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01.28.10

Links 28/1/2010: Netflix Petition; KDE SC 4.3.5 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • What Does It Take to Be a Linux Guru?

    What are the criteria for being a “Linux guru?” Is the breadth of your skills, the depth of your knowledge, or the the size of your collection of early kernel 1.x CDs? It’s a question on the tongues of many Linux bloggers this week, and everyone seems to have their own list of attributes. One common theme: the ability to help out others. Also, it’s probably best not to call yourself a guru, even if you think you are one.

  • The Importance of Fitting In

    Free software has come this far by just being itself. We use it because we like it. Should we be focusing more on integrating with Windows in order to increase market share, or should we just let nature take its course and those who want to switch will? In the end, a majority will “see the light.”

    [...]

    Perhaps it’s time we took a page out of Microsoft’s book and started to “embrace, extend and extinguish” proprietary data formats and software. Integrate ourselves with them, and once we have the power, break them. Aside from the fact that this approach is horrible, nasty and completely unethical, the danger is whether in the end we would actually switch to totally free solutions, or continue to use those old familiar encumbered ones. We might have the market share, but then we’d have a whole new battle on our hands.

    One thing is certain, however. Integration with existing systems has helped to rocket the popularity of Linux and make it much more attractive to business, education, government and even end users. If you’re a developer of free software, keep doing what you’re doing. Make great products and the users will come. Consider integrating with existing systems to make your software more attractive, but just don’t lose yourself along the way.

  • LCA: Cooperative management of package copyright and licensing data

    Kate Stewart is the manager of the PowerPC team at Freescale. As such, she has a basic customer service problem to solve: people who buy a board from Freescale would like to have some sort of operating system to run on it. That system, of course, will be Linux; satisfying this requirement means that Freescale must operate as a sort of Linux distributor. At her linux.conf.au talk, Kate talked about a new initiative aimed at helping distributors to ensure that they are compliant with the licenses of the software they are shipping.

  • To: Netflix, Inc.

    We, the undersigned, are current or prospective subscribers of Netflix that would like the “Watch Now” feature available to Linux users. Linux users are part of a new trend in OS use around the world. Interoperability with Linux will be very much appreciated and beneficial to all. To remain partisan by making use of the “Watch Now” feature for Windows users and possibly Mac OS users only, is not a fair practice to your subscribers.

  • Schedule of talks for SCALE 8X has been finalized

    The schedule of weekend talks for SCALE 8X has been finalized and are posted on the SCALE web site at http://www.socallinuxexpo.org. The topics are interesting and wide-ranging – check them out! The schedule for the Friday specialty sessions (OSSIE, WIOS and the Try-It Lab) will be posted in the next week.

  • LinuxTag 2010, June 9-12, Berlin

    LinuxTag has been held regularly for 15 years, longer than any other Linux fair in Europe. More than 200 free software projects and companies participate, more than in any other European Linux event. LinuxTag attracts nearly 12,000 visitors — an unrivalled record. Since its beginnings in 1995, visitors and exhibitors have valued the credibility and expertise behind LinuxTag.

  • Retraction: Five *nix Myths Busted

    2. *nix Systems are More Secure – I love the confident security of *nix systems. They are collectively the most secure systems on the planet. Unlike the MacOS and Windows, that leak like security sieves, *nix systems arrive out of the box in a secure mode. A default install of any *nix system stands as the very picture of a bullet-proof system. The only reason why any *nix system ever gets hacked is because their system administrators are stupid. They’re the kind of people who login as root (See #5 above). When you need a system with 100% sterling security, choose *nix, you won’t be sorry.

  • Nokia

    • Nokia N900 Linux-based mobile

      FINNISH PHONE MAKER Nokia’s N900 is a Linux-based mobile device with a number of advanced features, including application multi-tasking, built-in VoIP support, stereo speakers, graphics acceleration, video output to a TV, and more.

      Announced last August and available now from Vodafone, Carphone Warehouse and Nokia’s online shop, the Nokia N900 is part of the firm’s N Series of multimedia handsets. However, it is more like a tiny computer that can make voice calls rather than a smartphone. This is demonstrated by the fact that the main screen resembles a computer desktop, and the phone features are relegated to just one application among many others.

    • 相撲外:GNU Emacs for Nokia N900
    • Breaking the Nokia Booklet. Part 2.

      Two things are clear from this experience: (1) Nokia made a very poor choice with the GMA 500, and (2) Wubi is a fantastic way to get Linux on your freedom-hating machine.

    • Breaking Nokia’s Booklet. Part 3.

      In Part 2 of this continuing series I managed to free Nokia’s Booklet 3G from the clutches of Windows using Wubi. Today we’ll be looking at a Linux distribution made specifically for netbooks — Jolicloud.

    • Nokia Q4 shows it ain’t dead yet

      Nokia had a pretty decent fourth quarter and is showing the first signs that savage cost-cutting and redundancies might just be working.

      Sales were down four per cent to €12bn and operating profit jumped 132 per cent to €1.1bn.

  • Server

    • The Technology Behind Avatar (Movie)

      James Cameron’s Avatar is now officially the top grossing movie of all time eclipsing Titanic (also by James Cameron). Probably the main reason of its huge success is the use of innovative filmmaking technology like its development of 3D viewing and stereoscopic filmmaking with cameras that were specially designed for the movie’s production. It’s amazing that Cameron wrote the scriptment for the film more than 15 years ago, but the technology available at that moment was very limited to portray his vision of the film, a major cause of the long delay of its release.

      [...]

      Creating the virtual world of Pandora required over a petabyte of digital storage (Transformers “Revenge of the Fallen” needed about 140 terabytes). The final footage for Avatar occupied 17.28 gigabytes of storage per minute. To help finish preparing the special effects sequences on time, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) was brought in, working alongside Weta Digital to create the battle sequences.

  • Kernel Space

    • Just what is “Linux”?

      Think about it…technically you can break the operating system into many constituent pieces:

      * Kernel
      * HAL
      * Desktop
      * Subsytems

      and more. You can also break the human body into pieces:

      * Brain
      * Eyes
      * Skeleton
      * Nerves
      * Heart

      and more. And like the operating system, each piece is worthless alone. What exactly can you do with the Linux kernel without the other pieces around it? Not much. There are plenty of desktop environments and window managers available, but none of them will run without X Windows, which will not run without the kernel.

    • Kernel Log: Coming in 2.6.33 (Part 2) – Storage

      Extended discard support means that Linux now supports ATA TRIM, which can increase SSD lifespan and throughput. New additions to the Linux kernel include HA solution DRBD and drivers for HP, LSI and VMware storage hardware. The new kernel version, expected in early March, also includes many minor improvements to the code for the Btrfs, Ext4 and ReiserFS file systems.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Running Nine USB-Based Displays On Linux

        Last May we were briefed that DisplayLink would provide open-source driver support on Linux. DisplayLink is a company that makes graphics processors capable of powering high resolution displays that work over a USB connection. This technology is found within products from Hewlett-Packard, ASUS, Samsung, and others. Since last year DisplayLink and the Linux community has been working on a LGPLv2 software stack and in June first released a frame-buffer and X.Org driver and since has released other improvements.

