle Times

LAST YEAR we provided extensive background about Visible Technologies. Its name should be inverted to say “Invisible Technologies” because this low-profile company is the Microsoft-funded (and made out of former Microsoft employees) equivalent of Radian6, which we last mentioned here. Microsoft is among the clients of Visible Technologies (well, obviously) and this firm is hounding particular people or posts. It offers services to Microsoft, such as gagging of critics and tracking them. It’s akin to AstroTurfing, but of course they would use PR and spin to ‘perfume’ what they are doing.

Here is the press release and coverage that followed:

For those who are not aware of the very unethical behaviour of this controversial company, here are some prior posts [1, 2]. Many people have publicly complained about Visible Technologies.

Isn’t it funny that no news report about this latest development (an investment) talks about the dark side of this company and the negative impact of its planned expansion? As Brier Dudley puts it, “Visible’s service is used by large companies such as Microsoft, political groups, billionaires and advertising agencies to monitor and manage the online reputation of products, brands and individuals. It was started in 2003 in a Kirkland apartment.”

Yes, with roots at Microsoft it is ‘policing’ reputations now. As we showed before, they use automated responses to overwhelm critics of their clients. That includes Microsoft and we have seen how it works.

Links 13/1/2010: Linux 2.6.33 RC4, Zenwalk 6.2 Reviewed

Posted in News Roundup at 9:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Tegra 2 supports Ubuntu Linux

    According to this faq-like post on the official Nvidia Tegra developer site, Ubuntu Linux is supported as an operating system for Tegra 2 based devices.

  • Android tablet sports Pixel Qi dual-mode display

    At CES, Nvidia demonstrated tablet-PC prototypes incorporating its Tegra 250 processor, including a Linux-based model from Foxconn, and Android-based models from ICD and Notion Ink, the latter using Pixel Qi display technology. Meanwhile, an Android version of HP’s Windows-based “Slate” computer is on the way, say several reports.

  • Opsera and The Linux Box Partner to Expand U.S. Market for Opsview Open Source System Management Suite

    The Linux Box is partnering with Opsera Limited to become an official Opsview reseller in the United States, with the goal of expanding the national presence of this award-winning network and infrastructure monitoring software suite.

    Opsview provides comprehensive system management capabilities used to monitor the health of today’s most complex data centers. It enables IT managers to identify and fix issues with their systems before they impact system availability. Opsview enhances the widely used Nagios® monitoring framework by adding many additional configuration, graphing and management capabilities, while remaining 100 percent compatible. Opsview earned the Product Excellence award for Best System Management Tool at LinuxWorld Expo in 2008.

  • Linux Will Save The World

    You know what stories perform the worst on Linux Today? Anything that pertains to freedom- software freedom, the GNU Foundation, the Software Freedom Law Center, civil rights, and law. Technology is front and center on the big issues of the day. If we didn’t have FOSS we would be in an even worse mess as a society, because then technology would all be centralized and controlled by a very few people who have proven their hostility to civil liberties, privacy, and basic decency.

    I don’t believe it is exaggerating to say that Linux/FOSS is all that stands between technology tyranny, corporate tyranny, and the hope of something better.

  • My favourite Linux podcast.

    I’ve sampled a variety of podcasts about Linux, including FLOSS Weekly and TuxRadar, but the Outlaws are by far and away my favourite. At first blush an excitable German University student and baritone Liverpudlian might seem like an odd choice to host such a thing, but you’ll quickly realize that both share an equal passion for all things open. They also put on a great show.

    Here’s a quick tour of the Outlaw universe to get you up to speed:

    One of my favourite recent episodes of the podcast featured an extended interview with Bradley Kuhn & Aaron Williamson from the Software Freedom Law Center. Did you know that a whole whack of television and set-top box manufacturers are using GPL code without giving back to the community? The lesson to be learned here is that open-source has deeper pockets than you might think.

  • Linux.conf.au kicks off next week aiming for open source roadmap goal

    Annual conference expected to attract 600-strong crowd with diverse mix of international, Australian and NZ delegates

  • Desktop

    • Digital Tipping Point – A Q&A with Christian Einfeldt

      Have you any other projects at the moment?

