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01.19.10

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 19th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 8:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Links 19/1/2010: A Lot of LCA Coverage, Linux 2.6.32 Gets Extended Maintenance

Posted in News Roundup at 8:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Advertorial: GFI MAX users can now monitor Linux devices

    By monitoring and managing Linux systems, MSPs, VARs and IT support organisations can extend the services they offer and earn more revenue, says the firm. This new development also enables them to replace the more complex and costly monitoring systems they may be using to manage Linux devices while getting all the benefits of one consolidated monitoring and management system.

  • Linux laptop orchestra reprograms musical conventions

    Virginia Tech’s newest musical ensemble has a problem with one of its songs.

    A faint cough can be heard on the track “Citadel,” briefly interrupting soprano graduate student Chelsea Crane’s vocals. It seems only the most discerning listeners would take notice of the small blemish, but to composer Ivica Ico (pronounced Ee-zo) Bukvic, it is deafening.

    “In a song so serene, a cough sounds like an explosion of nuclear proportions,” he announces to the students in the room. His playful tone belies what the perfectionist composer considers a serious problem.

  • LCA

    • linux.conf.au is Live

      Among the many conferences and conventions held in the Open Source world, a select few stand out from the pack. Among these is the annual linux.conf.au, which brings hundreds of Linux and Open Source advocates together each year for a week of learning, networking, and more than a little fun.

    • linux.conf.au 2010: Day 2 (morning)

      I’ve followed with interest the NOSQL movement, and was interested to hear from Josh (of PostgreSQL Experts Inc.) what I expected would be a “relationalist” point of view.

    • linux.conf.au 2010: Day 2 (afternoon)

      LXC uses existing Linux kernel facilities to group processes within containers into control groups, which can then be used to control access and scheduling of resources (network, CPU, storage, etc.). Each resource type has a namespace similar in principle to what chroot() provides for filesystems. Since all of the hardware is visible to a single kernel, there can be a great deal of flexibility in how resources are allocated. For example, a given network device and CPU can be dedicated to a container.

    • In Pictures: The Australasia and Linux Quiz

      Linus Torvalds was bitten by a penguin while holidaying in Australia. It’s widely believed this encounter encouraged Torvalds to select Tux as the official Linux mascot.

    • Technology Enthusiasts All Set to Attend Open Source Software Conference

      The Wellington conference has been going on for 11 years and is one of the largest in the world to be held on the subject. More often, the conference is hosted by Australia, and this is the second time the New Zealand is getting to play host.

    • Auckland: where a FOSS school is a reality

      Mark Osborne is not a technical person. That’s the first point he made when he stood up to deliver his presentation on The Open Source Secondary School at the 11th Australian national Linux conference this morning.

      He is an English teacher and the deputy principal of Albany Senior High School in Auckland which opened its doors in 2009. It has the proud distinction of being the first state-funded senior high school to exclusively use open source software for every need.

  • Windows Cloning/Compatibility

    • Should Ubuntu include proprietary software?

      In a blog posting by Matthew Helmke, a member of the Ubuntu Forum Council, Helmke wrote, “We are trying to gather preferences for the apps that users would like to see in upcoming version of Ubuntu. While we all believe in the power of open source applications we are also very keen that users should get to choose the software they want to use. There are some great apps that aren’t yet available to Ubuntu users and Canonical would like to know the priority that users would like to see them.”

      Still, Ubuntu is hedging its bets. Helmke carefully spells out that “This is not about applications to be included by default, but merely things that we may attempt to make more easily available for Ubuntu users to install for themselves from official repositories.”

    • Canonical to bundle CodeWeavers CrossOver?

      In a official post on the Ubuntu Forums, user Matthew (a official Canonical employee?) asks users to complete a survey with the applications they would like to see in the upcoming versions of Ubuntu.

    • ReactOS May Begin Heavily Using Wine Code

      While we don’t normally talk much about ReactOS, the free software operating system that was started some twelve years ago to provide binary compatible with Windows NT, there is a new proposal to abandon much of its Win32 subsystem that has built up over the past decade and to create a new Windows subsystem that in large part is derived from Wine code.

  • Desktop

    • Student designs easy-to-use, portable OS

      The operating system devised by him, LinuXP, has minimal hardware requirement and was built using Linux and WINE, an open source software which allows you to run Windows programs like Microsoft Office and Notepad.

  • IBM

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux and USB 3.0

      Ever get tired of Windows people proclaiming how their operating system has device support for this, that, and the other thing and Linux doesn’t? Well, now you have a perfect come-back. The newest, fast interface, USB 3.0 is out and only Linux has native support for it.

    • Linux 2.6.32 Kernel To Be Maintained Longer

      With Ubuntu 10.04 basing off the Linux 2.6.32 kernel and this distribution release being a Long-Term Support (LTS) release that will be maintained longer than normal Ubuntu releases — and other vendors using the Linux 2.6.32 kernel for their enterprise updates too — this kernel will live on longer as well.

    • Stable kernel tree status, January 18, 2010

      The 2.6.27-stable kernel tree is still living on, as a “long-term” stable release. But, I do have to warn users of this tree, the older it gets, the less viable it becomes. Not all bugfixes are being backported to this kernel version due to massive code changes in the over 2 years since this kernel has been released. I am doing my best to backport fixes that I become aware of, and I encourage anyone who does fix any types of bugs in the main kernel tree to let me know if the change should be applied to this older kernel version.

    • Linux Foundation Announces 2010 Event Schedule, Posts Call for Participation for Annual Collaboration Summit

      The Linux Foundation® (LF), the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that it has finalized its event schedule for 2010, which includes its Collaboration Summit, End User Summit, LinuxCon, Japan Linux Symposium and Linux Kernel Summit.

    • Files

      • ext4: prime time in three years, says Ts’o

        It will take about two or three years for the ext4 filesystem, that has been adopted as the default by some community GNU/Linux distributions, to be routinely deployed on production systems, according to senior Linux kernel hacker Theodore Ts’o.