      • AMD Catalyst 10.1 Driver For Linux Released

        Catalyst 10.1 for Linux continues to lack X Server 1.7 support, but the Linux 2.6.32 kernel may work with this release. Like past months, the Catalyst 10.1 driver is another unexciting driver update. AMD Eyefinity might also be working on Linux, or at least the ability to use three monitors from a single AMD Radeon HD 5000 series graphics card, but that hasn’t been officially shared. Catalyst 10.2 will be a bit more exciting as Ubuntu 10.04 nears, but not without some disappointments too.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • KDE Software Compilation 4.3.5 Release Announcement

        KDE Community Ships Fifth Translation and Service Release of the 4.3 Free Desktop, Containing Numerous Bugfixes, Performance Improvements and Translation Updates

        January 26th, 2010. Today, KDE has released a new version of the KDE Software Compilation (KDE SC). This month’s edition of KDE SC is a bugfix and translation update to KDE SC 4.3. KDE SC 4.3.5 is a recommended upgrade for everyone running KDE SC 4.3.4 or earlier versions. As the release only contains bugfixes and translation updates, it will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone. Users around the world will appreciate that KDE SC 4.3.5 is more completely translated. KDE 4 is already translated into more than 50 languages, with more to come.

      • A Look at KDE 4.4

        The latest version of my favorite desktop, KDE SC 4.4, is due to be released in just a couple of weeks. Even though it’s still in beta, I just couldn’t keep my hands off of it, being the desktop geek that I am. Let’s take a quick look at how KDE 4.4 is shaping up during the last leg of its development phase.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Activity Journal Shows Your Recent Computer Work

        Linux only: It’s still a work in progress, but GNOME Activity Journal already offers a nice at-a-glance look at your file work over the last few days, offering usage charts, image previews, and quick file access.

  • Distributions

    • And the best Linux desktop distro of all is…

      You don’t have to go with Dell though. Other major hardware vendors like HP and Lenovo also offer pre-installed Linux on desktop systems. I’m loath to recommend them though because, frankly, they make it very hard to find their Linux-powered systems. Your better choice is to go with a smaller company that stands behind its Linux PCs like Los Alamos Computers, system76, or ZaReason. For a more comprehensive list of companies that sell computers with Linux ready to go see LXer’s Pre-Installed Linux Database.

    • RevLin OS: Would You Use It?

      We’ve just got an email which points out that there is going work for a new operating system called RevLin OS. This is more of an announcement, because there are no downloads available for now, so I couldn’t test it. But I really liked the concept – I must say that it sounds much better than Chrome OS, so I decided to share this news with you. Why better than Chrome OS? Read on!

    • A Round of Thoughts

      RevLin OS sounds promising. It may be the bit of “new” that the *nix world needs, and it may wake all the freetards up. Essentially, it’s a reworking of the Linux kernel that keeps the driver framework, and has the same system calls. This makes it binary compatible with Linux, while not suffering from the size and complexity issues of Linux (or so we hope since it hasn’t been released yet). Currently, it is unclear whether or not this monster will use X11 or some other display framework, but we know that the GUI can be scripted with JS, HTML, and CSS. This would no doubt start a flurry of distro building by the FOSS community, and within a year or so someone would have RevLin running his toaster.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Goals and gold.

        First, thanks to Greg for an excellent, thoughtful post on Fedora’s goals. I remember well — and I’m sure Greg does too — the FUDCon in Raleigh in January 2008 where members of the Fedora community sat down to try to distill “what Fedora stands for” into a powerful message. The result was the freedom, friends*, features, first mantra — guiding values that we’ve enshrined on our Foundations page.

      • CentOS Server Evaluation

        Evaluating the CentOS Enterprise Server

        There are a number of popular choices for Linux enterprise level servers including CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian, Slackware and others including Red Hat Enterprise. This series of articles on a choice for a Linux Server will compare several of these Linux distributions to examine the advantages and disadvantages of each distribution. What is important to recognize in this evaluation is that how you view advantages and disadvantages are dependent upon the expertise of your Linux administrators and the level of support you need to maintain your servers.

    • Debian Family

      • 5 reasons why Ubuntu Lucid Lynx may be a game changing release.

        It is not the most profitable of those in its class, neither is it the oldest nor the classiest. However, it is the most popular and that popularity is set to increase come this April with the release of the LTS edition of Ubuntu Linux.

        All things being equal, the release of Ubuntu Lucid Lynx is likely to be a game changer in its own right and help increase the awareness among more people about the existence of alternatives to Windows. The following five factors will definitely play a crucial role in this regard.

      • Nouveau From 2.6.33 Prepped For Ubuntu 10.04

        Back in November we shared that Nouveau would finally be pulled into the Ubuntu 10.04 kernel as up to this point Canonical had employed the feature-limited and obfuscated open-source NVIDIA driver known as xf86-video-nv. The Nouveau driver became an option with Ubuntu 9.04, but it was using Nouveau’s DDX user-space mode-setting code paths that have since been dropped upstream.

      • Ubuntu: Enterprise Management Getting Easier?

        Of course, I realize new product launches don’t guarantee customer or IT administrator success. WorksWithU plans to track a range of Ubuntu enterprise deployments more closely in 2010. Hopefully, our efforts will reveal best practices for remotely, proactively managing Ubuntu in the enterprise.

      • Meetings, Minutes, and Mootbot

        Back in March 2009, I started hanging out in the #ubuntu-meeting channel on Freenode to see first hand how IRC meetings in the Ubuntu Community are conducted. I noticed there were specific actions/commands that were being used in the meetings; I wanted why and what they were, so I asked :-) .

      • Ubuntu Firefox shuns Google for Yahoo! search

        With regulators set to approve Yahoo!’s search pact with Microsoft, this means that Redmond will power the future of Firefox on Ubuntu, a combination with decidedly anti-Redmond connotations. The ultimate irony is that Microsoft will essentially be paying people to build a Linux distro.

      • An Open Letter to Mozilla: RE Ubuntu

        This morning I noticed a link to this article that caught me off guard: Ubuntu is changing it’s default search selection in Firefox for the next release to Yahoo because they are going to pay more (than Google does). Now, I don’t much care for Yahoo (especially now that they use Microsoft for search since I REALLY don’t like Microsoft ;) but this is a wakeup call and this needs to be said:

        Mozilla needs to make an official repository for Ubuntu.

      • Yahoo to be default search engine in Firefox for Ubuntu Lucid Lynx.

        I have also heard that Yahoo’s privacy policies are much better than that of Google. What I find actually interesting is that sometime last year, Yahoo! reached a deal with Microsoft to have Bing power Yahoo! searches. Now we are going to see Yahoo! being the default search provider for Ubuntu. This will really be interesting. Only time will tell how this turns out.

      • The choices inside Ubuntu

        Some people will object to the deal automatically, because, last year, Microsoft emerged as one of Yahoo!’s major partners. As I write, I am sure that others are already reflexively ranting about how Ubuntu is inching closer to Microsoft, citing its use of Mono applications as further proof of this alleged trend.

        But that seems a relatively remote concern. What makes me uneasy is that the change is apparently being done solely for business reasons.

      • Ubuntu Could Profit From Both Yahoo, Google

        Talk about a careful balancing act involving Ubuntu. Canonical appears to have financial relationships with both Google and Yahoo. Here’s how the relationships — involving Ubuntu 10.04 (Lucid Lynx) and Google Chrome OS — are shaping up. Plus, the potential financial implications for Canonical.