      There is an effort that some of us have started for the purpose of bringing GNU-Linux to low income benefits groups. We have made contact with one of the largest charities in San Francisco. This is an organization that feeds thousands of people every month. They also have a jobs program. In connection with that jobs program, they have a computer lab. We are in the process of rolling out GNU-Linux in that context because we feel that Linux computers could do so much for people who are trying to lift themselves up off of the street.

    • You don’t need to ‘know’ Linux to use Linux

      Lately, I’ve been noticing stories about how to use Linux you need to know half-a-hundred Linux shell commands and the like. Ah, what century are you from? Today, if you can see a window and handle a mouse you’re ready to use Linux.

      And, no, I’m not talking about how we’re all already using Linux in devices like the TiVo or the Droid smartphone and through Linux-powered Web sites like Google. I’m talking about using Linux on the desktop.

      There is nothing, I repeat nothing, that requires any special knowledge to use Linux on the desktop today. If you’ve already mastered Windows XP, you’ll have little more trouble moving to a Linux desktop like Red Hat’s Fedora 12; Novell’s openSUSE 11.2; or Canonical’s Ubuntu 9.10 than you would in switching over to Windows 7.

  • Kernel Space

    • Subject Linux 2.6.33-rc4

      Hmm. Odd release. Something like 40% of the patches are in DRM (mostly nouveau and radeon, both staging, so it’s a bit less scary than it sounds. But there’s a noticeable i915 component too). That’s all pretty unusual, afaik.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Pulled: DRI 2.2 Protocol Requests, Swap Events

        The other part of this work is the new protocol requests for DRI2 2.2 and they include DRI2SwapBuffers, DRI2GetMSC, DRI2WaitMSC, DRI2WaitSBC and DRI2SwapInterval. These requests are used for supporting the SGI_video_sync, SGI_swap_interval, and OML_sync_control GLX extensions. It was back in October that we originally talked about these DRI2 sync and swap extensions.

      • Gallium3D

        • Gallium3D Feature Levels Plotted, Discussed

          The last time we talked about Gallium3D work being done by Zack Rusin was just before the holidays when he was hacking on new geometry shader support. Zack’s latest work on Gallium3D though is for defining “feature levels” that provides a table for what features can be supported by a given driver / graphics processor.

        • New EGL Gallium3D State Tracker Pushed

          The latest work by Chia-I Wu is a new EGL driver / state tracker (named “egl_g3d”) that has just been pushed into Mesa. For those unfamiliar with EGL, as described by the Khronos Group, “EGL is an interface between Khronos rendering APIs such as OpenGL ES or OpenVG and the underlying native platform window system.”

  • Applications

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

    • More KDE 4

      Here’s my current desktop, which mostly shows off the “Naked” plasma theme and my desktop widgets…

  • Distributions

    • Mandriva opts for the green solution with packaging for the Mandriva Linux 2010

      Mandriva, Europe’s leading Linux publisher, offers clients recyclable, environmentally-friendly packaging for its latest distribution: Mandriva linux 2010.

      At a time when bringing in sustainable development policies is imperative for business, Mandriva has gone for entirely recyclable packaging for its latest distribution to meet customer wishes.

    • Review: Zenwalk 6.2

      Conclusions: This is hands-down one of the most user-friendly distributions I’ve tried. This long-term test drive had a few relatively minor bugs, and they were far outweighed by Zenwalk’s overall friendliness and ease of use. The distro is bright and well-designed, and is backed by strong documentation and a newby-friendly community. In my installation it had a very high “just worked” factor, although obviously individual results may vary for other users and machines. If XFCE isn’t your cup of tea, Zenwalk is also available in a GNOME version.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat repurchases $33.4M of shares

        The Raleigh-based Linux provider’s stock purchases were made as part of a previously announced repurchasing plan that was last amended in November 2008. The program authorizes the repurchase of up to $250 million worth of common stock. The program expires Oct. 31, 2010, unless the company’s board and executives discontinue the program sooner.