      • The Performance Of EXT4 Then & Now

        As the results in this article show, there are some dramatic performance drops with the EXT4 file-system that have occurred since this evolutionary file-system was marked stable in the Linux 2.6.28 kernel. Most of these drops are occurring as kernel developers work to improve the reliability and safety of this file-system, as we have shared numerous times now. Some of the biggest hits have occurred with the read performance in test scenarios like IOzone between the Linux 2.6.30 and 2.6.31 kernels where the performance was severely dampened. In the Linux 2.6.32 kernel due to EXT4 fsync changes, the PostgreSQL performance was slaughtered with pre-2.6.32 kernels being five times faster.

      • LCA 2010: an encounter with the other Andrew

        Bartlett is one of those top programmers who still retains an air of humility. Once you’ve been around the block with FOSS types, you’ll notice that, as with the masses, it’s the empty vessels that make the most sound.

  • Applications

  • GNOME Desktop

    • GNOME 3.0: Fear Not!

      Does GNOME 3.0 necessarily need 3D acceleration? Do GNOME 2.0 apps run under 3.0? A website tries to provide answers to some unsettling questions.

  • Distributions

    • Why I use Arch Linux

      I came across a lengthy interview with the Arch Linux team, and having been using the distribution for the last several months, I thought I would write about my experiences and what makes it great for me.

      As those of you who have been reading this blog for a while already know, Kubuntu was previously my distribution of choice. To me, it was the perfect KDE distro and gave me the best that KDE had to offer with each release.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora 13 Btrfs Rollback Support Moves Along

        When talking about the state of Fedora 13 features last week following our early Fedora 13 benchmarks, the Btrfs system snapshot feature was marked as being 0% complete. However, the Fedora 13 feature list has been updated and this feature is now deemed 80% complete.

    • Debian Family

      • Benchmarking Debian’s GNU/kFreeBSD

        There has been an effort underway within the Debian development community to pull the FreeBSD kernel within this distribution to provide an alternative to using the Linux kernel. In essence with this Debian GNU/kFreeBSD project you have the standard Debian package set providing a GNU user-land with a GNU C library, but the FreeBSD kernel is running underneath. The Debian project has also been working on Debian GNU/Hurd to effectively do the same thing but with the GNU Mach microkernel. But unlike Debian GNU/Hurd, with the release of Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”, Debian GNU/kFreeBSD will reach a release status. With the Debian Squeeze release being just two months away we have decided to provide the first public set of benchmarks that compare the Debian GNU/kFreeBSD performance to that of Debian GNU/Linux. We have tested both the 32-bit and 64-bit builds of Debian with the Linux and FreeBSD kernels.

      • Ubuntu Desktop Alpha 2 and Alpha 3 Work Item Update

        As you are probably aware, in Lucid the platform team is working and re-planning in three separate milestones. Last week we passed the first such milestone, Alpha 2. The desktop team then re-planned for the next milestone, Alpha 3. This posting provides a chance to understand those plans. Note that these work items are documented in detail on the relevant blueprints.

      • Lubuntu 10.04 Alpha 1 – Visual Overview

        Lubuntu combines Ubuntu with the “Lightweight X11 Desktop Environment”, more commonly known as LXDE, which provides a “fast-performing and energy-saving” working enviroment for users and it perfectly suited to low-power hardware.

        [..]

        Not having had many preconceptions regarding LXDE/Lubuntu i found myself presently surprised. It was pleasent to look at, pleasent to use and although i doubt i would switch from GNOME to LXDE it can give excellent performance to those who would benefit from doing so.

        Were my netbook still alive (needs a new charger!) i would have loved to have put Lubuntu 10.04 Alpha 1 through its paces on more modest hardware. I would be especially interested to see how it stacks up against Xubuntu 10.04 Alpha 1… but for now i think Lubuntu is a very worthy entrant into the pantheon of *buntu!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Internode introduces 3G WiFi MiFi router

      MiFi runs on Linux, and has a 10 metre coverage range for its wireless network, which is protected by WPA2 security.

    • Gentoo

      • Gentoo Prefix: ARM hardware

        It is no surprise that Gentoo Prefix works fine on arm-linux given the great work being done in Gentoo Linux by the ARM team (armin76, maekke, et al).

      • Those about to rock, we encourage you to recompile your Linux kernel

        This crazy guitar is actually an open source MIDI system using a sexy touchscreen with multi-touch and reactive fretboard. The result? Let’s just say while you probably won’t get much cherry pie playing this thing, the guys at Information Society will definitely invite you into their trailer at the Iowa State Fair this year.

      • Misa Digital Guitar has “got no strings”

        If you don’t believe me, then check out the video after the jump. You will note this guy is shredding on the Linux-powered Misa Digital Guitar, and there are no strings, just a light-up touchscreen.

    • Phones

      • Nokia N900

        Nokia’s latest flagship device packs in plenty of power and a first-rate browser, but its design and app selection leave something to be desired.

      • Android

        • Google postpones cellphone launch in China

          The manufacturers of the telephone, which was scheduled for launch in China on Wednesday, are Motorola and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, and China Unicom would have been the carrier, a Google spokeswoman said.

        • How Google’s Exit From China Could Affect Android

          Google is not the leading search company in China, and it’s revenue from China is minor compared to its business elsewhere. Thus the affects on China’s search industry, and Google’s revenue stream are predictable. So this post takes a look at some unknowns, what might happen to Android in China if Google were to officially leave the Chinese market.

        • Android tablet offers WiFi, optional 3G

          Numerous consumer-focused tablet and slate computers were on display at this month’s CES show in Las Vegas, many of them loaded with Android, but few of them were actually shipping. Camangi announced its WebStation in October, and the device now appears to be shipping, joining only a few others in the 7-inch or larger tablet category for consumers, such as the Linux-based Archos 7.

        • Mot Android phone touted for video features

          Although Android will see the most growth in terms of LG handsets, the company will continue to offer Windows Mobile phones, which have previously dominated its mobile phone line, and will also introduce more Linux models, according to the story.