      • Feeling the heat
      • The Mint Newsletter – issue 99
  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Zoho opens up Zoho Discussions for open source

    Zoho recently announced that they are making Zoho Discussions available for free to open source projects. Zoho Discussions is an online forum tool that provides a way for people to discuss various aspects of a project.

  • Apache SpamAssassin Takes a New Route in Version 3.30

    Spammers beware! A new version of Apache SpamAssassin has you in its sights.

    After over two and half years of development, SpamAssassin 3.3.0 is now available, providing mail administrators with new features to better stem the flow of spam into their organizations.

  • Zap Provides Open Source Wireless Testing

    “Zap” is a wireless performance tool, previously used for internal development and testing by Ruckus Wireless. Ruckus has released the Zap source code under a modified BSD license to provide the tool to the world, and hopefully spur development of this and other related analysis tools. Zap measures performance, statistically, to provide insight into the true nature of how a network can perform.

  • How To Spread Word About My FOSS Project?
  • DIY Bio: A Growing Movement Takes on Aging

    A movement is growing quietly, steadily, and with great speed. In basements, attics, garages, and living rooms, amateurs and professionals alike are moving steadily towards disparate though unified goals. They come home from work or school and transform into biologists: do-it-yourself biologists, to be exact.

  • PL: Police considers moving to open source

    The Polish Police force wants to increase its use of free and open source software in order to cut costs, announces Andrzej Trela, Deputy Chief of Police and responsible for logistics, in an interview in the Police force’s monthly newsletter, published on 15 January.

    [...]

    The latter remark suggests to the Polish Foundation on Free and Open Source (Fwioo), that the police might use the savings on proprietary licences to pay for innovation. The Fwioo mentions the interview on the website of their project on Transparent and Correct Public IT Tenders (PPIT).

  • Why IPv6 is Essential for Your Freedom

    IPv4 addresses are running out. There is no second opinion about this – at the current rate of allocation, there will be no unallocated addresses by the end of 2011. Even if some of the large allocated, but unused ranges will be given up by their current owners, this could only delay the exhaustion by a very limited time. And after that, any newcomers to the Internet wishing to have IPv4 connectivity will either have to negotiate to purchase blocks of addresses from someone, or use whatever addresses their provider gives them, which increasinly will be fewer and fewer addresses, or none at all, if their ISP has implemented…

  • Mozilla

  • Sun/Oracle

    • New: OpenOffice.org 3.2.0 Release Candidate 4 (build OOO320_m11) available
    • Oracle will boost MySQL, release Cloud Office suite

      OpenOffice.org: OpenOffice.org will be managed as an independent business unit, Screven said, with Sun’s development and support teams retained. Oracle will continue to support the free community edition of OpenOffice.org. However, Oracle also plans to deliver a cloud offering called Oracle Cloud Office, which Screven said had been under development for a while. Screven did not comment on the fate of StarOffice, the paid, supported version of OpenOffice.org that competes with IBM’s own OpenOffice.org-based Lotus Symphony.

    • Oracle reveals strategy for GlassFish, MySQL, OpenOffice, and Solaris

      OpenOffice will continue to receive investment and be managed within a separate business unit. There will be a focus on integrating OpenOffice with business intelligence and content management offerings.

    • Ellison to recruit thousands for Sun integration army

      Oracle’s chief executive on Wednesday claimed that – far from laying off beleaguered Sun employees – his company would be hiring 2,000 additional people during the next few months.

      He reprimanded as “irresponsible” the UBS analyst who said last week that Oracle will cut up to half of Sun’s 30,000 workforce following the completion of the deal.

    • Report: Oracle plans to hire more employees than it cuts from Sun

      With Oracle’s anticipated purchase of Sun drawing near, company CEO Larry Ellison disclosed plans to hire 2,000 engineering and sales employees – more workers than it’s expected to cut from Sun’s workforce, according a The Wall Street Journal report posted Tuesday.

    • 3D Acceleration in VirtualBox Guests

      In any case, 3D applications were certainly usable, even if they didn’t perform flawlessly, in my virtual machines. This is a huge improvement over the past, when using Ubuntu meant saying goodbye to a range of Windows-only applications that require hardware acceleration.

      Ideally, the day will come when I can run every application I want natively on Ubuntu. But until then, user-friendly and feature-rich virtualization platforms like VirtualBox will remain a vitally important component of the Linux world.

    • VirtualBox 3.1.4 Beta Brings 40+ Fixes

      VirtualBox 3.2 isn’t yet around, but the Sun (well, Oracle) engineers are going to be releasing a 3.1.4 release shortly. To get some tests out there prior to the final release they have issued a beta of VirtualBox 3.1.4, which offers 40 fixes/additions. VirtualBox 3.1.4 is positioned to have SMP stability fixes, 3D support improvements, fixes for the Linux 2.6.32 kernel, video mode improvements for X.Org / XFree86, and various other changes.

  • CMS

  • Releases

  • Licensing

    • Alfresco to drop GPL, goes LGPL

      Alfresco say that the brand is now established and they are ready to move to a more permissive licence. The big difference between the LGPL and GPL is that the LGPL allows proprietary and closed code to be linked to the software. Companies have used the inability of GPL code to be linked to proprietary code as a cornerstone of dual-licensing, where they make the code open source, but sell licences to users who wish to integrate it with proprietary components.

  • Programming

Leftovers

  • Linux Motherboard Follies
  • Solid State Drives Get Faster with TRIM
  • 9 Hilarious USB keys
  • Dish Network wins $51M judgment against alleged satellite-TV pirate

    Colorado’s Dish Network Corp. and its sister companies have won a $51 million court judgment against a man they accused of being a satellite TV pirate who helped people steal the companies’ transmissions.

  • The State Goes Up Against The Slate

    YouTube users will be able to submit questions to President Obama via Google (NSDQ: GOOG) Moderator, which will be answered by the president during a live interview next week. MSNBC.com has a bulked up player, which will let users search for for keywords in the president’s speech, among other features. And CBSNews.com promises to let users participate in real-time polls.

  • Science

  • Security

    • Nebraska Man Admits DDoS Attack on Church of Scientology

      A Nebraska man confessed to his role in a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack targeting Websites for the Church of Scientology.

    • Bank sues victim of $800,000 cybertheft

      A Texas bank is suing a customer hit by an $800,000 cybertheft incident in a case that could test the extent to which customers should be held responsible for protecting their online accounts from compromises.

      The incident, which was first reported by blogger Brian Krebs this week, involves Lubbock-based PlainsCapital bank and its customer Hillary Machinery Inc. of Plano.

    • UK

      • Home Office spawns new unit to expand internet surveillance

        The Home Office has created a new unit to oversee a massive increase in surveillance of the internet, The Register has learned, quashing suggestions the plans are on hold until after the election.

        The new Communications Capabilities Directorate (CCD) has been created as a structure to implement the £2bn Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP), sources said.

      • Just how useful is the DNA database in crime detection?

        That’s hardly a “vital” tool now is it? Of course, we’ll be reminded that if it wasn’t for assuming guilt and taking DNA samples of anyone you arrest then some murder from 25 years might not have been solved, but still, little more than a half of one percent of crime relies on the DNA database?

      • Motorist receives £50 on the spot fine.. for blowing his nose in stationary car

        A BUSINESSMAN has been fined by cops for blowing his nose in a car.