    • Debian Family

      • The Plight of Ubuntu Users in Developing Countries

        Shockingly, Ubuntu dropped wvdial and gnome-ppp — the command-line and GUI ppp connectors, respectively — from the distro years ago. In order to connect to the Internet, most African users must therefore connect to the Internet (see the problem?), download the appropriate packages, and configure their dial-up or 3G connection. Just about anyone who has used Ubuntu knows that it’s not particularly capable out of the box without Internet access.

      • Give Boxee Beta an Ubuntu Ride

        Boxee Beta is now open to all. Even its alpha release was rock solid, so one could think of the kind of expectation everyone has for Boxee Beta. From the first look, I have to say, Boxee beta has pretty much lived up to the hype.

      • Boxee opens beta to all

        Below are several screenshots of the Boxee Beta’s movies, videos, queue, and apps selection screens…

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 5 Special Devices from CES 2010 that Run on Linux

      Lots of fascinating new devices were showcased during past week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. In addition to marketing new products events like the CES serve as an opportunity to demonstrate what technology can do. Naturally, some of those feats may not prove particularly useful, but they are fun to watch anyway.

    • ARM9 industrial SoC gains video chops

      Atmel announced a version of its ARM926EJ-based “SAM9″ line of industrial-focused system-on-chips, this time integrating a video decoder and graphics acceleration. The SAM9M10 ships with a Linux evaluation board and BSP, and supports video at up to 720 x 576 pixels and 30 frames per second, says the company.

    • Android-ready PMP sports AMOLED display

      One of these Windows-oriented devices — the Viliv P3 PMP (portable media player) — also runs Android, and offers an 800MHz ARM Cortex-A8 processor, WiFi, and a 3.7-inch AMOLED display.

    • Phones

      • Google releases Nexus One SDK

        The Android 2.1 SDK includes APIs for creating animated wallpapers, as well as some additional telephony functions and a couple of improvements to interaction with the WebKit browser, all of which are used by Google’s own Nexus One applications and are now available to other developers too.

      • Android tablet and kitchen computer debut

        At CES, Innovative Converged Devices (ICD) demonstrated two Android-based touchscreen computers based on Nvidia’s Tegra 250 processor — a 15.6-inch Vega kitchen computer and a seven-inch Ultra tablet. Also at CES, ICD and T-Mobile UK announced that the latter will launch the Vega later this year in the U.K.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • OLPC Doesn’t Need a Global Business Case Challenge

        One Laptop per Child Association will be gathering 300 MBA, graduate and undergraduate business students to develop innovative business cases for XO laptop deployment under the auspices of the Global Case Challenge. But I wonder why.

Free Software/Open Source

  • FOSS is rejected by CAN InfoTech Nepal

    Every year, for the last couple of years, FOSS community Nepal has been getting a small stall to showcase whatever they have to the unusually large mass that come to witness the event. Not that FOSS is going anywhere in Nepal, but still that opportunity to try and create awareness existed. From this year onwards FOSS community is not going to be able to do that too as they have been told that due to lack of space they will not be able to put up a stall.

  • Attractive Open Source Search Interfaces?
  • Flightcaster Open-sources Crane

    A big concern with the modern JVM languages like Scala and Clojure is the ability to scale out from the single JVM address space into distributed environments. Different approaches include a distributed JVM (terracotta), distributed actors (akka), message queues (AMQP/rabbitmq), or solutions for specific computational models, like hadoop.

  • Make your own lifestream with open source Storytlr

    The arrival of a new year is often viewed as an opportunity for self improvement. According the US government, some of the population’s top new year’s resolutions for 2010 include plans to lose weight, improve finances, and reduce stress. I imagine that our audience of super-geeks have a few goals that aren’t on the list. This year, I decided to finally fix up my personal Web site. An open source lifestream framework called Storytlr made my goal easy to accomplish.

  • Mozilla

    • Review: Firefox 3.6 RC gives new life to an old browser

      The Web browsing world is exciting again. Google’s Chrome browser is faster than fast and there’s serious thought that Internet Explorer may actually lose its top spot in the browser market-share wars. But for all the excitement, it would be a real mistake to overlook Firefox; with the forthcoming release of Firefox 3.6, which is now available as a release candidate, Mozilla’s flagship browser is looking better than ever.