        • Android runs with Movidius 3D video graphics processor

          Movidius has announced that its Myriad mobile phone media processor supports the Android operating system.

          The Linux-based Android operating system developed by Google is growing in importance in the smartphone market and chipset suppliers clearly recognise the necessity to support it in their silicon.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Demystifying Open Source

    In 2008, the open source community saw the year end with a headline-catching lawsuit, the Free Software Foundation files suit against Cisco for General Public License (GPL) violations. Not to be outdone, 2009 also ended with a bang. Best Buy, Samsung, JVC and 11 other consumer electronics companies were named in a copyright infringement lawsuit filed on December 14, 2009, by the Software Freedom Law Center (SFLC) on behalf of the Software Freedom Conservancy. The scope of this lawsuit is unprecedented as it includes 14 defendants.

  • The Disney Ptex library has been released as open source under the BSD license.

    The Disney Ptex library is now available to the public community of texture artists, lighters and modelers. The new open source library supports Catmull-Clark subdivision surfaces (including quad and non-quad faces), Loop subdivision surfaces and polymeshes (either all-quad or all-triangle). Also, several data types are supported including 8 or 16-bit integer, float, and half-precision float. An arbitrary number of channels can be stored in a Ptex file. Arbitrary meta data can be stored in the Ptex file and accessed through the memory-managed cache.

  • Disney’s PTex now open-source
  • MOSS Gives Medical Data-Sharing a Dose of Open Source

    Misys Open Source Software says its Connect Exchange application was successfully tested at the Chicago IHE Connectathon, paving the way for an open source, standards-based platform for exchanging health info. Such a platform could represent an important step in moving medical data away from paper records and toward digital files.

  • Open Source Helps Earthquake Victims in Haiti

    The OpenRouteService team at the University of Heidelberg has responded to the catastrophic situation of victims and destroyed infrastructure following the earthquake in Haiti by providing recovery forces with a new version of its live routing service.

  • Veteran, 17, extols virtues of FOSS

    At 17, Elizabeth Garbee is quite a veteran of the various Linux conferences, having spoken at the Australian conference thrice, beginning in 2005 in Canberra.

  • Why Business Resists Open Source

    Recently Norway’s own broadcasting company (NRK) went to open standards by choosing ODF file formats over that of those provided by Microsoft’s Office products. This is not really that groundbreaking considering how much other parts of the world opt to embrace open standards while here in the U.S. we cling to what’s easiest. But it did serve as a reminder that changes are coming in what users want from their software.

    Clearly, there is significant interest in open source software as a potential cost saving, among other advantages. The key is making sure that legacy headaches among issues of software trust and familiarity. It’s an unfortunate mindset that is not only a problem in the corporate world, but in everyday homes as well.

  • Basic open source web design workshop set in Davao

    The Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) is inviting interested manager/owners/ HR managers/web enthusiasts in a two-day Basic Web Design Course using Joomla open source software.

  • Google

    • We Want Protection, Google!

      There are a number of other firms and/or Open Source projects that would be good buys/plays which would form the other portions of the “Google Security” stack.

    • Open source and the Google cloud

      It’s important at this point to note that Google’s code is not copyleft. It supports the Apache license, which is compatible with GPLV3 but not with GPLV2. Google understands the need to provide opportunity for software beneath its cloud layer, and for ongoing help in maintaining the cloud.

  • Databases

    • European approval for Oracle acquisition of Sun expected this week

      According to the Wall Street Journal’s All Things Digital blog, Oracle and Sun expect that the European Commission will approve the acquisition of Sun Microsystems some time this week. The report which cites sources close to both companies, comes as the 27th of January deadline for the Commission’s decision approaches and suggests that the official announcement of the successful acquisition will be issued in early February.

  • CMS

  • Openness

    • Meet Your Makers

      Maker Culture? It’s people taking things — food, entertainment, technology, politics, and even science — into their own hands. That’s a simple definition and it’s exactly where 45 Canadian journalism students began their journey in early September. That’s when Wayne MacPhail, the instructor of the online journalism courses at both Ryerson University in Toronto and the University of Western Ontario in London, introduced us, his students, to the idea of Maker Culture. We discovered that a lot lies beneath that simple definition.

  • Programming

    • Groovy-Eclipse 2.0 released – A smoother development cycle

      The Groovy-Eclipse developers have delivered version 2.0 of the plugin for developers who want to work with Groovy and Java in the Eclipse IDE. The new version is the culmination of work which began in May 2009 to create a more integrated, incremental compilation process. This has resulted in what the developers call an “almost completely rewritten” plugin.

Leftovers

  • Top 10 technologies for tyranny
  • Security

    • High Street CCTV cameras branded eye sore

      NO they aren’t strange art installations or odd Christmas decorations.

      The mysterious black poles that have popped up along Hounslow High Street are in fact part of a council and police partnership to keep us safe, and are to hold new CCTV cameras.

    • The laughing policemen: ‘Inaccurate’ data boosts arrest rate

      Police are using controversial car-surveillance technology aimed at catching criminals and terrorists to target members of the public in order to meet government performance targets and raise revenue, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

    • Report: India claims it was also hacked by Chinese

      The office of India’s National Security Advisor, M.K. Narayanan, and other government offices in India were targeted by hackers believed to be from China, according to a report.

    • China: We Are Biggest Victim of Cyberattacks

      China on Tuesday denied any role in alleged cyberattacks on Indian government offices, calling China itself the biggest victim of hackers.

    • Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez calls PlayStation games ‘poison’

      Those games they call ‘PlayStation’ are poison. Some games teach you to kill. They once put my face on a game, ‘you’ve got to find Chavez to kill him’.

    • The naked rambler is making us look silly

      Last week saw a flagrant attack on civil liberty mounted in the name of peace. A man who likes to walk around with a rucksack was told that he may have to spend the rest of his life in prison.

      The rucksack, in this case, was not the cause of this draconian warning. It contained no bombs, real or fake. The problem was what the man, Stephen Gough, wore underneath the backpack: nothing.