        Dad-of-two Michael Mancini pulled out a tissue while he was stuck in stationary traffic – with his handbrake on.

      • BBC ‘sacked popular radio presenter after row with local council over £25 parking fine’

        Gareth Evans was sacked after allegedly threatening to criticise his local council on air over a minor parking ticket row involving his heavily pregnant wife.

        Evans, 39, a popular DJ at BBC Radio Sheffield, detailed the dispute on Facebook, revealing how his wife Joanna was given a £25 ticket for parking badly in an ‘empty’ town centre car park during a shopping trip.

        When parking her Land Rover, she slightly straddled another bay to ensure she had sufficient room to get out. She returned later to find a fixed penalty notice on her windscreen.

        Mr Evans wrote on Facebook about his family’s ‘war’ with the council and their failed attempt to have the fine overturned.

        But a senior official at Bassetlaw Council in Nottinghamshire was so concerned about comments that he wrote to BBC management.

      • Police to visit every home in borough of Bexley to stop crime

        Every household in a London ­borough is to be visited by police officers in a scheme to connect with local people.

  • Environment

    • Irish Intel chips get fertiliser

      GROWER OF SEMICONDUCTOR WAFERS Intel had to shut part of its Irish plant for a while because of the extreme cold and the fact the local council polluted the water supply with fertiliser.

  • Finance

    • Wall Street reform could stay in spotlight for months

      The extra security measure, reported by the New York Post, comes as the United States’ biggest banks have never before attracted so much public outrage.

    • Mass sell-offs a possibility being mulled by Wall St giants

      Obama, attacking a ‘binge of irresponsibility, wants to ban banks which take customer deposits from betting on shares with their own money – proprietary trading – and running hedge funds and private equity groups

    • AIG restricts use of corporate aircraft

      Firms such as AIG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Morgan Stanley, which have taken part in U.S. taxpayer funded bailouts, have been under close scrutiny for being lenient with executive pay and perks.

    • Federal Reserve Moral Hazard Smoking Gun: In August 2008 Goldman Was Willing To Tear Up AIG Derivative Contracts, Offered To Take Haircut

      As observant readers will recall, a week ago we pointed out a letter in which the New York Fed’s Steven Manzari instructed AIG to stand down on all discussions with counterparties on “tearing up/unwinding CDS trades on the CDO portfolio.” At the time we focused on the word “stand down” as an indication of the Fed’s lead role in the process. At this point there is no doubt that the FRBNY, together with its law firm, Davis Polk, were in the pilot’s seat during the entire AIG negotiation, and while Tim Geithner may not have been the responsible man for this, someone must have been – and for the record, our money is a double or nothing on recently promoted FRBNY Senior Vice President Sarah Dahlgren, who as of January 21st is in charge of the Fed’s Special Investments [AIG] Management Group.

    • Overheard: Goldman-AIG Saga

      As everybody knows, AIG got a huge government bailout in September 2008 to help make payments on derivatives contracts with banks, including Goldman. Yet in the previous month, Goldman approached AIG about “tearing up” its contracts, according to a November 2008 analysis by BlackRock, then an adviser to the New York Fed.

    • Goldman Sachs Is The System – The System Is Goldman Sachs

      Now Goldman Sachs is talking about giving up their Federal Bank Charter as well as becoming a private company, giving up their public status. Is this an effort to wield their power without any public scrutiny at all? Just think about it. When Halliburton was taking a lot of hits from the media and the public, they simply gave up their American corporate citizenship and became a Dubai corporation – no longer open to domestic scrutiny or regulatory oversight. Is GS planning a similar move to shield their operations with much more limited regulatory oversight and no public scrutiny without having to give up their American citizenship? Only time will tell but during that time, we, the people can take back control and our system from all those who threaten our Democracy.

    • Volcker whacks Goldman Sachs

      A proposed trading crackdown backed by former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker overshadowed Goldman Sachs’ biggest-ever profit Thursday.

      New York-based Goldman (GS, Fortune 500) posted a gaudy fourth-quarter profit of nearly $5 billion. That number beat the Wall Street analyst consensus estimate by more than $3 a share, thanks to an unusual reduction in employee compensation that handed shareholders a $3 billion after-tax bonus.

    • Citizen Goldman-Sachs, Psychopath

      Which demands another question: what happens to actual breathing/bleeding human beings who sell $40 billion of something they know to be toxic? What penalties would we extract from any person who then made bets about how long it would take for that toxic waste to kill other “citizens” of its kind?

      Never mind the millions of actual, living, breathing human beings left unemployed, their children born in debt to pay for the latest round of CEO bonuses. It sure has been a good year for Goldman-Sachs! But I digress.

    • Goldman, Morgan Stanley May Drop Bank Status, NYT Reports

      Goldman would be the biggest beneficiary of such a move because it makes huge profits from proprietary trading and runs many private equity and hedge funds, the article noted.

    • Timothy P. Carney: Beware the Goldman Sachs populist

      Bank of America’s K Street lobbyists include Obama administration alumnus Oscar Ramirez and Chuck Schumer’s former press secretary Izzy Klein, both at the Podesta Group, co-founded by John Podesta, who served as Obama’s transition director, and has visited the White House more than 15 times.

    • Goldman under investigation for its securities dealings

      One of Congress’ premier watchdog panels is investigating Goldman Sachs’ role in the subprime mortgage meltdown, including how the firm sold securities backed by risky home loans while it simultaneously bet that those bonds would lose value, people familiar with the inquiry said Friday.

    • SEPTA sues Goldman Sachs over bonuses

      SEPTA has filed suit against Goldman Sachs investment bank, which mananged its pension funds. The suit claims the bonuses paid to Goldman Sachs executives harmed SEPTA’s returns.

    • Goldman Sachs, in cross hairs, mulls options

      Public anger over Goldman’s $16.2 billion in salaries and bonuses after the multibillion-dollar taxpayer rescue of the financial system has not subsided.

      The company’s profitability, and suspicions that its deep links with governments around the world gave it unfair advantages, made it a symbol of Wall Street greed and excess. Rolling Stone writer Matt Taibbi described it as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity.”

    • Goldman Sachs to The Little People: “Let Them Eat Cake and Bullets”

      As Goldman Sachs prepared to announce its fourth quarter earnings and employee compensation levels yesterday, the bank had bomb-sniffing dogs and police barricades on hand at its New York City headquarters, the New York Post reports.

    • Goldman Sachs calls in the sniffer dogs

      Relations between the banks, the US Government and the public are now in new and dangerous territory with the New York Post reporting that Goldman Sachs used police barricades and called in bomb-sniffing dogs when it announced its record $4.95 billion earnings result. So while the rest of America is struggling, Goldman Sachs continues to rake it in.

  • Censorship/Civil Rights

    • Uphold talkbacker’s anonymity in defamation trial, court says

      The Nazareth District Court has upheld the right of the Walla Web portal to refuse to hand over the IP addresses of commenters accused of defaming a journalist.

    • The Snoopy Google Toolbar

      No one is accusing Google of being Big Brother, but it certainly was eye-opening when Ben Edelman, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School, shows that newer versions of Google Toolbar, versions 6.3 and above, was tracking Internet Explorer 8 users actions even when it was ‘off.’