    • The Future of Add-ons

      The Firefox Add-on platform is the most vibrant source of browser innovation in the world, with over 1.5 billion downloads and tens of thousands of add-ons. There’s been a lot of speculation over the past couple of days around the future of Firefox Add-ons, and how Jetpack fits into that future. There’s currently a lot of misinformation swirling about this topic and it’s making people very unhappy. We’re going to attempt to clear things up below…

  • Databases

    • Save MySQL would not spare open source M&A

      A recent pitch from the folks opposing Oracle’s ownership of MySQL via acquisition of Sun Microsystems got me thinking. The plea, ‘Oracle can have Sun, but not MySQL’ may make sense to some, but to me it speaks to the irony of closing out Oracle or any company or anyone from open source. Upon further reflection and given 2010 is off to a roaring pace of M&A, I also began to wonder what the impact of the ‘Save MySQL’ campaign could be on open source in M&A, particularly if it was to successfully derail the acquisition or somehow decouple MySQL from Sun under Oracle?

    • Do Databases Lie at the Heart of Open Source?

      Now, obviously I’m delighted to see Jordan aspire to become the open source “hub” for the Middle East, as the press release puts it: we sorely need a focal point for free software there.

  • Government

    • Will Open Government Directive drive Drupal usage?

      Acquia will also offer a seminar series for U.S. federal, state, and local governments to discuss adoptions and best practices for government use. This is definitely a smart move, as risk-averse government agency IT decision makers will take comfort in the successes of their peers with Drupal Social Publishing.

      Acquia appears poised to take advantage of the growing interest in open source and social media. Increased use of Drupal will open the door further to open source adoption within governments in the United States and worldwide. In doing so, Acquia is definitely playing its part as a founding member of Open Source for America.

  • Programming

    • PHP 5.3.1 Released, Security Beefed Up

      The PHP development team recently introduced the latest version of the new PHP 5.3 branch, PHP 5.3.1. This version essentially does not change the essential core 5.3 PHP engine, but by focusing on stability and security, the PHP team has introduced more than 100 bug fixes and tweaks to the overall framework.

  • Standards/Consortia


  • Have computers become a commodity item?

    Somebody made a comment the other day about computers being a commodity item. It was stated that computers are thought of as no different to a television or radio. This comment sort of alarmed me because I do not think of computers in this manner. I don’t think that computers should be classed as a commodity item and below I say why.

  • Security

    • Solution for SSL/TLS design weakness in sight

      A solution to the TLS renegotiation vulnerability discovered in the design of the SSL/TLS protocol early last November is on the horizon. The Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) has ammended the RFC 5246 specification (Transport Layer Security [TLS] Protocol Version 1.2) and introduced a new renegotiation_info TLS extension which will store a connection’s cryptographic information. The problem was caused by a flaw in the TLS protocol design that affects the parameter renegotiation of an existing TLS connection. Previously, the TLS protocol offered no conclusively authenticated associations between the client requests before and client requests after a TLS renegotiation. The new extension stores additional information to describe the state of a TLS connection (“secure_renegotiation”, “client_verify_data” and “server_verify_data”).

    • Trouser-bomb clown attacks – how much should we laugh?

      As the smoke clears following the case of Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, the failed Christmas Day “underpants bomber” of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 fame, there are just three simple points for us Westerners to take away.

      First: It is completely impossible to prevent terrorists from attacking airliners.

      Second: This does not matter. There is no need for greater efforts on security.

      Third: A terrorist set fire to his own trousers, suffering eyewateringly painful burns to what Australian cricket commentators sometimes refer to as the “groinal area”, and nobody seems to be laughing. What’s wrong with us?

    • The Spies Who Got Left in the Cold
    • Undressing the Terror Threat

      Consider that on this very day about 6,700 Americans will die…. Consider then that around 1,900 of the Americans who die today will be less than 65, and that indeed about 140 will be children. Approximately 50 Americans will be murdered today, including several women killed by their husbands or boyfriends, and several children who will die from abuse and neglect. Around 85 of us will commit suicide, and another 120 will die in traffic accidents.