    • Indian judge to rule on UK activist arrested for carrying satellite phone

      A British environmental campaigner who was arrested in India during a crackdown on terrorism for carrying a satellite phone without permission will tomorrow hear if he will be released after a week in custody.

    • Secret letter reveals Lord Goldsmith’s fury over legal approval for war

      The Attorney-General sent a furious letter to the Defence Secretary a year before the invasion of Iraq warning that he saw “considerable difficulties” in giving legal approval for war, it emerged this morning.

      Lord Goldsmith complained to Geoff Hoon that he had put in a “difficult position” by the Defence Secretary’s public claim that Britain would be entitled to use force without a specific United Nations resolution.

      In a previously secret letter released by the Iraq Inquiry this morning, Lord Goldsmith said that he had given no opinion on the legality of military action.

      “I think you should know that I see considerable difficulties in being satisfied that military action would be justified on the basis of self-defence,” he wrote.

    • US Accused of Militarizing Relief Effort in Haiti

      The US military has taken control of the only airport in Port-au-Prince and is facing criticism for diverting some aid planes. Doctors Without Borders says five of its planes carrying surgical teams and equipment weren’t allowed to land and were diverted to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. US forces also turned back a French aid plane carrying a field hospital. Al Jazeera English aired this report on Sunday.

    • Caricom Blocked

      THE CARIBBEAN Community’s emergency aid mission to Haiti, comprising Heads of Government and leading technical officials, failed to secure permission Friday to land at that devasted country’s aiport, now under the control of the United States.

      Consequently, the Caricom ’assessment mission’, that was to determine priority humanitarian needs resulting from the mind-boggling earthquake disaster of Haiti last Tuesday, had to travel back from Jamaica to their respective home destinations..

    • Cuba’s Rescue Effort in Haiti

      Cuba has sent ten tons of medications. Since 1998, Cuba’s health cooperation with Haiti has made it possible for 6,000 doctors, paramedics and health technicians to work there. Besides, 450 young Haitians have graduated as doctors from Cuban colleges, free of charge, in the past 12 years.

    • Opinion: How robot-missionaries prey on helpless Haiti survivors

      A Christian group calling themselves Faith Comes by Hearing is sending not food or medicines to the needy population of Haiti, but 600 solar-powered digital Bibles that speak and proclaim the gospel in Creole.

    • A fearful lack of proportion

      The war on terror? Here it is. The casualties of that war? Here they are. And now, as spotlights swings towards Sana’a and political packs yelp excitedly about Yemeni training camps, Pakistan’s problems suddenly fade from view. Other countries must hear the tough talk. One pair of pants and the west wallows in hysteria before ordering stops, searches and profilings for hapless doctors who keep health systems going. One pair of pants against 3,021 violent deaths. Is that what we mean by proportionality?

  • Environment

    • Shipworm threatens archaeological treasures

      The dreaded shipworm is moving into the Baltic Sea, threatening artefacts of the area’s cultural heritage. Researchers at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, suspect that the unfortunate spread is due to climate change, and are currently involved in an EU project to determine which archaeological remains are at risk.

    • Asia’s greed for ivory puts African elephant at risk

      There has been a massive surge in illegal ivory trading, researchers warned last week. They have found that more than 14,000 products made from the tusks and other body parts of elephants were seized in 2009, an increase of more than 2,000 on their previous analysis in 2007.

    • Amid Monsanto’s antitrust troubles, another study questions the health effects of GMOs

      Pity executives at genetically modified seed giant Monsanto. Not only are they having to knock heads with Department of Justice lawyers over the company’s business practices, but some of their most-cherished PR talking points are being obliterated by researchers.

      In the past few months, we’ve learned that its much-vaunted technologies don’t really increase yields after all; and aren’t really all that promising for adapting to climate change.

    • Kenya fishermen see upside to pirates: more fish

      People here have one thing to thank Somali pirates for: Better fishing.

      In past years, illegal commercial trawlers parked off Somalia’s coast and scooped up the ocean’s contents. Now, fishermen on the northern coast of neighboring Kenya say, the trawlers are not coming because of pirates.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • E-commerce Regulations updated to exempt ISPs from hate speech charges

      The E-Commerce Directive protects service providers from liability for material that they neither create nor monitor but simply store or pass on to users of their service. The Directive is implemented in the UK by the E-Commerce Regulations.

    • Sometimes Protecting Free Speech Means Protecting Speech You Don’t Like

      But rather than just demand the takedown of the specific content in question, the judge ordered the sites taken down completely, and even a Facebook group closed. That’s way over the line and goes well beyond what the lawsuit was about. It was great to see the EFF take up the case, but it’s a shame to see others miss the bigger picture.Esahc writes in to point out that Vivek Wadhwa has penned a column for TechCrunch blasting the EFF for defending these sites. I can understand why Wadhwa is upset about the sites. The sites are undoubtedly racist and despicable. They are also ignorant and economically illiterate. Some of the posts are, clearly, hate speech, and inciting violence against certain individuals.

    • Does the Fourth Amendment cover ‘the cloud’?

      One of the biggest issues facing individuals and corporations choosing to adopt public cloud computing (or any Internet service, for that matter) is the relative lack of clarity with respect to legal rights over data stored online. I’ve reported on this early legal landscape a couple of times, looking at decisions to relax expectations of privacy for e-mail stored online and the decision to allow the FBI to confiscate servers belonging to dozens of companies from a co-location facility whose owners were suspected of fraud.

    • Google, China, and the future of freedom on the global Internet

      Maybe it’s because I was schooled in political science, not computer science. But frankly I’ve been surprised by the extent to which some respected commentators have focused on trashing Google for lacking purity of motive. As if that were some kind of brilliant revelation. Of course Google’s actions are motivated by self-interest.

      [...]

      In the United States, Google’s policy positions are frequently aligned with free speech activists and the open source/free culture community – as they go head-to-head against traditional telcos and media companies in policy fights over copyright law, Net Neutrality, the evil secretive and scary ACTA trade agreement, and other issues. In Italy, for example, Google executives are facing criminal charges because the Italian government wants to hold Internet companies like Google more directly liable for what users do on their services, which encourages a global trend that would inevitably result in companies having to massively increase the extent to which they track, police and censor users – which in turn not only has serious implications for human rights and free expression but also drastically increases Internet companies’ overhead, making their business model much less sustainable. This isn’t just a problem in Italy.