      Of course this begs the question, “Is there someone out there who ever turns the extremely useful Google Toolbar off?” I never have. Still, it is disturbing that this bug ever made it to the public in the first place. I mean, what part of ‘off’ did Google’s developers not get?

    • Twitter working to thwart censorship

      Micro-blogging site Twitter is developing technology that will prevent government censorship after Iran and China moved to censor its users.

      [...]

      Williams said Twitter had an advantage in evading government censors over a singular website as its streams are distributed through a number of outlets, including syndicating sites and mobile applications.

    • InternetNZ rejects internet filtering

      InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) has released a position paper rejecting centralised internet filtering as an acceptable approach for New Zealand.

  • Death of Newspapers

    • After Three Months, Newsday’s Grand Paywall Experiment Has 35 Paying Customers. Yes, 35.

      Like many, we were amazed at the decision by Cablevision to try charging $5 per week (yes, per week) for its paywall to Newsday content online. The newspaper itself is not particularly good and doesn’t really provide all that much in the way of excess value compared to what else is out there. And $5/week is extremely high. Yet, even so, we’re a bit surprised that after three months, the paper has a grand total of 35 paying subscribers. Yes, 35. I’m sure that extra $175/week comes in quite handy. Oh right, they also saved on the salary of their popular columnist who quit, rather than have his work hidden behind a paywall.

    • Daily Mirror Blocks NewsNow; Will It Start Paying Its Own Sources?

      We’ve already described how ridiculously hypocritical it is for various newspapers to block UK aggregator service NewsNow from linking to their articles in its paid subscription service, but apparently it’s a difficult concept for some to grasp. The UK’s Daily Mirror has now started blocking access to NewsNow’s crawlers, claiming that its only problem is the fact that NewsNow makes money off subscriptions. If it wasn’t making any money, the paper wouldn’t have a problem.

    • The Hugh Cudlipp lecture: Does journalism exist?

      As Scott said 90 years ago: “What a chance for the newspaper!” If we turn our back on all this and at the same time conclude that there is nothing to learn from it because what ‘they’ do is different – ‘we are journalists, they aren’t: we do journalism; they don’t’ – then, never mind business models, we will be sleep walking into oblivion.

    • What’s A Bigger Entitlement Mentality? Demanding Old Business Models Must Remain… Or Liking Free Stuff?

      Apparently times are hard over at ECN Magazine. Rather than come up with compelling content to draw people in, its Technical Editor decided to pen the mother of all troll-baiting editorials. NSILMike points us to Jason Lomberg’s recent rant on The Internet Entitlement Mentality, which I think may set a record for repeating pretty much every long-debunked fallacy about online content and business models, as well as how it describes those folks who actually understand basic economics, and how free works as part of an economic ecosystem.

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Ofcom to charge terminated downloaders to appeal

      Lord Mandelson is planning to make cut off internet subscribers pay to appeal in infringement of copyright dispute resolution processes. In short, if you are cut off by Ofcom for illegally downloading, even if you’re innocent, you’ll have to pay to appeal against the decision.

      A House of Lords committee is currently going over the Dark Lord’s Digital Economy Bill. Last night, Lord Faulkner of Worcester highlighted for the committee Amendment 200A, which “allows for the possibility that subscribers may be asked for a contribution towards the costs of the appeals process”.

    • Strikes’ Policies For Infringers Debated

      As more countries weigh whether to punish serial copyright infringers by taking away their Internet access, critics debated Wednesday whether such efforts have a deterring effect. A panel discussion at the Congressional Internet Caucus’ State of the Net conference examined such laws as one awaiting final approval in France that give infringers three chances to stop before their Internet access is cut off by a court and legislation working its way through the British Parliament that would impose graduated levels of notice against infringers with the ultimate sanction being a cutoff of Internet service.

    • Yes, Three Strikes Laws Have Unintended Consequences That Even Music Industry Execs Hate

      You must use that one device exclusively. When the official WiFi went dead, I went in search of other networks, including one called “Free WiFi,” but when I accessed that, it still asked me for my username and password (which I obviously don’t have). It certainly is somewhat amusing to find out that the music industry execs are annoyed by the consequences of the law they so desperately claim they need.

    • RIAA rejects reduced fine for ‘piracy’

      THE BIG MUSIC recording companies have rejected a judge’s ruling that a central Minnesota woman found guilty of sharing 24 songs over the Internet should be ordered to pay ‘only’ $54,000.

    • Jammie Thomas Rejects Offer From RIAA To Settle For $25k Plus Request For Judge To Vacate Last Week’s Decision

      The RIAA would just like the case to be over, but doesn’t want to set the precedent, so they ask Thomass-Rasset to pay less, but the “trade” is to get the decision deleted. Thomas-Rasset quickly rejected the offer, and now it seems likely that the RIAA will reject the reduced amount and everyone will go back to trial over just the damage amount.

    • Corporate Copyright Scofflaws 0002

      The largest copyright pirates are the large corporations, particularly in the content distribution business. Yes, those companies who scream the loudest that their customers are ‘pirating’ movies, songs, books, etc. In this series, we are going to look at cases where these companies have engaged in large scare copyright infringement.

    • Tintin Fans Attacked By Tintin Lawyer

      Rodwell’s latest target is Bob Garcia, “a detective novelist, jazz musician and Tintin aficionado,” who has been ordered by British courts to hand over £35,000 or face the possibility of having his house and belongings seized. His crime: writing five essays about the character.

    • Environmental group sues Honda for “Save The Earth” trademark infringement

      All Honda wanted to do was save the Earth, one gallon of gasoline at a time. It turns out, though, that in the act of saving said Earth, the Japanese automaker stepped on a few toes – namely, those of Save the Earth Enterprises, an environmental group based in the United States.

    • Dueling Billboards Debate Wife’s Hotness

      The billboard catches the attention of drivers and truckers traveling on the highways. “YOUR WIFE IS HOT” — BETTER GET YOUR A/C FIXED,” it reads, in big bold letters.

      [...]

      Air Around the Clock, in a 28-page complaint, is accusing its competitor of trademark infringement and misrepresenting their services. The federal lawsuit also states that the advertisement is likely to cause confusion and deceive consumers as to the origin of the services.

    • If A Video Is Filmed By Chimps… Who Owns The Copyright?

      Here’s a fun one for you lawyers out there. Richard points us to a story about a movie made entirely by chimpanzees who were given cameras, which is now being broadcast on the BBC.

Clip of the Day

Nova Baire, el Linux cubano

IRC: #boycottnovell @ FreeNode: January 28th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

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

Patents Roundup: Novell Gets More Software Patents, Patent Watchtroll Gene Quinn is Sued, Microsoft Writer Slams Firefox for Protesting Against Patents

Posted in Courtroom, Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 12:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Novell persists with its Free software-incompatible agenda; prominent booster of software patents gets punishment; Microsoft’s Channel 10 writer Sarah Perez is once again badmouthing Microsoft’s competition (which promotes Ogg)

HERE is a quick rundown covering patent news, starting with Novell for obvious reasons.

Novell has just earned (at least) two more software patents. It had become an almost-monthly occurrence:

Method and mechanism for the creation, maintenance, and comparison of semantic abstracts, patent No. 7,653,530, invented by Stephen R. Carter, of Spanish Fork, Delos C. Jensen and Ronald P. Millett, of Orem, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.

[...]