      Indeed, if one does not utter the magic word “terrorism,” the notion that it is actually in the best interests of the country for the government to do everything possible to keep its citizens safe becomes self-evident nonsense. Consider again some of the things that will kill 6,700 Americans today. The country’s homicide rate is approximately six times higher than that of most other developed nations; we have 15,000 more murders per year than we would if the rate were comparable to that of otherwise similar countries. Americans own around 200 million firearms, which is to say there are nearly as many privately owned guns as there are adults in the country. In addition, there are about 200,000 convicted murderers walking free in America today (there have been more than 600,000 murders in America over the past 30 years, and the average time served for the crime is about 12 years).

  • Environment

    • 17,000 potentially harmful chemicals kept secret under obscure law

      Of some 84,000 chemicals being used commercially in the United States, some 20 percent — or 17,000 — are kept secret not only from the public, but from medical professionals, state regulators and even emergency responders, according to a report at the Washington Post.

  • Finance

    • 25 experts who denied the housing bubble

      It cautions, “The list includes only pundits and (supposed) experts. That means the list doesn’t include policymakers such as Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke, because however wrong they may have been, policymakers and especially Fed chairmen are undeniably constrained in what they can say publicly. I strongly suspect that both Greenspan and Bernanke honestly believed that there was no housing bubble, but alas, we’ll never know for sure. The list also doesn’t include pundits/experts who were wrong only about the fallout of the collapse of the housing bubble that is, the extent to which the collapse of the housing bubble would harm the economy.”

  • PR/AstroTurf

    • Ads to Protest Smoking in ‘Avatar’

      Those who oppose smoking in movies aimed at young people planned to step up their assault on the science-fiction epic “Avatar” on Tuesday with advertisements in Hollywood trade papers that accuse the film of providing the equivalent of $50 million in free tobacco advertising.

    • Taxpayers Subsidize Smoking in “Avatar,” Other Youth-Rated Movies

      The information about taxpayers subsidizing smoking in big-screen movies comes from a November, 2009 report by the University of California San Francisco titled “Taxpayer Subsidies for US Films with Tobacco Imagery” that examined taxpayer subsidies for youth-rated films (G, PG and PG-13).

    • Conservative backlash against “Avatar”

      A right-wing nightmare: The free market has spoken — anti-American lefty green propaganda sells!

    • Breaking News: Insurance Industry Launders $10M to $20M in Attack Ads

      Just as we cannot let the health insurance companies pretend they are “for reform” while secretly buying millions of dollars worth of attack ads against reform, we also cannot stand silent when newspapers outsource the writing of the “news” to groups advised by health insurance companies.

    • Obama received $20 million from healthcare industry in 2008 campaign

      Currently, the Center’s website shows that Obama received $19,462,986 from the health sector, which includes health professionals ($11.7m), health services/HMOs ($1.4m), hospitals/nursing homes ($3.3m) and pharmaceuticals/health products ($2.1m). Miscellaneous health donations (from which Obama received $860,411) are also factored into the current total health sector numbers but are not accessible on the site.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Google to Embargo China

      14-01-10: Still conflicting reports coming out. It could be that Google has already lifted its own censorship measures. Or it could be that the censorship measures are still up, but because of the intense interest generated (and click-thrus) on sensitive subjects, small holes in the wall are being publicised and magnified.

      It doesn’t matter any more: People are getting through the wall.

    • Google.cn Has Already Lifted Censorship

      “In an update to Google’s withdrawal from China, there are reports that censorship has already been lifted. It’s probably taken a while to report because of Google’s ranking system.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Lessig on Copyright and Science at the University of Amsterdam

      Last Friday, January 8, the University of Amsterdam (I’m with the competition) handed out an honorary doctorate to Harvard prof. Lawrence Lessig, known to you all (I may hope!) as one of the founding members of the wildly successful Creative Commons project. During the acceptance ceremony, he held one of his keynote presentations – and one that is required listening material for everyone. And with everyone – I mean everyone.

    • Writers Can Prosper Without Intellectual Property

      It is commonly supposed that, whatever its moral and theoretical standing, intellectual property is necessary for creators of written works to make a living and — even more importantly — to continue to create. Here, I will set aside the theoretical status of copyright, which is amply discussed in Stephan Kinsella’s Against Intellectual Property and Michele Boldrin and David Levine’s Against Intellectual Monopoly. I will focus on existing and emerging possibilities for writers to earn a living in a world where no copyrights exist.