  • Internet/Web Abuse/DRM

    • OEIL: universal service telecom package part completed

      The telecom package pushed the European legislation process to its limits. Hopefully Kroes won’t make the same mistake as Reding and make proposals that can be easier processed and reviewed. Some stakeholders are still clouded by the fog of war. But we also have a very nice technical overview of the process.

    • Entertainment Industry Explains How True Net Neutrality Is Just Another Word For Theft

      With comments due last week on the FCC’s proposed new net neutrality rules, we’ve already covered some of the filings, while noting the problems of carving out a special exemption for copyright. But, of course, that special exemption for copyright means everything to an entertainment industry that has no interest in adapting its business models. Both the RIAA and MPAA filed their own comments, which were pretty similar, and equally misleading. The RIAA’s filing (pdf) repeatedly referred to copyright infringement as “theft” (you would think lawyers would know the difference) and insisted not just that there should be a copyright exemption, but that the FCC itself should require ISPs to act as copyright cops. The MPAA’s filing (pdf) is almost a carbon copy of the RIAA’s. There is very little difference between the two.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Asking Citizens What They Want Out Of Copyright Law Is Really Just A ‘Tactic To Confuse’?

      Separately, with so much pressure coming from other countries, we wondered if Canada would be able to resist implementing ever more draconian copyright laws, which would be a serious drain on the Canadian economy. So far they have resisted, but the pressure from outside continues to be fierce. We recently noted that US lobbyists and lawyers were insisting that Canada needed to be dragged into the 21st century, and now European trade negotiators are pushing hard on Canada to change its copyright laws despite no actual evidence of any problem with existing laws.

    • NY Times Apparently Planning To Commit Suicide Online With Paywall

      There have been rumors for a while that, despite the NY Times massive failure with its last attempt at a paywall — which drove away users in bunches, pissed off NY Times writers and did little to help the bottom line — the NY Times might consider going back down that cursed road. And now reports are leaking out that the braintrust at the NYT has made a decision and it’s to kill off whatever value the NY Times’ online presence may have had by putting up a paywall designed to piss off users and take itself out of the online conversation.

    • About 1,500 artists break the “obscurity line” each year. Less than 1% do it on their own.

      Tom Silverman (TommyBoy Entertainment) tells Rick Goetz (Musician Coaching – great blog by the way) that in 2008, 1,500 releases broke the “obscurity line” (sold over 10,000 albums).

    • Oxford University Bans Spotify For P2P Use

      Oxford University has decided to ban the music streaming application Spotify because it uses P2P technology. Although Spotify is completely legal, the University has banned the application because the underlying P2P technology allegedly turns it into a bandwidth hog.

    • ISP Stands Up For Torrent Site Owner’s Privacy

      The Swedish ISP TeliaSonera is refusing to comply with a court ruling ordering the company to hand over information identifying the owner of SweTorrents. Instead, it has appealed the decision, arguing that the verdict is in violation of the European data retention directive and claiming that SweTorrents doesn’t host any copyrighted files.

    • Copyright and Racism

      The upcoming documentary, Copyright Criminals, shows how copyright has outrageously criminalized the use of sampling, which has been disproportionately popular in hip hop music. In this, it calls to mind the racially disproportionate impact of drug laws on minorities…

Week of Monsanto: Video

The World According to Monsanto – Part 3 of 8

Sxip Identity and ActiveState Founder Leaves Microsoft After Just One Year, Calls It “the Year of Darkness”

Posted in Microsoft at 9:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Brain drain continues to plague Microsoft as Dick Hardt says goodbye

MANY people were shocked when Microsoft hired Dick Hardt, but it didn’t last long. In fact, he’s already leaving and here is why: [via Joseph Tartakoff]

Yesterday was my last day at Microsoft. I worked there a year. When I reflect on 2009, I think of it as the Year of Darkness. I only wrote a couple blog posts. I was inactive in the OpenID community. I did not talk to press or analysts. I gave no public presentations.

A lot of people are leaving Microsoft these days. Many of them get sacked.

.

Reader’s Post: 3 Stories on Advising Against Using IE

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Security, Vista 7, Windows at 9:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft BBC

Summary: Criticisms brought forth by several Boycott Novell readers

EARLIER TODAY we wrote about the BBC's poor coverage of Internet Explorer (IE) denouncements, which happened at a national level. Instead of just reporting the news, the BBC added Microsoft spin and some readers of ours saw that clearly. Separately, and completely independently from the previous post, another reader wrote to us some hours ago:

I just read a story this morning on the BBC where France joins Germany in advising against the use of Internet Explorer. It tries to discourage people from switching by saying that other browsers may have other security problems and quotes Microsoft as saying that IE is the “most secure browser”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8463516.stm

I notice that the above story differs a bit from the original story where it was only Germany giving this advice. This story doesn’t contain so much of the Microsoft “hard sell” words such as “most secure browser”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8465038.stm

I suppose that means that Microsoft is really worried about this latest event. Finally, here is a story in French for comparison. Of the 3 stories, this one by far seems the most straightforward and factual:

http://www.lemonde.fr/technologies…

A summary of the Microsoft sourced content is something like “Microsoft completely rejects the allegations and says that the security problems encountered by Google do not affect ordinary users. The problem can be solved by setting the security level to ‘high’.” It goes on to say that BSI says that raising the security level makes the attacks more difficult, but does not prevent them completely. The article ends by saying that setting security to ‘high’ disables ActiveX and Javascript, which may render some Websites completely inaccessible. MS-BBC indeed!

Another reader wrote to us the following two days ago:

This incident shows how easy Microsofters can operate posing as ICT workers.