Multi-epoch method for saving and exporting file system events, patent No. 7,653,645, invented by Randall K. Stokes, of Provo, assigned to Novell Inc. of Provo.

The above are just from Utah, so there are likely to be many more. Even European employees of Novell are applying for software patents.

Well, on to some good news, a loud fan of software patents is finally getting sued. Yesterday we called him “Patent Watchtroll” (not Watchdog) because of his behaviour that even Groklaw is denouncing. The Against Monopoly Web site says:

Patent lawyer Gene Quinn has been sued

by Invention Submission Corporation (dba Invent Help) in the United States Federal District Court for the Northern District of New York. The complaint … alleges that I have engaged in false and misleading advertising that has cost Invent Help business. They apparently do not like the fact that I have written about invention submission scams and have recounted the many stories that I have heard from inventors who feel they have been taken advantage of by Invent Help.

Quinn is a notorious (but inarticulate and inept) defender of the patent system…

On we move to some bad news for Bill Gates, who is investing a lot of money in highly controversial patents on life. He wants to establish another monopoly, this time on the world’s food [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8] and drugs [1, 2, 3]. We wrote about this many times before.

Glyn Moody comments on a report that indicates defeat to what he names “neo-colonialist patents”:

Patents are bad enough, because they enclose knowledge. But when they steal that knowledge from the lore of traditional medicine, it’s a double crime – adding a dash of neo-colonialism to the mix. So here’s some good news on that front:

The Opposition Division of the European Patent Office (EPO) has today revoked a patent granted to Dr. Willmar Schwabe (Schwabe) in its entirety. The patent was opposed by the African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) from South Africa acting on behalf of a rural community in Alice, in the Eastern Cape, in collaboration with the Swiss anti-biopiracy watchdog, the Berne Declaration.

That’s good news for a change. It shows that perseverance pays off and not always will the sociopaths get their way. Here is Brazil’s proposal at WIPO:

On January 15, 2010 the Permanent Mission of Brazil to the World Trade Organization and other economic organizations in Geneva submitted a proposal to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The Brazilian note verbale to WIPO notes that the proposal:

“aims at contributing to the discussion of exceptions and limitations to patent rights. . . While not purporting to cover all interfaces of the matter with development concerns, it emphasizes the importance of promoting a wide and sustained debate on the issue in the SCP”.

The President of the FFII notes that “President Lula can do any nice speech for Software Libre he wants, the Brazilian Patent Office grants software patents

The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) was there too (WIPO SCP/14). WIPO is typically a venue where maximalists of imaginary property rule supreme. If they are given leeway, they will make things worse. It is the same with the copyright cartel. Public Domain is increasingly being promoted as a substitute for copyright as default option. In the words of Glyn Moody:

“The Public Domain is the rule, copyright protection is the exception”: sounds like a good encapsulation to me – let’s start spreading it.

Yesterday we noted that Mozilla is fighting against software patents on the Web. As Carla from Linux Today points out, a lot of journalists are missing the point of Mozilla’s argument, including the Microsoft minion Sarah Perez (“she also writes for Microsoft’s Channel 10,” says her public profile), who is attacking Firefox over the call for Ogg. We previously received some complaints from readers about Perez, but we did not cover it at the time. Another person who publicly attacked Ogg is Microsoft Jack [1, 2, 3, 4] from the Guardian.

Anyway, Carla says:

What journalists are missing out on is that H.264 is a patented codec, and that the patent holders expect to collect royalties. The last H.264 patents expire in 2028. Mr. Blizzard draws some apt parallels with GIF and MP3, and the problems caused when patented, royalty-burdened technologies collide with a supposedly open and unencumbered Web. This is a must-read for anyone wanting more good information and less not-well-informed cheerleading on these issues.

There is a lot to be learned from the Rambus extortion [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. The company quietly planted a patent Trojan inside a standard everyone uses and now it is claiming billions of dollars from the whole world. nVidia is the latest victim of these ugly tactics of Rambus.

What Mozilla is doing for us is simple: it ensures that the code required to render Web pages will not require that one purchases patents, even in regions that are poor (Africa for example) and/or do not permit software patents anyway.

Novell is Still Promoting Microsoft SharePoint™ and Silverlight™

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, SUN at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

SharePoint logo

Summary: Novell’s role as a stooge in Microsoft’s agenda is shown in the latest news

ONE YEAR ago we showed that Novell helped Microsoft's SharePoint lock-in by cozying up to Microsoft SharePoint. Novell wants to sell the illusion that by helping Microsoft it is helping the adoption of GNU/Linux, but this is total nonsense. Google and IBM fight against SharePoint the right way [1, 2], whereas Novell, which receives part of its revenue from Microsoft, is just helping SharePoint.

Recently, Mr. Worthington went over to Microsoft and Novell, which in turn resorted to misinforming or pampering him. Now he is writing this:

Microsoft, Novell collaborate on LDAP access to SharePoint

Microsoft and Novell are collaborating on an identity federation solution that will allow LDAP directories to access Microsoft SharePoint.

The solution, which will ship in March, adds a service component to Novell’s Access Manager identity management system to federate identities to SharePoint, said Joshua Dorfman, Novell’s senior director of global partner marketing.

Yes, that’s Novell developing in collaboration with Microsoft. These two companies are becoming indistinguishable. Other obvious areas where Novell is developing for Microsoft are Mono and Moonlight. Microsoft is still working hard to spread Silverlight™, even using the development scam which strives to characterise Silverlight as “open source” [1, 2, 3, 4]. It’s only pretense of “open source” and the confusion proves effective. Here is another potential attempt to associate Silverlight with “open source”:

McObject® announced it has successfully ported Perst™, its open source, object-oriented embedded database system, to Microsoft’s Silverlight technology for building rich Web applications.

As mentioned in the previous post, Microsoft is now bribing Web users to try out Bing Maps, which turns out to be a Silverlight trap. One Microsoft booster (Emil) defends this assault on web standards and another one suggests it can be used as a lock-in strategy for removing or taxing other people’s phones with software patent “licensing”. GNU/Linux does not have Silverlight, except Moblin. We wrote about this before [1, 2, 3], noting that Microsoft had stabbed Novell in the back. Linspire found that out too. It’s the usual sob story of betrayed partners that Microsoft is just exploiting and then throwing to the den of wolves when it’s all done. Microsoft compares partners to "one-night stands".

A few months ago, Microsoft’s partner FASA Interactive said that Microsoft “destroys” partners. We are seeing it all the time, even with Novell. Microsoft is still squeezing out what’s left at Novell.

“Now [Novell is] little better than a branch of Microsoft”

LinuxToday Managing Editor

“Has anyone ever benefited from a Microsoft partnership,” asks one of our readers. He quotes Sun/Scott McNealy regarding that question:

Scott McNealy signs off in style

Selected previous quotes:

`We’re the only computer company that isn’t a partner in some way to Microsoft, so they have a lot less leverage over us.’

Q: So how do you feel about the proposed [Nov. 2] settlement between Microsoft and the Justice Dept.?

A: It’s garbage. We’ve now got a much more unfettered monopolist now-one that will hurt innovation and take away people’s choices.