Week of Monsanto: Video

Monsanto: End of Life

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 13th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Patents Roundup: The Lobby for Software Patents Still Active, Update from USPTO Assessors, Policy Delay in New Zealand

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Intellectual Monopoly, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 5:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The more money we come across, the more patents we see…”

Summary: The lobbyists still fight for software patents for their selfish reasons, even in New Zealand; surprising USPTO statistics; more patent backlash

TECHDIRT appears to have only just discovered the very crass proponent of software patents, Gene Quinn (mentioned here before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]). He is making money from this. He is not a scientist, he’s in a meta-industry that exploits science for profit.

About a post that we mentioned here the other day (regarding patents), writes TechDirt:

Well Respected VC Firm Comes Out In Favor Of Independent Invention Defense Against Patent Infringement Lawsuits


Union Square Ventures has come out strongly in favor of an independent invention defense against patent infringement. This is great. I have no idea if I helped to make this come about, but a year ago, Union Square partner Fred Wilson had spoken out about how patents were harming his portfolio, and suggested some ways to fix the system (not including an independent invention defense). I responded with a post suggesting he consider an independent invention defense beyond his proposals, as it would really solve a lot of the problems. So it’s really fantastic to see the firm take a stand on such an important issue — proving once again what a lie it is to claim that VCs require patents.

There is also this response:

Proposal: An Independent Inventor Defense Against Software Patents

I’m extremely excited to see Brad and Fred come out so strongly against software patents. I’ve been talking against this for a long time and I expect my rants against software patents are well known to any readers of this blog (if you aren’t familiar with them, feel free to indulge yourself if you are so inclined.) But this is the first time that I’m aware that any of my peers – other than my partners at Foundry Group – have come out so strongly in public against software patents.

The Against Monopoly Web site, a site that we definitely recommend, has published the following two denouncements of intellectual monopolies:

i. Clean Films and Government Permission

In a previous post, I noted the arbitrariness of copyright law in prohibiting editing a DVD to take out objectionable scenes, when presumably it would be legal to accomplish the same thing by other means-e.g., as I pointed out in a legal forum, by providing instructions to users to use to program a special DVD player that edits out the bad scenes “on the fly” in the user’s home.

ii. IP Trends

A Swedish libertarian buddy, Johan Ridenfeldt, pointed me to this article (in Swedish), which describes libertarian (liberal) arguments against intellectual property, and also includes a review of the debate in Nyliberalen (The Neoliberal). He wrote, “I find this very positive. I’m involved (somewhat) in politics, and I have noticed that most of the libertarian young ones agree with us on IP [i.e., that it is problematic and unlibertarian]. This was not the case when I first started quoting you back when your Against IP article was in draft [in 2000 or so]. I used to post and recommend your working paper draft, and back then I was pretty alone in my views.”

It is often being said (propaganda with repetition) that patents help the United States maintain dominance in science and technology, but according to new numbers, more patents in the USPTO are being granted to non-US citizens/companies. Whose advantage is it now? Well, the lawyers, the trolls, and the monopolies of course. It’s not to do with geography but to do with class and occupation. It’s about protecting parasites.

According to IFI Patent Intelligence, a Wolters Kluwer Health business, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) issues a total of 167,350 utility patents in calendar year 2009, a 6.1% increase over 2008 and nearing the “all-time high” of 173,772 set in 2006. Forty-nine percent of those patents landed with U.S. firms, while 51% went to foreign companies, marking the second consecutive year U.S. companies lagged behind. Yet IFI Patent Intelligence points out that U.S. companies received about 7% more patents in 2009 than in 2008, while foreign firms experienced a 6.5% increase during the same time.

A paywall-encumbered article says that New Zealand’s new Patents Act is being delayed. “Indeed,” says the article, “most of the submissions made publicly-available relate either to software patents…”

This is a subject that we wrote about some months back [1, 2]. Microsoft New Zealand is a mess at the moment and it’s looking to block Free software in New Zealand using legal means.