Everyone ‘understands’ the idea of practicing medicine and many spotted trouble but no one did anything about it for the longest time:

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done

Very few understand ICT so if a whole IT department gets replaced by poseurs, there’s no one to call them on it. Even if there is, like in the fake doctor case, they’ll keep their mouth shut hoping that ‘someone’ would have prevented any mischief.

Microsoft-oriented administrators are notorious for just rebooting and never actually diagnosing issues, which means that the issues will recur.

Some other interesting input from readers can be found in the IRC channel. Yesterday for example we learned from Eruaran that “Microsoft has discontinued XP Pro, but technically business customers can still use it. They are artificially inflating Windows 7 numbers by forcing people to buy Windows 7. One of our business clients today needed to upgrade from Windows 2000 to XP because of lack of driver support on newer hardware.”

“Same trick [are] applied to Vista figures,” says FurnaceBoy.

“They are looking forward to MS putting XP under the deprecated OS list.”
      –Oiaohm
Eruaran continues: “According to Microsoft, if they buy Windows 7 Professional they can use one of their Windows XP Profesional license keys to install XP on that system, then call Microsoft to tell them that they bought W7Pro and they are ok with that. Windows 7 never gets installed, Windows XP does, but they have to buy a Windows 7 license. Microsoft is promoting the idea that ‘business is embracing Windows 7′, but its a complete crock.”

Oiaohm writes: “MS forget to tell people that entities like charities got free upgrades for Vista to Windows 7 in there usable licence keys and can install back to windows 2000 under that licence. Yet everyone else is expect to pay for upgrades. [...] No new issued keys. By the roll. Each roll is 10 000 keys. So far they have not got through the first roll. They are looking forward to MS putting XP under the deprecated OS list.”

This sure puts Vista 7 in perspective, doesn’t it? Never underestimate public relations (PR). You know that they lie when their lips are moving. It’s their job to deceive; those who do not deceive will not survive in this job.

Patents Roundup: Microsoft Keeps Ruining (to Exploit) the Patent System, USPTO’s Purpose in Greater Doubt, Cisco Surrenders to Trolls

Posted in Courtroom, Google, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 9:00 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The latest news about patents that pose a problem to the adoption of Free software, with particular focus on Microsoft which is by far the biggest problem

YESTERDAY we showed that Steve Ballmer lobbies Obama on patents. Now he is lobbying with an article that The Mad Hatter let us know about last night.

Microsoft is very focused on using (bending) law — not technical superiority — to defeat its competition. Microsoft wants to make its competition illegal and in the process it picks allies such as the copyright cartel (which it serves more than ever in its operating system, due to built-in DRM).

“Microsoft is very focused on using (bending) law — not technical superiority — to defeat its competition.”A few days ago, Groklaw pointed out that “peer to peer is used for many other legitimate things. I use it all the time for downloading Linux, various distros I want to try out, for example. The RIAA seems to assume that the technology is all about piracy, but Linux is not being pirated. It’s a legitimate use of peer to peer. And there are millions of us who like to use it. Just pointing it out, in case they are not aware.”

This is another method of derailing GNU/Linux, the #1 competition of Microsoft. The RIAA has already insulted even the Free Software Foundation, which may sound bizarre because the RIAA (a front for media conglomerates) is not in the business of software. This just smacks of collusion.

Something that Neelie Kroes said last week has led to some heated debate [1, 2, 3] as the software patents situation in Europe is made worse by Microsoft. Jukka S. Rannila suggests contacting the European Commission in his new Web page, to which Groklaw adds: “Just so you know, you can still provide feedback to the EU Commission on Microsoft’s recent commitment regarding interoperability, called an “undertaking”. The link takes you to an example. The EU Commission is monitoring the impact on the market as to how well the undertaking is working regarding interoperability between Microsoft’s products and non-Microsoft products.”

We wrote about this blunder before [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Another related blunder revolves around EIFv2 (European Interoperability Framework version 2), which has received a lot of negative publicity after Microsoft lobbied to derail its purpose/goals. We wrote on this subject in the following posts:

  1. European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Corrupted by Microsoft et al, Its Lobbyists
  2. Orwellian EIF, Fake Open Source, and Security Implications
  3. No Sense of Shame Left at Microsoft
  4. Lobbying Leads to Protest — the FFII and the FSFE Rise in Opposition to Subverted EIF
  5. IBM and Open Forum Europe Address European Interoperability Framework (EIF) Fiasco
  6. EIF Scrutinised, ODF Evolves, and Microsoft’s OOXML “Lies” Lead to Backlash from Danish Standards Committee
  7. Complaints About Perverted EIF Continue to Pile Up
  8. More Complaints About EIFv2 Abuse and Free Software FUD from General Electric (GE)
  9. Patents Roundup: Copyrighted SQL Queries, Microsoft Alliance with Company That Attacks F/OSS with Software Patents, Peer-to-Patent in Australia
  10. Microsoft Under Fire: Open Source Software Thematic Group Complains About EIFv2 Subversion, NHS Software Supplier Under Criminal Investigation
  11. British MEP Responds to Microsoft Lobby Against EIFv2; Microsoft’s Visible Technologies Infiltrates/Derails Forums Too

The president of the FFII has just shared this presentation from Europe, which ought to explain that software patents hamper motivation and innovation of Free software developers.

In other related news, Microsoft’s partner Blackboard, which was also funded by Microsoft and then monopolised an area of education, is finally walking away. Blackboard has been using software patents to deter potential competition [1, 2, 3] and now comes this:

All lawsuits have been dropped by both sides. The companies will cross-license each others’ patent portfolios under undisclosed terms, which gives both companies an opportunity to save face. After three and a half years, higher education can move on. Left unresolved is the larger question of the role of patents in higher education, but that is at least as much a question for the universities as it is for the vendors.

According to a couple of updates about the i4i case [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12], Microsoft is not giving up, maybe because OOXML is in trouble.

Microsoft isn’t giving up the court fight over the patent at issue just yet. On Friday, the company’s legal team, led by Matthew Powers of Weil, Gotshal & Manges, filed a petition with the Federal Circuit asking for a rehearing en banc. Powers didn’t return calls for this story. Earlier coverage on i4i’s trial win, post-trial action, and Federal Circuit win is available from the AmLaw Litigation Daily.