“It’s mankind against Microsoft” November 2001

Source


“The way I put it is: Chapter 58 in most antitrust textbooks is ‘Bundling the Browser With Your Operating System.’ Chapter 1 is ‘Buying Your Distribution Channel,’” McNealy said in an interview with Newsweek magazine to be published tomorrow. “It’s like Standard Oil buying gas stations.” June 2003

Source


“As you know, I didn’t have to write a note to my engineers that said ‘security is important’” June 2003

Source


“We are in a fairly unique position in a couple of ways. We have patent amnesty/patent peace as part of our contract [...] the customer doesn’t have to anticipate a patent or an IP [intellectual property] battle between the two companies.

“I can guarantee you that Microsoft is going to have a very different view if Red Hat or SUSE desktops step on Microsoft IP-there’s no patent peace/patent amnesty and 10-year interoperability agreement between Novell and Microsoft or between Red Hat and Microsoft.” March 2005

Source

A year and a half later Microsoft essentially bought Novell’s heart, using that so-called “Microsoft IP” mentioned above.

“I’d put the Linux phenomenon really as threat No. 1.”

Steve Ballmer, 2001

Richard Stallman: “Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer Still Spineless and Greedy” (Regarding Censorship)

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Microsoft, Security, Steve Ballmer at 10:33 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ballmer money
Steve Ballmer in Windows 1.0 advertisement

Summary: Microsoft’s support of censorship is denounced by a proponent of freedom of speech

YESTERDAY, Richard Stallman wrote that “Microsoft executives tried to excuse Chinese censorship by saying it is “limited” and that wizards can get around it. It is true that wizards can get around the censorship, especially if they have help from western friends. But only a tiny fraction of Chinese internet users know how to do that; as a result, Chinese censorship achieves its goal of suppressing political opposition in China.” Stallman filed this under the title “Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer: Still spineless and greedy”

“This whole storm that led to Stallman’s remark started when Chinese crackers exploited Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE).”A writer for the New York Times previously called for a boycott of Bing. Censorship in China was the cause.

This whole storm that led to Stallman’s remark started when Chinese crackers exploited Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12]. Microsoft’s close relationship to the Chinese regime and Bill Gates' apologism (anti-Google tour) are almost a denial of the atrocities and violations of human rights (Tiananmen Square Massacre for example).

In other news, Microsoft’s search bribery [1, 2, 3, 4] for Bong [sic] (or equivalent identities of Microsoft’s poor and biased “search”) is expanding to more areas:

Microsoft Rewards Bing Map Users

[...]

The company will give you a chance to win a $100 gift card for taking it for a spin.

It is rather clear that Microsoft is trying to exploit greed. Microsoft also offered IE “bribes” in Australia (to urge people to ditch Web browsers like Firefox). The idea was that only those surfing the Web with IE might come across an award somewhere. Microsoft was slammed for doing this.

Microsoft Makes Questionable Deals in Kuwait, Malta, and Ireland

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, Bill Gates, Europe, Finance, Microsoft at 9:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Microsoft captures the brains of more young people using “partners in learning” deals with governments while Ireland gets more employees, probably in exchange for the tax haven its government provides

THIS post presents a set of developments that smack of (or remind of) misconduct. The first one is this story from the Gulf, where Microsoft recently signed a UAE MoU [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7] to exclude its competition from the market. There is a Gulf education event that Microsoft announced it would participate in earlier this month:

Microsoft Gulf today announced that it will showcase its latest academic software at GESS 2010 (Gulf Educational Supplies and Solutions), the Middle East’s premier educational supply and solutions event.

Around the very same time, watch what Microsoft is doing:

Furthering its commitment to transform Kuwait into knowledge based society, Microsoft today announced that it has signed the Partners in Learning agreement with the Ministry of Education in Kuwait for technical co-operation.

They call it a “partners in learning agreement”.

An incestuous Microsoft relationship in the Gulf can be tied to some of Bill Gates’ shady partners in trade [1, 2, 3, 4]. Here is more news coverage of this:

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by the Undersecretary of the Kuwait Ministry of Education, Tamather Al Sidirawi, and Country Manager, Microsoft Kuwait Ehab Mostafa today.

Yes, it is yet another MoU whose role is explained in Comes vs Microsoft exhibits. See this "HIGHLY CONFIDENTIAL" Microsoft presentation. Kuwait is also listed in a few [1, 2] of Microsoft’s EDGI documents from Comes vs Microsoft (there were also Kuwait seminars and mentions in some other places).

Malta

Moving on a little, something similar happens in Malta this month. We wrote about how Microsoft seized the Maltese system in [1, 2, 3] and now comes this. It is called “partners in learning”, just like in Kuwait. They are capturing schools so as to indoctrinate the young. Very typical. See for some background the following posts:

  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
  12. Microsoft Hijacks More of Education Sector in Carolina, Michigan, and Georgia

Ireland

We previously explained how Microsoft uses Ireland as a tax haven. Ireland (usually Dublin) is rewarded for the haven in the sense that Microsoft does not cut jobs over there (or cuts very little) and sometimes adds a few [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Here come more and more:

Parity is to establish a Microsoft centre of excellence with software development and consultancy positions to be filled over the next three years.

Microsoft does the same thing in Reno, which is its US-based tax haven [1, 2]. While the company fires employees all around the world, it still expands in places that enable it to dodge billions of dollars in tax.

What the Yahoo! Deal Means for Ubuntu GNU/Linux (and Mono)

Posted in FSF, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Red Hat, Search, Ubuntu at 8:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

sudo apt-get remove mono-common

Summary: Further analysis of Canonical’s deal with Yahoo! and some thoughts or suggestions

THE Yahoo!-Ubuntu deal was being discussed for hours in our IRC channel. It’s a tricky one. It means that Canonical’s priorities become more complex, as they indirectly become dependent on Microsoft for revenue (Microsoft is paying Yahoo! like it pays Novell). There are other issues through. As The Source puts it:

If that wasn’t offensive enough for you, don’t worry – there’s more: it appears that upgrades will have the default changed to Yahoo!, even if the user has set it to something else. How helpful.

The comments in Linux Today are mostly negative and while some articles focus on Mozilla, others focus on the official message alone (that it’s just Yahoo!). From Ars Technica:

Rick Spencer, the leader of Canonical’s desktop team, announced the search engine change today on a public Ubuntu mailing list. The specific terms of the agreement have not been disclosed. According to Spencer, the new default will appear in the development version of the distribution “as soon as reasonably possible” and will be in place in time for Ubuntu 10.04, which is scheduled for release in April. They have not indicated whether the change will be applied retroactively to existing installations of the current stable version, but they have confirmed that it will be changed for existing users who upgrade from the current stable version to 10.04.

From The Inquirer:

Rick Spencer, leader of Canonical’s desktop team, announced the Yahooo deal yesterday. The deal is scheduled to take effect in April and means that the FireFox web browser will default to using Yahoo’s search engine under Ubuntu.

None of the above mentions that Spencer came from Microsoft (but to be fair, we don’t know whose idea this whole deal was) and there is also a refrain from saying that Yahoo! will be just a front end to Microsoft’s Bong [sic]. Yahoo! is just some bling on the Bing.