“New Zealand [is] pushing for software patents with a “technical effect”, every software changes the hardware, so patentable,” remarks the President of FFII, who points to this new page. He also promotes this conference and says: “Submit a paper for the Knowright2010 conference, deadline at the end of the month, FFII supporting the conference…”

Eye on Microsoft: Dangerous Fonts and DMCA Takedown

Posted in Microsoft at 4:20 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: “Microsoft, the company that made fonts dangerous,” calls it our reader who shared the following two links

Microsoft patches critical security issue

This security update resolves a privately reported vulnerability in Microsoft Windows. The vulnerability could allow remote code execution if a user viewed content rendered in a specially crafted Embedded OpenType (EOT) font in client applications that can render EOT fonts, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office PowerPoint, or Microsoft Office Word.


Subject: DN: www.cryptome.org; Registrar: Network Solutions; Host: Network Solutions – Demand for Immediate Take Down – Notice of Infringing Activity – MS Ref. 298757
Date: Tue, 5 Jan 2010 15:05:56 -0500
From: “DMCA” <DMCA[at]networksolutions.com>
To: <jya[at]pipeline.com>

Hi Mr. Young:

I am forwarding the below for your information. No further action is required.

Linda L. Larsen, Designated Agent
Network Solutions, LLC
Telephone: 703.668.5615
Facsimile: 703.668.5959
Email: dmca[at]networksolutions.com


From: Microsoft Anti Piracy Investigator #2 [mailto:internet2[at]microsoft-antipiracy.com]
Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 2010 8:17 AM

Subject: RE: DN: www.cryptome.org; Registrar: Network Solutions; Host: Network Solutions – Demand for Immediate Take Down – Notice of Infringing Activity – MS Ref. 298757

Importance: High

Hi Linda – I, James Young am the investigator that sent the takedown notice relating to this case. I see that as requested cryptome.org have removed the page located at http://cryptome.org/0001/ms-cofee.htm – Separately that the .zip located at cryptome.net is now offline too.

Thank you for your assistance in this matter.

Best Regards,

James Young
Internet Investigator

“Mixed Source” and “Half Pregnant”

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Mono, Novell at 4:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: “Mixed source” will be off the menu at Novell if its semi- or pseudo-open products continue to fail as they already do

Novell calls itself a “mixed-source” company [1, 2, 3, 4], but to call the mixing of proprietary and Free “mixed-source” is like calling sand in water “mixed water”. It’s like saying that a lady is only “half pregnant”.

Mono is essentially Open Core*, which is a form of “mixed-source”. Its proponents were in total denial just before the TomTom case and hopefully they have woken up since then. Microsoft does sue Free software (even directly, not just indirectly [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]) using software patents.

The Harvard Business Schools has just published this short new paper on “mixed-source” and Microsoft is mentioned there too. It’s filled with business propaganda terms like “intellectual property”, but anyway, it’s all there.

The open source (OS) movement is one model—it’s going strong after nearly 30 years and still has its die-hard supporters. Meanwhile, other firms try to maximize profits by keeping a tight, proprietary hold on all intellectual property. Increasingly, however, software companies are taking a “best of both worlds” approach by creating products that use a combination of OS and proprietary software code.

“Best of both worlds” is just a cliché; Mono uses a similar cliché, “best of breed”.

Thankfully, Mono is going nowhere in terms of adoption and one of the people behind Ximian, Nat Friedman, has just quit Novell. This does not mean that “open source [is] in trouble”, it just means that the Microsoft/Novell “mixed-source” vision (or ploy) is in trouble.

Friedman has been working on SUSE Studio in recent years which is now a commercial product. Unlike Mono (led by his Ximian co-founder De Icaza), Friedman is not sticking with Novell after the initial public commercial launch.

His departure was mentioned in [1, 2, 3]. He came from Microsoft (where he met Miguel de Icaza), so this was never a good recipe to begin with.
* There is a Free (gratis and libre) core and patent-encumbered (well, naturally) addons tightly attached to it.