According to this article from The Guardian, i4i is not going to settle with Microsoft by licensing.

The chairman of the company that has won an injunction preventing Microsoft from selling Word 2007 because of patent infringement says he will not license the technology to the company – and has not ruled out going after any other products that infringe its XML patent.

This brings us to another hot item from the news, which is to do with patent statistics for 2009 (we have already mentioned this last week). The H belittles the value of Microsoft’s software patents.

Also Microsoft is advancing – even if partly with inexpressibly petty software patents – and holds the third place with 2900 of these overwhelming patents now. If you know how to go from one page of a document to the next using software – voilà, that’s Microsoft’s U.S. patent 7 415 666, granted in 2008.

We have already shown that Microsoft is granted patents it should never have been granted in the first place. They are miserably trying to increment the patent count in order to intimidate rivals and engage in racketeering. It’s about quantity to them, not quality.

Other statistics of interest:

i. U.S. losing Right Stuff in science, engineering

According to a 2010 National Science Board report, the state of science and engineering in the U.S. is still good; however, the country’s lead in the number of researchers is being challenged by China. Other science and engineering indicators in the U.S. are also being challenged by Asian countries.

ii. IBM Fluffs Patent Portfolio with Services Tech (more here)

For what seems like a zillion years running–alright, for the past 17 years now–IBM has come out as the top dog in the annual rankings of patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. A few years back, the USPTO stopped giving out data about patent counts, but market researcher IFI Patent Intelligence takes the raw patent data and dices and slices it like the patent office used to.

iii. Wikipedia Citations in Patents Up 59 Percent

Patent Librarian Michael White recently posted an interesting graph on the number of U.S. patents referencing Wikipedia articles:

The number of U.S. patents issued last year that contain one or more references to Wikipedia articles totaled 809, a 59 percent jump from 2008. Several years ago the USPTO banned patent examiners from using Wikipedia as a source of information for determining patentability of inventions. However, examiners and applicants continue to cite it.

White’s graph is shown below.

Google too is amassing patents, which makes it less than “do[ing] no evil”. Patents are about exclusion and monopoly and they tend to be inherently unethical, as a new UN report seems to suggest. From IP Watch:

The cultures of indigenous peoples have frequently been ignored when global standards on intellectual property were being set, a new United Nations report has stated.

Intellectual property issues feature prominently in State of the World’s Indigenous People, the first UN publication that aims to give a comprehensive overview of how the 370 million individuals considered as indigenous fare in terms of their health, education, income and access to employment.

Those who try to restore sanity and mend the system by denouncing patent trolls (Frenkel for example [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]) not only get sued but also get their employer sued. This new report says that Cisco too has been pressured to pay to the conspirators of patents trolls. They don’t give a damn about justice and ethics; the only language they understand is ego and currency.

Longview, Texas, lawyer T. John “Johnny” Ward Jr. has settled the defamation suit he filed against Cisco Systems Inc. over a posting on the Patent Troll Tracker blog.

That Oct. 18, 2007, posting by Patent Troll Tracker blogger Richard Frenkel — then a Cisco in-house lawyer — had alleged that Ward and Longview lawyer Eric Albritton conspired with the Eastern District of Texas clerk’s office to alter the filing date of an infringement suit, allegations denied by all.

The settlement in John Ward Jr. v. Cisco Systems Inc. came a month before the suit was set for trial in U.S. District Judge Jimm Larry Hendren’s court in the Western District of Arkansas. Hendren signed an order on Jan. 11 dismissing the suit with prejudice, subject to terms of a settlement agreement.

Frenkel himself has been off the hook for several months now [1, 2]. However, he lost his job for ‘daring’ to denounce parasites like Ray Niro [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], who should probably be locked up or sentenced to exile.


Makes routers, not patent war

Firm of Bill Gates’ Father Accused of Enabling Looting of $500,000,000, Microsoft Tax Dodge Goes to Olympia, Department of Justice Prioritises Financial Fraud

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Fraud, Microsoft at 7:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft cronies

Summary: Gates Senior (shown above) potentially caught in another scandal; Microsoft’s practices of not paying tax finally get the wrath of Washington and memories of Microsoft’s financial fraud are returning

ON SEVERAL occasions in the past we wrote about K&L Gates [1, 2, 3], which houses 1,900 lawyers in 33 offices. They have enormous power in this nation. As the name may suggest, the father of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is in there helping his son (Microsoft is a K&L Gates client).

According to this item from the news, a $500,000,000 “looting” was “enabled by law firm and partner”.

Guess which law firm?

Marc Kirschner, the bankruptcy trustee overseeing the liquidation of the defunct Latrobe firm, filed an amended complaint in Allegheny County Friday against K&L Gates and partner Sanford Ferguson that alleges Ferguson conducted a substandard internal probe into allegations that Podlucky was engaged in major fraud when he ran the company.

Mike Rick, a spokesman for K&L Gates, had no comment on the new filing.

Ha!

Let us not forget that the Gates Foundation, which both Bill Gates and his father are most deeply involved in, is a tool for evading tax. Felonious families are very skilled at using their money for reputation laundering (or PR) and there are many other examples.

And speaking of which, Mr. Reifman, who used to work for Microsoft, carries on with his mission to expose Microsoft’s massive tax dodge [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. Here is his latest update:

Microsoft Tax Dodge Heads to Olympia

On Monday, we made a virtual road trip to Olympia, mailing letters to the entire Washington State Legislature about Microsoft’s $1.24 billion tax dodge.

The Legislature just got into session for what looks to be an ugly year. Basically, there’s a $2.6 billion deficit and as the Seattle Times put it: “nothing but bad choices”.

Financial fraud has just been called “a top DOJ priority”, so it is time for the DOJ (unfortunately filled with Microsoft cronies [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]) to look again at Microsoft’s financial fraud, which a Microsoft insider helped expose a decade ago [1, 2, 3]. This was never properly resolved and Microsoft’s CFO decided to quit two months ago. Someone from the SEC or the IRS ought to make a visit.