Chips B. Malroy says (in IRC) that “Microsoft is counting on enough users to not know that Yahoo has or is becoming Bing. It’s extension of the renaming ploy, just more dishonest

Jose X wrote last night:

With the money going to Canonical developers, Microsoft isn’t just getting (a) increased brand exposure; (b) pricing power increase on adverizers; (c) management of more user’s search results (notably that of open source users); (d1) backup tracking on Windows users as well as (d2) tracking on Linux users left out of their Windows loop, (e) momentum towards their goal of eclipsing Google at some point and gaining much more powerful monopolies, (f) stock price support down the line, etc, but they will probably get as a side bonus (g) accelerated development of mono and other API, protocols, and standards that help Microsoft. Canonical is putting much of that money back into furthering other very important Microsoft goals.

Novell took the noisy direct path. For how long has Canonical had plans on taking the quiet subtle path? Was this support of Microsoft why Dell chose to deal with them? When will Canonical eat Novell’s dinner?

People need to understand that Canonical has “developers to feed and investors to satisfy” and should not be hesitant to question to what degree this or any other company has decided to fight monopolies or instead to try to suckle up to them.

The enemy of high profit seekers is customer choice and customer leverage.

There are more such comments from Jose and it does raise some doubt. Any idea what this will mean for Mono? Is Canonical less likely to dump Mono now? Jeremy Allison opines that Mono needs to go [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8], not the GIMP [1, 2, 3, 4]. Most of the polled users of Ubuntu are against the GIMP decision, the Free Software Foundation is still against Mono, and so are users and developers [1, 2, 3].

I am using Kubuntu at the moment; it comes without Mono (Microsoft) and Kubuntu 10.04 will reportedly come without the browser’s search bar pointing at Microsoft’s datacentres. In general, Ubuntu derivatives are of good use here and therein lies the value of choice.

“In general, Ubuntu derivatives are of good use here and therein lies the value of choice.”To reject something by uninstalling it from the default setup is still sending the distributor a message of endorsement. To use an analogy, if you order a hamburger with pickles and take out the pickles later at the table, the seller is still left with the impression that customers love pickles. Those pickles will never be removed by the seller as long as hamburgers are purchased without asking the seller to leave them out. The moral of our own story is that Ubuntu will continue spreading the perception that GNU/Linux users like Mono (which they don’t, according to polls) and are fine with downloading an operating system that uses Microsoft’s engine for search.

Someone from Red Hat went as far as asking me if I thought Canonical had sold out like Novell, but the immediate answer was “no”. The Ubuntu deal does not hurt rivals of Ubuntu (or GNU/Linux at large) in any way; Novell — by contrast — actively used its deal to destroy others in promise of a "safe haven" (SUSE).

Speaking of Red Hat, having created a new Web site called “Open Source”, Red Hat’s Richard Fontana does give a token of respect to “Free Software”, under the article “The Free Software Way” which Groklaw reposted and commented on:

I thought I’d introduce you to the website’s rich content by posting an article from the Law section. It’s by Richard Fontana, who is Red Hat’s Open Source Licensing and Patent Counsel, and I know him and trust him from being on the committee that he chaired in the revision of GPLv3. I can republish his article, because it’s under a Creative Commons license, Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, which means you are free to republish it and share it with others under those terms as well. I think you’ll want to, because he explains very clearly the legal rights that are implied by free, not just open source, software, and its extension to other areas, and why open source, while necessary, is not enough.

This was also covered here at The Source:

There have been lots of “fauxpen source” efforts to pretend they are Open Source by simply exposing source code. I’m sure the Gentle Reader will be shocked that Microsoft leads the way in “innovating” here: Shared Source, the MS-LPL and MS-LRL licenses, “covenants” not to sue sub-sets of users and so forth.

To me, then, open source is not a development methodology, let alone a distillation of broadly-applicable principles seen as underlying such a methodology. Rather, open source is a specific legal model of property rights transfer. To put it differently, open source is about freedom to use, modify, and share creative material that could otherwise be severely legally restricted by the author. (Source code availability is relevant because otherwise the freedom of modification would be practically impossible to exercise.)

This encapsulates so well the failure of the term “Open Source”: if open source is about freedom, then say it. Call it “Free Software”. At least call it “Free and Open Source” or “FLOSS” or “FOSS” or something that acknowledges that Freedom is what it is really all about.

Those who think that Microsoft is not the key problem are simply not paying attention. GNU/Linux must not help Microsoft in any way.

“Shouldn’t we leave the [Microsoft] elephant alone and stop poking it with sticks? Well, the problem is they aren’t going to leave us alone.”

Jeremy Allison, LCA 2010

Apple Sent iPads to ‘Important’ Writers Weeks Before Launch

Posted in Apple, FSF, Marketing, Microsoft, Vista, Vista 7, Windows at 8:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“I’ve been thinking long and hard about this, and the only conclusion I can come to is that this is ethically indistinguishable from bribery. Even if no quid-pro-quo is formally required, the gift creates a social obligation of reciprocity. This is best explained in Cialdini’s book Influence (a summary is here). The blogger will feel some obligation to return the favor to Microsoft.”

Former Microsoft manager

Summary: How Apple’s hype machine was helped by a strategic distribution of its products ahead of its heavily-embargoed release details

MICROSOFT bribed influential bloggers and journalists for positive early reviews of Vista 7 and Windows Vista. It worked. Both operating systems were praised prior to their release. Yes, even Windows Vista got some rave reviews; it’s hard to criticise someone who gifts you with a $2,000 item. Microsoft bribes AstroTurfers in very much the same way [1, 2]. Based on the example of Andre Da Costa, they pretend to be fans of Microsoft’s products while approaching Apple at the same time to find out if they too can bribe, in which case they would “switch teams”, so to speak. Watch how Don Dodge changed his tune after Microsoft had stopped paying him to be a professional, full-time AstroTurfer [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

“This generally shows that Apple’s and Microsoft’s marketing strategies are similar.”The fake hype company might be up to similar tricks. Yes, it turns out that Apple secretly gave tablets to famous reporters (probably for free) in advance. Why? In order to generate buzz and “receive feedback” (nice cover-up). It’s not as though the product can be re-manufactured within weeks. One of these people was Cringely, who has been writing about tablets recently, only later to reveal that he had been “beta testing the Apple tablet for the past two weeks…”

Of course he would generally be cocky towards them. They sent him this product in advance because he has influence. This generally shows that Apple’s and Microsoft’s marketing strategies are similar. We also wrote about Apple and AstroTurfing last year.

Anyway, here is a satire about the Apple iPad, courtesy of our reader David. “Defective by Design”, an FSF campaign, was there at the announcement in order to educate attendees about the harms of Apple products. There is also this petition protesting against the iPad.

Microsoft’s own tablet disappointed at CES 2010 and here is a new article about it:

HP shows off its slate computer while revealing a key disappointing detail (Windows)

[...]

That’s sort-of why Windows Mobile never really left the nerd market and Palm had great early success. Winmo required computer skills with layers and layers of OS until just recently when companies started to skin the GUI with a more friendly interface. Palm OS on the other hand was simple , but yet robust enough for most mobile computing tasks ten years ago.

Microsoft will report its financial results later on today and it will try to distract people by talking about Vista 7 sales (compared to a year of Vista and no release). It’s a decoy. Chips B. Malroy wrote last night: “The money report on the quarter should come out soon. The figure I seen was an 7% increase over last years same quarter which was really bad, and an increase over same quarter of 24% in general of new computer sales with windows on them. It was the Xmas season, and the small increase of profits, compared to the total increase in sales, relates to Netbooks (cheaper computer sold) with low cost XP home or Seven Starter be dumped on them.

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