Vista Mobile 7 Likely Delayed One Year; Vista 7 Always Rented, Not Sold

Posted in Deception, DRM, GNU/Linux, GPL, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 3:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s vapourware tactics continue to expose themselves as key products are pushed back again and again; clarifications about “rental”, which is a permanent condition for all users of any version of Windows

THE mobile reality of Windows is rather pathetic and two days ago we wrote about several sources that say Vista Mobile 7 will arrive a year late (yes, “Vista Mobile”, like Vista 7, which perpetuates a failure). IDG News Service further fuels these projections in a new article titled “Windows Mobile 7 Delayed Until 2011?”

Google’s Android mobile operating system is stealing the spotlight from Windows Mobile 7, so much so that reports say Microsoft’s latest OS is delayed (again) due to Google’s success.

One day ago we wrote about the fact that Windows cannot ever be owned by its user/s. This is a point which is stressed quite strongly in the following new article form SJVN:

You might think that, as an individual user, you own the operating system that came on your PC — but you’d be wrong. You can’t sell the Windows that’s pre-installed on your PC. You can sell a used copy of Windows, if you bought a copy and then deleted it from your computer. So, for example, if you bought a copy of Windows 7 to upgrade from your old PC’s pre-existing Vista, you can’t sell that copy of Vista, but you can sell the copy of Windows 7. This is one of the many reasons I prefer desktop Linux.

Are we entering a generation when people actually own their software, thanks to the GPL? Google does allow rooting of one’s own Android phone, unlike the Hype Company.

This morning we shared one story about the implications of DRM-laden books — books that are falsely advertised as ones that can be “purchased” when in fact they are only being “licensed” (for access by a person on his/her one rigid device while it lasts, unless/until shot down or confiscated remotely).

“British Education” is Microsoft Indoctrination

Posted in Bill Gates, Europe, Microsoft at 2:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The British schools system, misled by the Microsoft influence seeded inside BETCA, continues to misuse taxpayers’ money to make Microsoft’s monopoly stronger

WE HAVE been showing a lot of evidence recently of Microsoft’s means for hijacking the education systems around the world (civil education and participatory training, not just academic or obligatory). We won’t be writing about it again; instead, here are some previous posts that expose not only the way it works but extensive material on it (including leaked memos) as well:

  1. Bill Gates Puts in a Million to Ratify His Role as Education Minister
  2. How the Gates Foundation is Used to Ensure Children Become Microsoft Clients
  3. More Dubious Practices from the Gates Foundation
  4. Microsoft Builds Coalitions of NGOs, Makes Political and Educational Changes
  5. Microsoft’s EDGI in India: Fighting GNU/Linux in Education
  6. Microsoft’s Gates Seeks More Monopolies
  7. Gates Foundation Funds Blogs to Promote Its Party Line
  8. Microsoft Bribes to Make Education Microsoft-based
  9. Lobbyists Dodge the Law; Bill Gates Lobbies the US Education System with Another $10 Million
  10. Gates Investments in Education Criticised; Monsanto (Gates-Backed) Corruption Revisited
  11. Latest Vista 7 Failures and Microsoft Dumping

A new report from eWEEK Europe exposes what we already knew — that Microsoft has got the British education system by the crotch.

Government Plugs Microsoft With Online Training Course

The government is promoting Microsoft’s proprietary software as part of a plan to get more UK adults online, despite arguing for greater adoption of open source in the past


Some open source supporters may object to elements of the new scheme however as, although the Online Basics course is supposed to be an independent education project, the site contains a link to Microsoft’s own learning network – Microsoft Digital Literacy – which includes guidance on how to use Microsoft products. In February 2009, the UK government said it intended to use open source to save £600 million a year and published guidelines the that effect but, despite this, the UK lags badly at open source, using it less than countries like Mali, open source activists said at a meeting in September.

There is another new report in the British press, indicating perhaps the obvious once again. Guess who is behind it? It is Microsoft’s puppet, BETCA [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7], which should be abolished. £300 million (almost half a billion US dollars) of taxpayers’ money is to be spent on indoctrinating people for Microsoft’s benefit; “More than 12,000 grants were issued in last year’s pilots of the scheme by Becta, the Government agency responsible for driving the use of IT in education,” says the latter article. Let’s not forget what else Microsoft has injected into British schools.

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

Bill Gates

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