As Customers Hang Up on Windows Mobile, Microsoft Turns to Mobile Linux FUD

Posted in FUD, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 7:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft’s change of tactics and marketing pitch is being noticed by more and more people

JUST OVER a week ago we pointed out that Microsoft is using FUD tactics against Linux phones. Microsoft insists that Linux will suffer a defeat in phones “because, you know, Windows Mobile is doing *so* well now,” Glyn Moody says very sarcastically. Windows Mobile is a disaster. In response to the exact same FUD from Microsoft (Robert Bach), Groklaw wrote: “We are deep into listing the contents of all the exhibits admitted in the Comes v. Microsoft antitrust case, for historians, and if you go to page 4 of our Exhibits by Numbers collection, look for Exhibit 9436 [PDF], where you will find a slide presentation by Steve Winfield at Microsoft using that same technique for FUD against Linux. Note pages 3-8 in particular, which is what to say to customers if they say they love Linux.” We have already written about this Winfield presentation where he also endorses bribes.

Here is a new complaint from Windows Mobile developers. [hat tip: Tony Manco]

So imagine you have created Windows Mobile apps and you have sold many of them through “Windows Marketplace for Mobile”, so many that in fact Microsoft owes you several thousand dollars. Of course considering how lame Marketplace is (still many issues, still many problems, still English apps not visible in foreign stores, etc etc) the fact that you even sold so many apps is big achievement.

So you would think that now you can pay your bills by this money that you earned off Windows Mobile apps. Wrong! Microsoft is not paying:

I STILL HAVEN’T BEEN PAID … and I have sold $1000′s Also ‘Not eligible for revenue payout’ has suddenly appeared whereas when I last checked mid December I was infact eligible. Please can somebody competent please look into this. I have bills to pay and spent $1000s on submitting my apps.

Yes, Microsoft is a terrible partner.

Watch out for more mobile Linux FUD from Microsoft’s AstroTurfer Michael Gartenberg. When these people try Linux or buy Linux, this is often done in order to mock GNU/Linux. They pretend to be “curious” and the outcome is always the same.

More Nations Make Statements Against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, So Microsoft Advertises ‘Upgrades’

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 6:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: France is the latest nation to sail away from Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which is notorious for enabling full system compromise such as the one that recently targeted Google users

Germany has already recommended that people abandon Internet Explorer (this received some mainstream press coverage from the BBC) and France is doing the same. From the BBC:

France has echoed calls by the German government for web users to find an alternative to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) to protect security.

Certa, a government agency that oversees cyber threats, warned against using all versions of the web browser.

The BBC did not let this message just be. One of our readers wrote to tell us that the BBC advertises new software from Microsoft. “The BBC is falling short,” he wrote. “The Microsofter, Cliff Evans, and the BBC are being misleading to the point where one could almost call it prevarication:” [quote from the above]

Microsoft told BBC News that IE8 was the “most secure browser on the market” and people should upgrade.

Cliff Evans, head of security and privacy, said that so far the firm had only seen malicious code that targeted the older version of its browser, IE6.

“Even though MSIE 8 is just as vulnerable,” points out our reader. Here is the direct link:

Microsoft: upgrade to IE8, even though it’s vulnerable

Microsoft is advising its customers to upgrade to Internet Explorer 8 – even though the latest version of its browser is vulnerable to a serious security attack.

The software giant issued a statement urging people to upgrade their browser, after the zero-day exploit that was used to attack companies such as Google went public.

There is also this one in the news:

Internet Explorer vulnerable on Windows 7

So it seems that an Internet Explorer zero day vulnerability allowed the back door to be opened that resulted in the hack attack on Google and many others that has received such publicity this week.

The BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones, who is typically very sympathetic towards the convicted monopolist, adds:

This terrible piece of PR for Microsoft comes just as the IE browser which had almost total control of the market starts to come under pressure – not just from the open-source Mozilla Firefox, but from Google’s Chrome.

Regarding the BBC/Microsoft, our reader adds: “This is the same deception used with other vulnerabilities on the same application, other applications and even operating systems. This is costing businesses, governments and people lots of money. In borderline cases, this deception is costing people their livelihoods.”

“Exploit code for potent IE zero-day bug goes wild,” showed The Register (UK) on Friday, demonstrating that Microsoft is still negligent. There is more from The Inquirer, which is also a British publication.

Watch this article from yesterday at The Register (the same issue was pointed out by others):

British government ignores MS browser fears

France and Germany have already told their citizens to avoid Microsoft’s Internet Explorer because of a critical hole in the browser, so what does the British government think?

[...]

Microsoft confirmed that the hole was used in the attacks against Google and 33 other companies believed to come from China.

The British government is deep in the pockets of Microsoft, as we pointed out numerous times before, e.g. [1, 2, 3].

“Dump Internet Explorer Now,” says this new headline from SJVN.

The latest attacks on Google have made it clear. Internet Explorer is a set of security holes masquerading as a Web browser. Get rid of it. Now.

Another person from IDG points out that “Microsoft Support Policies Guarantee Insecure Products” (Microsoft once said: “Our products just aren’t engineered for security”). From the article:

I’ve written it many times before: Nobody is more generous with support lifecycles than Microsoft. Operating system security updates are provided for about 10 years. Are Linux or Mac OS versions from 10 years ago still being updated? The answer is no, and not for a long time.

Combine this with a couple of side-policies of Microsoft’s: They don’t issue new browsers with OS service packs and they support the browser that comes with the operating system and the implication is that browsers also get supported for about 10 years. The technical term for this is “Nearly Unlimited Technical Support” or NUTS.

And it’s not just browsers. Because Windows 2000 is still supported, so is Outlook Express 5.5 (possibly 5.01 as well, I can’t quite confirm it).

That’s not the key point however. When Microsoft is leasing licences to run binaries and charges extra each time these binaries evolve, then no wonder it must handle this support nightmare. Some people stay with older binaries in order to save money. Free software does not have these problems.

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